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DISH customers can seek refunds

Hundreds of Washington and Idaho satellite TV viewers might qualify for refunds because of a settlement announced Thursday between the DISH Network and 46 states.

After a three-year legal fight, DISH will pay $5.9 million to the states as a settlement while not admitting it took part in alleged tactics to overcharge its satellite customers.

Washington Assistant Attorney General Katherine Tassi, who led the states’ negotiating team, said DISH Network stacked up more than 300 complaints from Washington residents in the past three years.

Idaho consumers have filed 179 complaints about DISH Network since 2004.

Consumers didn’t notice in the fine print of their contracts that DISH Network gave itself permission to make automatic debits or charges to their credit cards. Many customers complained about automatic deductions for charges they didn’t owe – such as equipment that had been returned.

DISH will pay Washington $325,000 and Idaho $125,000 to cover legal costs and fees.

In addition DISH agrees to provide reimbursements to customers who were charged unneeded fees. They can apply for help through settlements.aspx in Washington, or or In Idaho. Eligibility for refunds differs by state.

Tom Sowa

Google’s revenue, profits increase

Mountain View, Calif. – Google on Thursday said its revenue rose 3 percent in the second quarter in spite of the global economic downturn. Profits also grew 18 percent to $1.48 billion from last year’s $1.25 billion.

The Mountain View, Calif., search giant’s revenue of $5.52 billion in the quarter ended June 30 was up from $5.37 billion in the same period last year. Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, in a statement, said the results were positive in light of the challenging economic climate.

But investors were unimpressed. Its shares, which closed up $4.43 at $442.60, shed more than $12, or close to 3 percent, in after-hours trading following the company’s earnings release.

Los Angeles Times

Treasury studying foreclosure relief

Washington – A top Treasury Department official told a Senate panel Thursday that the government is considering a proposal to allow homeowners to stay in their home as renters after a foreclosure.

If enacted, the plan would attempt to address the glut of vacant properties that has popped up in neighborhoods across the country, helping drag down home values. It would be yet another acknowledgment by the Obama administration that some borrowers cannot be saved from foreclosure despite government and industry efforts.

“It’s certainly an idea we’re thinking about,” Herbert Allison, assistant secretary for financial stability, told the Senate Banking Committee. A Treasury spokeswoman said that the proposal is being studied but that no decision has been made.

Washington Post


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Blast as Zimbabwe president campaigns; Mnangagwa not hurt

An explosion rocked a stadium where Zimbabwe’s president addressed a campaign rally Saturday, with state media calling it an assassination attempt but saying he was not hurt. Witnesses said several people were injured, including a vice president.