In a recent case of Sirius XM Radio, Inc., the satellite radio company got a judge to sign off on a settlement with subscribers who filed a lawsuit and alleged the company broke the law by upping the cost after it bought out XM, it’s only rival, Bloomberg reports.
Consumer rights actions in New York are often necessary to stop a large corporation from unlawfully treating its customers. When contracts are agreed upon and yet the terms aren’t fulfilled, it often requires a lawsuit and sometimes a class-action lawsuit to accomplish what is right.
A class-action lawsuit is when many individuals come together with a common complaint against a company. Lawsuits from people throughout a city, state or the entire country can band together to fight injustices.
A federal judge in Manhattan recently agreed to a settlement, even over the objection of some subscribers, who contended the settlement didn’t send a strong enough message. A Florida subscriber sued the company in 2009, claiming it violated federal antitrust law and consumer-protection laws when it raised prices and levied royalty fees after 2008, when Sirius Satellite Radio bought XM Satellite Radio. The class of plaintiffs said the company broke promises to get approval from the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission.
The settlement, valued at around $180 million, determined that basic service, Internet-based listening and the music royalty fees will stay the same through the end of 2011. People who canceled service will be able to re-subscribe without paying an additional fee and those whose plans expire after the end of the year will be able to renew at current rates. Yet, subscribers got no money out of the deal.
Consumers must be protected from these large companies because without an avenue to get help, large corporations could charge whatever they wanted for products, falsely advertise their products, not properly repair broken products or expose consumers to a litany of other abuses.
While there are government-backed watchdog groups like the Consumer Product Safety Commission and other state-run programs, they can only do so much good. Sometimes these matters require a strongly worded lawsuit in order to get the attention of these companies and justice for consumers.
But there are standards that must be met in filing complaints against companies as well as whether a lawsuit is able to proceed as a class-action case. And while this area of law is complex, it can be beneficial in helping current consumers, as well as future potential consumers, in getting the goods and services they deserve.
Thousands of products each year are recalled, drugs deemed defective and vehicles that must be repaired because they weren’t properly manufactured. And consumers can be injured or killed because of the negligence of companies. Corporations can’t reap the benefits of shoddy workmanship or cut corners without paying the consequences. They must be held accountable and New York consumer law allows for that to happen.
The Law Offices of Ira S. Newman provides consumer representation in New York City, Long Island, Great Neck and throughout the area. Call 516-487-7375 or contact us through the website.
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New York Homeowners Need Experienced Law Firm When Dealing with Mortgages, Foreclosure: July 31, 2011
Sirius XM Wins Subscriber Class-Action Accord Court Approval, by Don Jeffrey, Bloomberg