MASSPIRG DTV Secret-Shopper Study Critical of Retailers

Massachusetts-Based Public-Interest Research Group: Employees ‘Providing Inaccurate or Misleading Information’
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Massachusetts-based public-interest research group MASSPIRG said millions of Americans could be getting a bum steer on the digital-TV transition from retailers.

According to a "secret-shopper" survey the group conducted at 132 electronics retail stores, employees of the five leading retailers are "providing inaccurate or misleading information that may cost consumers time and money.”

That study was released at the same time a representative of one of those retailers was on Capitol Hill talking about the industry's preparedness for the transition, including schooling its clerks.

MASSPIRG said its study showed that clerks both tried to convince consumers to buy more expensive products than they needed and did not provide accurate information.

Among the findings, the group added: "81% of the sales staff did not know about or gave out inaccurate information about converter boxes; 78% of the sales staff provided inaccurate information about the federal government’s coupon program for converter boxes; and 42% of sales staff provided inaccurate information about the month of the digital-transition-deadline date."

A retailer representative had not returned a call at press time.