AT&T and its senior leadership are being sued for what plaintiffs charge is the fabrication of thousands of customer accounts at its DirecTV business and then issuing misleading statements about the health of its flagship streaming product. According to the AT&T investor lawsuit filed in federal court for New York’s Southern District, AT&T’s claims of “impressive” growth and “high demand” for its streaming service, were both bogus because a large portion of DirecTV accounts may have been fake — sales teams allegedly dropped DirecTV subscriptions into customer accounts without their knowledge using short-term promotions.
Many of the accounts were discontinued as soon as the promotions ended but were still included in public statements lauding the “dramatic” growth of DirecTV service, according to the lawsuit.
The complaint more specifically alleges that AT&T salespeople were instructed to bundle up to three DirecTV Now accounts with a single mobile phone activation, sometimes creating false email addresses and running a customer’s credit card three separate times.
These fake accounts in turn supported the overall customer numbers of the service.
Among other charges in the lawsuit, filed by investor law firms Pomerantz LLP and Labaton Sucharow LLP are:
- In an atmosphere of aggressive sales tactics and impossibly high quotas, customers were signed up for DirecTV Now even after they said they didn’t want it; fake e-mail accounts were used, and customers never found out unless they noticed the charges on their credit cards.
- In other cases, salespeople signed up customers for DirecTV Now without any discussion at all.
- Sometimes customers were told they would be charged for one thing, but in the billing records that charge was in fact applied to the DirecTV Now service.
- Customers might be flatly lied to – told that DirecTV Now was part of a service package when it in fact came with an extra, monthly fee.