Premiere shares sink over news of lawsuit

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COLOGNE, Germany -- Shares in Premiere took a hit Monday after news that some Premiere subscribers are planning a class-action suit against the pay TV provider.

A German consumer protection group in Hamburg said it was filing a suit on behalf of 250 Premiere customers.

According to the suit, the customers canceled their subscriptions to Premiere and returned the so-called Smartcard decoder necessary to unscramble Premiere programming. Customers, however, say Premiere claimed it did not receive the Smartcards and charged them €35 ($45) a piece for the devices.

Premiere denies all wrongdoing. The company said an internal review of cancellations showed no irregularities. A Premiere spokesman said they had been "fair and accommodating" with all customers who could make a "reasonable claim" to have sent in a Smartcard.

But that didn't prevent the news from hitting Premiere shares, which lost 2% in midday trading Monday, falling to €12.56 ($16.13).
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