RALEIGH, N.C. — Prime TV served as a national dealer for DirecTV satellite equipment until DirecTV suddenly severed the contract in March 2004. Now, companies that installed the equipment say they did not get paid. They have filed a lawsuit, claiming it was no clerical error, but fraud.
More than a dozen satellite installation companies from Florida to Washington State joined the lawsuit against Prime TV. They claim Prime TV and other related businesses that operate out of the Gatelinx building in Southern Pines owe them money. Some installers claim they are out more than $10,000.
Prime TV founder David Hagen and his wife, Annette, are also named in the suit. The Hagens served federal prison time in the 1990s for direct mail and bankruptcy fraud.
The installers' lawsuit follows years of complaints from consumers who bought DirecTV satellite from Prime TV. Thousands reported Prime TV failed to pay promised rebates of $50 to $150 until the attorney general and Better Business Bureau got involved.
told WRAL anonymously they felt it was the company's intent to mislead rebate customers.
"Every time you walked through the door, you sold a piece of your integrity. Every time you walked through the door, you were going to lie," one employee said.
The lawsuit alleges the company also broke promises to installers by bouncing checks while liquidating assets and transferring them to another satellite TV company. There are other angry installers who plan to file separate suits.
Paul Guitierrez of Omega International Communications in Alabama told WRAL, "People that do what the Hagens have done do not deserve to be in this business."
Prime TV founder David Hagen told WRAL Thursday that the financial problems were caused when DirecTV severed its contract. Now, Prime TV is suing DirecTV for what he calls fraud. PrimeTV also says any allegations of fraud regarding rebates or the transferring of funds are absolutely untrue.