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Report: Retailers Misleading Consumers on DTV Transition
Secret shopper survey finds retailers are pushing new televisions on customers confused by the digital TV transition.
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February 14, 2008 by Chuck McKenney

A new report done by the consumer advocacy group MassPirg (Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group), finds many retailers are misleading consumers about the upcoming analog-to-digital television transition.

MassPirg recently conducted a “secret shopper” survey at 132 locations of five leading national electronics retailers in ten states. The advocacy group alleges many sales clerks tried to persuade customers to buy new televisions rather than offering the less expensive converter boxes. Here is some other data from the survey:

- 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.
- 42% of sales staff provided inaccurate information about the month of the digital transition deadline date.

“Americans are largely unaware of the digital conversion,” MassPirg consumer advocate Eric Bourassa said in a statement. “And that includes retail sales clerks at electronics stores who are providing inaccurate or misleading information that may cost consumers time and money.”  MassPirg did not reveal which retailers were involved in the survey.

In February of 2009, analog televisions that receive over-the-air signals will no longer work, unless they are equipped with digital converter boxes.

The complete report can be found at masspirg.org.

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