WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — The Supreme Court says satellite provider DirecTV can avoid a class action lawsuit in California over early termination fees and can force customers into private arbitration hearings instead.

The justices ruled 6-3 that DirecTV’s contracts specifically prohibit customers from banding together to sue the company.

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Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group based in Santa Monica, brought the suit in 2008 on behalf of customers who alleged that they were wrongly charged up to $480 after they moved and no longer had access to the satellite service after the equipment stopped working.

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A California state appeals court ruled against DirecTV last year, saying that state law forbids agreements that waive customer’s rights to bring a class action. The state’s highest court affirmed.

But the Supreme Court said California law is pre-empted by the Federal Arbitration Act, which lets companies require customer disputes to be settled one by one in arbitration.

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