DirecTV Secretly Extends Your Contract And Won't Refund Your Money

Here is a story that first came to our attention a few months ago, but that we haven’t posted because it just keeps getting worse. Reader Chuck emailed us in January to let us know that his Executive Email Carpet Bomb failed to penetrate the mustachioed walls of DirecTV’s headquarters. Which is surprising, considering DirecTV let Chuck’s dog escape, signed him up for a service agreement without telling him, refused to provide proof of the agreement to Chuck or his credit card company, and billed Chuck for the amount he recovered after a chargeback. Full story, and an opportunity to leave mustache jokes in the comments, inside.

In January, Chuck wrote the office of DirecTV CEO Chase Carey.

Mr. Carey,
I’m writing to you today out of sheer frustration after over a year of disappointments with DirecTV. The result is a service agreement that I never consented to, and a disconnect fee that I am hoping that you can see your way clear to waive for me.

Until 12/13/07, we had been very satisfied DirecTV customers since 11/03. In October ’06, we moved from Virginia to Texas, and brought our DirecTV service with us. Long story short: the install in Texas was botched, the tech tried to steal the TiVo that we owned, charged us off the books for extra work, and left the gate to our back yard open. The mistake with the gate resulted in my wife (4 weeks post partum) walking around our neighborhood sobbing and trying to find our beagle until I could get home to help her. She wanted to cancel right then, but I persuaded her to remain a customer. When I called to complain about the install, the CSR told me that she would make everything right by issuing us a new DVR and HD receiver. What she didn’t tell me was that she obligated me to a service commitment without my consent.

Jump ahead to 11/07. We relocated to Georgia for my wife’s employment. We decided to move the DirecTV service with us. When speaking with the CSR about moving, she informed me that the move would cost $99 or commit me to a service agreement. When I informed her that I preferred not to pay a fee and have no commitment, she informed me that I was already under commitment, and that moving would simply extend it by 2 months. That just infuriated me all over again, and I told her that I would need to consider my options and asked her to please put my account on hold.

When we arrived in Georgia, I decided to cancel DirecTV service on 12/13/07 because I felt that after 4 years of being an excellent customer (auto pay every month) that I didn’t want to patronize a business that felt that they needed to lock me into a service agreement. I’ve spoken with 5 different CSRs to try to have the fee waived, as I never committed to it, but I don’t believe that they are empowered to waive the fee. After discussing the issue with one CSR on 12/13, he threatened that DirecTV would “post the amount to my credit report if I didn’t pay the disconnect fee”. If I truly believed that I made commitment, I would pay it. However, I don’t believe that I ever verbally agreed and know I didn’t agree in writing. If there is any way that you can help me by waiving the fee, I would greatly appreciate it.

The name on the account is [redacted], and the service telephone number is [redacted].

Oh, and however this turns out, I’d like to express my admiration of your mustache. There are few men who could wear it as well as you do.

Chuck received a call the next day; he retold his story and was told that the commitment is still valid. When Chuck asked, the CSR could provide no proof of the agreement, other than stating that it was DirecTV’s policy to inform customers, verbally and in writing, of the commitment. “So the rep from the president’s office stated that because the policy exists, therefore I must have been notified,” says Chuck. Chuck followed up his phone call with another email to the CEO’s office, requesting a paper copy of the commitment. When nothing came, Chuck filed a dispute with American Express. DirecTV couldn’t provide American Express with any proof of the disputed commitment, so Chuck won the dispute.amexdispute.jpg
A few days later, Chuck received a bill from DirecTV for the amount American Express had recovered.directv.jpg
I directed Chuck to several Consumerist articles on threatening to report the company for mail fraud, suing in small claims court, and winning a default judgment by serving a company kiosk. Chuck should send DirecTV a letter stating that he will not pay this bill unless they can provide written proof that he extended the agreement, and that if they don’t like it they can take him to court. Any other suggestions?

Comments

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  1. tedyc03 says:

    Time to take these assclowns to court.

  2. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Absolutely. This is exactly what courts are for.

  3. B says:

    Mustache rides: $1*
    *With purchase of two year agreement, actual price may vary depending on options.

  4. Alex Chasick says:

    I originally wanted to call this post “There’s No Such Thing As A Free Mustache Ride,” but Ben wouldn’t let me.

  5. valarmorghulis says:

    Circular logic AHOY!

    As soon as the rep from the office had said that he must have been notified because he is under a commitment and policy is to tell somebody about that, I’d have countered with somerhting along the lines of, “Oh great! Glad to hear that since I wasn’t notified about this I’m actually NOT on a commitment.”

    No, actually while that would have been cathartic, it wouldn’t have gotten anybody anywhere. I probably would have pointed out that his argument is using fallacies of logic, and therefore doesn’t hold water.

  6. am84 says:

    What happened to the dog? I hope he/she is OK. I love Beagles.

  7. nequam says:

    He’s got the perfect villain’s ‘stache. I wonder if he twists the ends while hatching his evil schemes.

  8. m4ximusprim3 says:

    I would sue for the amount. I would also move to have the court force Chase to shave the stash as punitive renumeration.

    See how fast he gets a settlement then. Hit ‘em where it hurts, Chuck!

  9. marsneedsrabbits says:

    You pretty much have to sue them in small claims court now. Nothing left.

    But don’t stop there. Write to the BBB, and send a copy of everything to your state attorney general.
    And maybe to whichever government agency handles satellite stuff.

    Finally, contact your local “___ On Your Side” news reporter (where “___” is the channel number) and keep politely calling till you find one that is interested and will broadcast your story. Or maybe your local newspaper or indy news source.

    By all means, send written proof to your credit card company that you were re-billed. Make sure you share that part with everyone you come in contact with, as that seems to be fraudulent on their part.

  10. Crymson_77 says:

    Actually…start by informing AMEX…I bet they would have something to say about that…

  11. NoWin says:

    The moustache is probably hiding a set of fangs.

  12. Crymson_77 says:

    @NoWin: The moustache has its own fangs…he doesn’t need any :D

  13. Sarge1985 says:

    Also, contact your local postmaster as this may qualify as mail fraud.

  14. homerjay says:

    I would bet that Amex would be willing to help you out here.

    Am I the only one surprised that they have a line-item selection for “Credit Card Payment Reversal” in their billing system?

  15. bohemian says:

    @marsneedsrabbits: One caveat. In some states the AG’s office can’t pursue action if there is a pending court case on the issue. They should check with the state on this in their state before deciding what to do first.
    I had a dentist trying to run a scam use the court filing tactic to block the AG’s investigation – twice.

  16. Traveshamockery says:

    1.) Nice mustache.

    2.) Court time – refusing to pay the bill will just result in negative information appearing on your Credit Report, which you may not notice for several months.

  17. chuckhatesdirectv says:

    @valarmorghulis: She essentially had no response other than to repeat that the commitment was valid and to reiterate the policy when I asked for proof. She was nothing more than an automaton halfwit who had to work on Saturday.

    She called on my cell (which, in fairness, I gave in the letter), but I also got the pleasure of paying for the call.

  18. homerjay says:

    They’re still better than Comcast.

  19. DirectAnon says:

    Former CSR here. It is policy to inform everytime that we issue new equipment about the commitment extension, however we are all humans and the CSR may have forgotten with no bad intention on his behalf. However, good negotiation with Retentions (Where you go immediately after saying “I want to cancel”) Can get you a lot of freebies and discounts if your account is in good standing and I’m just assuming that when you said “I want to cancel” you didn’t have the best of attitudes to let retentions give you something back for all your troubles (come on, they can waive almost anything, EVEN commitments if you are as you say a 4 year good standing customer).

    On the other hand, ALL calls are recorded and are archived so they must have the call when you got the new equipment and didn’t inform you of the commitment so they’re pretty F.U. if you go to small claims, which I would do.

    Not much is left to do with CSR and Retentions as you can’t be saved they won’t make a lot of effort to help you.

  20. NotATool says:

    Yes, funny they have a billing line item for that. The only way I can think of legitimately using that is if you ask them to refund your credit card for some reason and bill you directly, perhaps when cancelling credit card auto pay?

  21. sleze69 says:

    In reference to this case, Chase Carey was quote as saying, “He’ll rue the day he crossed me! MUUUUUUuuuuhahahhahhahahahaa!

  22. ratnerstar says:

    Pay the bill with your AmEx, then reverse the charges again! Repeat as needed.

    P.S. This is not a serious suggestion. Actually, do what everyone above me is saying.

  23. chuckhatesdirectv says:

    @am84: The pooch is fine. It was the first time she had ever gotten out. We found her a few blocks over huddling terrified in a neighbor’s driveway. For non-beagle folks out there, unless you hunt with them, beagles can’t ever be let out without a lead – they get on a scent and track it until it ends.

    At the time, we lived on the corner of a very busy 4-lane street. My dog isn’t the smartest in the world, and my wife was terrified that she was a spot in the road.

  24. Alex Chasick says:

    @Crymson_77: @homerjay: I originally had mentioned that, but after looking at the Merchant Agreement, I was surprised to see that there is no requirement that merchants adhere to the chargeback or any other kind of good faith standard. That’s really disappointing. Nonetheless, Chuck could probably pay the new charge with his AmEx, then dispute it, and just keep doing that until AmEx or DirecTV gave up, but I think even going to court would be easier than that.

  25. Murph1908 says:

    I had many DTV people refuse my valid claim of an unjust termination fee. This letter resulted in them reversing it and sending me a check for my remaining balance:

    Billing Disputes
    DirecTV
    PO Box 6550
    Greenwood Village, CO 80155

    Dear sir or madam:
    I am writing to express dispute with an early cancellation fee charged to my account. The fee in question was in regards to a 2 year service commitment for discounts when upgrading from standard DirecTV service to high definition.

    I have escalated this issue as high as they will allow me through the customer support line. This letter is to serve as notice that I dispute your assessment of a cancellation fee. Should you wish to discuss this issue with me, please do so by mail.

    Should this issue move to collection or affect my credit rating in any manner, I will proceed by exercising my rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

  26. Murph1908 says:

    oops. In the middle there was supposed to be -succinct statement of the facts behind my dispute-

  27. Buran says:

    @Crymson_77: I’d agree here. Send the bill to AmEx along with a copy of their own resolution letter. What’s the point of chargebacks if all companies do is just bill you again? I’d say AmEx will probably have something to say.

    And if that doesn’t work, do go to small claims court. As the DTV rep says, sometimes people forget — and that failure cost DTV a contract. It’s their fault they didn’t get that confirmation, and as a result of not getting it they’ve got someone who has every right to cancel service without penalty.

  28. chuckhatesdirectv says:

    @Murph1908: Awesome. Thanks for the template. I’ll take advantage of that, as well.

  29. LorneReams says:

    “After discussing the issue with one CSR on 12/13, he threatened that DirecTV would “post the amount to my credit report if I didn’t pay the disconnect fee”.”

    Hello FCRA violation. I’m sure it’s not the only one. Let them charge you the disconnect fee in exchange for the $1,000 per violation that they just ringed up.

  30. jomil91 says:

    agreed. nice mustache indeed

    Court time, and while at it, make sure u sue for 10mil. just because it destroyed your sex lixe (making all those calls takes times) and therefore your marriage too. lol jk!

    Yeah he should just go to small claims court, I think he already dealt with them long enough

  31. chuckhatesdirectv says:

    @marsneedsrabbits: Small claims court won’t work for me, as I’m an hourly employee. By the time I took off all the time I would need to go down and file a case, and then go to the trial, I would have lost more income than they’re charging me. I think the best thing for me to do is to write the letter to DirecTV as Murph suggests, and call the BBB/Attorney General. I’ll follow up with American Express, but without any expectations.

  32. RobinB says:

    We had terrible trouble with Direct TV a few years ago. They even
    had the nerve to call us liars over the phone. We now enjoy Dish
    Network.

  33. Nighthawke says:

    Small Claims Court. Get in touch with AmEx too. Their Legal will go up through 4 floors in their tower before coming to a stop, then drop the hammer on Mr. Mustache.
    Oh, and all this sent to the AG would be a smart play too.

  34. wallapuctus says:

    You know, after reading this site, I’m scared to shop or do business with anyone.

  35. Pro-Pain says:

    DirectTV used to be respectable a few years back. I guess they need to catch up to Comcast. How sad.

  36. Sam2k says:

    @m4ximusprim3: You can’t actually sue for punishment damages under contract law. You can only sue for enough damages to cover your loss. Sadly, removing a squirrel’s tail from a man’s face just isn’t covered.

  37. onestep says:

    DirecTV is scum. They don’t care at all about the customer and have been historically known for extorting money out of people that have done nothing to deserve it. Remember all of ‘the letter’ lawsuits that they were sending out to every tom, dick, and grandmother? They are as bad as the RIAA. Extorting people for money with the threat of a lawsuit if they don’t comply.

  38. picshereplz says:

    Sue ‘em sue ‘em sue ‘em!

  39. picshereplz says:

    @Sam2k: You can sue for punitive damage if you’re suing for fraud.

  40. MarvinMar says:

  41. MarvinMar says:

    Reminds me of this guy
    [i10.photobucket.com]

    [IMG][i10.photobucket.com]]

  42. evenkevin says:

    Reminds me of a time when I was a dumb college student and Allfirst (now M&T) Bank put a stop payment order on a check (for rent) when I called about funds. Their stance was that they don’t put a hold order without consent, therefore I must have consented. Bah! It cost a lot of time, hassle and money.

  43. Devidence says:

    DirecTV is a strange company. My girlfriend and I had the service for a year in separate apartments through the complex (two receivers, no dish, just through the apartments system.) We were satisfied enough with the service.

    At the end of the year we were moving in together in a different complex, so I called their moving division to get me setup at the new place. That’s when it went to hell. I just needed a dish, and I wanted a new DVR receiver.

    Their moving department hungup on me a couple times, lied to me about how my account was setup. Then swore to me that my girlfriend had a dish already, and eventually told me that it would probably be easier for me to start over.

    I started over with Dish Network. DirecTV billed me for a cancellation of $12 or something. I paid it. They still send “we want you back” letters every few months.

  44. savvy9999 says:

    That CEO’s workday:

    8:00am: arrive in black carriage pulled by black steeds
    8:15am: wax the ‘stache
    9:00am: make bundles of dynamite sticks, complete with alarm clock trigger
    10:30am: tie maiden to railroad tracks
    12:00 noon: lunchtime duel with archrival
    2:15pm: wax the ‘stache
    3:00pm: review diabolical plans to take over the world
    4:45pm: leave in black carriage pulled by black steeds
    5:05pm: pick up black top hat from cleaners

  45. NotATool says:

    I called their moving division to get me setup at the new place. That’s when it went to hell. I just needed a dish, and I wanted a new DVR receiver.

    This seems to be a common theme here…everything’s great until the move. Customer gets screwed by the moving department. It almost seems worth it just to pay the ETF (if any) to get out of the contract, then start as a new customer at the new address. If they won’t give you the new customer deal, go with the competitor who will give the deal.

  46. Orngbliss says:

    @wallapuctus: I am beginning to feel the same. Is everyone out to screw everyone?

  47. azntg says:

    Now Chuck, follow each and every advice you’ve heard from Alex and some of the commenters here and Directv will have one heck of a mess to clean up.

    Asshats. When will companies learn that if we didn’t agree to nor signed a contract, they are not automatically binding to us. If we did, that’s another story!

  48. amejr999 says:

    I’d call Amex and tell them that Directv is billing him for the successful dispute. They won’t like that.

  49. getmore says:

    2 Questions:
    1. When I signed up for a 2-year contract with DirecTV, the ETF for an “Advanced receiver” was “upto $300″. It’s now “upto $480″. Which amount will I be responsible for – I’m guessing “300”, since that’s the contract I signed. Does DirecTV prorate ETF based on length of time “served”! as a customer?

    2. When I ordered service, I asked what would happen if I needed to move to a new apartment where DirecTV could not be installed (because the patio/balcony was not South facing). The sales rep told me that the ETF would be waived in that case, but I have no written proof of that exchange. Based on people’s experience with DirecTV lately, I’m guessing that was just a crock of sh** to get me to sign up? Will DirecTV bother/deign to look up that audio recording if I say so, just to help me cancel without ETF?!

  50. @Orngbliss – Seems that way. I’m having a similar experience with AT&T Wireless. You cancel at the end of your contract, they continue to bill you, and you go through hell trying to get them to make it right.

  51. PirateSmurf says:

    I am assuming you found your Beagle. I adopted a Beagle from http://www.beaglesandbuddies.com he is my best buddy and he is damn smart too!!!!

  52. dbshadow says:

    I had Directv for a month, when they delivered and installed my DVR it work till I turned it on the next morning, it couldn’t find itself. called Direct, they said I would have to send it in for service and it would probably be 2 weeks. CSR said I probably damaged it while trying to learn to operate the unit, I told them they could pick up their equipment and their dish in the street.
    Called Dish Network, told them my story, the next day they came out at 9:00 am installed a new dish, new DVR, and replaced the cable and made it hidden, which the Direct installer didn’t do. They also offered me free Showtime and my bill is $15 cheaper than direct.
    P.S. Last week I called on a Games change, and they told me they had a new program going that would save me $10 a month to go to paperless billing with auto billing, which I have had since I started, so their was no reason for them to change anything, but they gave me $10 of anyway. Happy Dish customer

  53. TechnoDestructo says:

    “Chuck should send DirecTV a letter stating that he will not pay this bill unless they can provide written proof that he extended the agreement, and that if they don’t like it they can take him to court. “

    They’ll take it to arbitration, as outlined in the service agreement he didn’t agree to.

  54. t-r0y says:

    @amejr999: Why would AmEx care? They aren’t sending a new charge through to his AmEx card! They may be able to help by providing a letter stating that they performed a charge-back bacause DirecTV didn’t provide proof. But I don’t see them getting in the middle of a direct bill to the guy.

    I’ve had DirecTV for 10+ years now. They had great customer service from 1997 to around 2000. Since then it just keeps getting worse. I dread anytime I need to call their customer haters. My only other option is Comcast. As they say ‘better the devil you know’.

  55. selectman says:

    @savvy9999: Glorious.

  56. NotATool says:

    The mustache cracks me up. 1978 anyone?

  57. Crymson_77 says:

    @t-r0y: Because AmEx already successfully disputed the charge and him being an AmEx customer, they don’t like it when their members are screwed with. AmEx has some REALLY nasty lawyers…

  58. Buran says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Not if he sues them. The judge will not throw out the case without proof that he agreed to arbitration.

  59. marsneedsrabbits says:

    @bohemian:

    Thanks for the information. People who use the courts in that manner deserve bad things to happen to them; legally, of course.

    Did anything happen to the dentist for doing that?

  60. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Oooh! Also – if DirecTV has a stockholder’s forum or a technical forum, post there if at all possible.

  61. getmore says:

    I agree with “t-r0y”: AmEx has reimbursed the customer for the fradulent (auto-pay) charge by DirecTV. The new bill is an issue between DirecTV and the customer, AmEx has no stake in it.

  62. Buran says:

    @getmore: Actually, it’s not. They had a chance to defend themselves during the chargeback process and didn’t, and I imagine that when you agree to accept credit cards you agree to accept the process. They had their “day in court” so to speak, and didn’t show, so they lost. Unlike the mugging victim, however, they knew about the challenge (how can you not know when AmEx tells you you’re being hit with a chargeback, now cough up proof that the charge is legit within 30 days) and so they can’t weasel out of it.

    AmEx needs to stand up and say “you lost that dispute, cease and desit right now”.

  63. homerjay says:

    @Alex Chasick: Well, they did adhere in that they did not end up charging it to his AMEX. The bill is now outstanding instead of being ‘paid.’ Amex still might be willing to help in some way or another, although now that I think of it, I’m not sure how they would.

  64. TheloniousCube says:

    I’ll chime in here to side with @t-r0y and @getmore.

    The chargeback through Amex only succeeds in getting the money back – as far as DirectTV is concerned, he still owes them, so they’re billing him. This is all on the up-and-up (not that I’m saying the original charges are valid). The Amex “investigation” would amount to little more than verifying that the charge went through and that the customer wants to dispute it (and probably that it’s not more than so many days/months old) – thay are most assuredly NOT acting as arbiter of the dispute – only allowing the customer to recover his money.

    Some years back I worked for a local bookstore and we had a customer “dispute” a perectly legitimate charge for items she had returned for store credit. The credit card company only verified that she’d made the charge and notified us of the chargeback. The fact that we had already issued credit made nodifference to them. If it had been possible (and worth the continued hassle) we would have billed her for the amount as she did, in fact, owe us the money

  65. tmlfan81 says:

    What I have found in the letter writing game is that it gives companies a good 24-48 hours to formulate a game-plan of what they are going to counter-offer with before they get into a conversation with you. Clearly, DirecTV didn’t take the time to come up with a counter-offer – they just went with plan “B”.

    My advice – go to the AG, the BBB, the local media, and of course AMEX since they have been the most helpful in all of this. Their intention was to recover the disputed funds for you – not to drag you further into a situation between you and DirecTV.

    While I understand that the “customer is always right” philosphy is flawed, the customer is actually right in this case. DirecTV wasted enough in hourly employees wages on this – they “should” cut their losses and move on. They lost this customer, and the short-term effects of this story reaching Consumerist and other media sources is that people may opt to cancel their own service or simply choose not to sign up at all.

    Best of luck to you – and give those bastards hell.

  66. scoosdad says:

    @Buran: I agree. I’ll bet Amex spanks them pretty severely for pulling a stunt like that.

    “A spanking! A spanking!!1!”

    (Forget the BBB. Powerless and tooth-less.)

  67. scoosdad says:

    @dbshadow:

    P.S. Last week I called on a Games change, and they told me they had a new program going that would save me $10 a month to go to paperless billing with auto billing…

    So you basically gave them permission to take whatever money they deem correct out of your bank account or to charge it to your credit card automatically? Wait till they decide that you should have a service plan like the OP, or some other useless feature like “home wiring maintenance”… whoops, where did the money go?

    At least when you initiate the payment, you have a chance to see the bill first and ask for adjustments before you fork over your money.

  68. BuriedCaesar says:

    Wow. It’s stories like these that make me really glad I don’t pay to watch TV.

  69. P41 says:

    Chargeback again. Maybe even ask for a new card…”Because of all the fraudulent activity.” And don’t forget to file a fraud complaint with the FTC. Not that it will do any good, but a good icebreaker the next time they threaten you. If they send you a paper bill (or if you can goad them into it) take it the local postal inspector and file mail fraud charges… That might get more attention.

    Maybe even tell them the next time you talk to them that if they contact you further they’re agreeing to customer service consultation services at $1000 an hour. Billed in 8 hour increments.

  70. Hey, Carey… the Victorian Era called, they are very upset you took their mustache to the new millenium. Please kindly return it, along with a $50,000 late fee.

  71. mrpenbrook says:

    While I don’t recommend this, it seems like the OP could let this last billing amount go to collections; if it ever appears on his credit report, he can dispute that. If they couldn’t provide documentation to AmEx, they won’t be able to provide it to the credit reporting agencies, and so it will be taken off his credit report and that will be the end of it. And if any collection agency ever contacts him about it, he can just tell them not to contact him again and they must comply. Can anyone tell me if I am correct?

  72. rellog says:

    I don’t believe the whole “human error” on the part of the CSR bit. I’m not calling the former CSR a liar, but this is far too common to simply be an error. I myself have had this issue. I had extra receivers that I wanted to enable a couple years after starting service. In talking to the CSR, each time, I was NEVER notified of any contract extension. I made sure to ask as I had read horror stories about this very issue, and they admitted to the contract extension. After arguing with them, I was told I won’t need to extend the contract. Don’t know if that was true or not…

    What I wonder is, what is their pay structure? If bonuses or prizes are awarded for contract renewal, then I thik we have a reasonable answer to the whole “they don’t notify” debate…

  73. FayeEartha says:

    I am facing a similar situation as above. My husband and I called to start DirectTv when we moved into our current rental house. Since TIVO is not supported by them we decided to go with a local cable company. When I called to cancel the service I was told that because I had accepted the HD Receiver, I had agreed to a two year contract. After talking to serveral CSRs, I was told they could email me the contract I was never shown. When I didn’t agree to that, I was told that I could send a letter to billing/disputes. The CSR Supervisor had no number that I could reach them directly. However, a few moments later after discusion, I was provided with a number. When I called the number, I again got a CSR, and was then put on hold for over 40 minutes, with no one picking back up. I called in the next morning, and got a very nice CSR who agreed to email my concerns to billing/disputes. Why was this not done the previous night? At that point I was to wait for confirmation on what would happen next. A few days later I noticed a debit from my bank account for the cancellation of service in the amount of $187.00. When I called about this, I was told that is the process. If you cancel early they charge your account on file. I was also informed that this was told to me at time of cancellation. Funny, I dont have any memory of this. If I try to dispute it with my bank, DirectTv will state that these are charges due and that this is part of their policy. I wish I had known all of this prior to “Signing up” for their service.

  74. redhand32 says:

    A couple of years ago I switched from Dish Network to Direct TV for 3 reasons: 1) at the time (before Verizon FIOS TV – no way for me) there was a discount if you paid your Direct TV bill on your Verizon phone bill; 2) Direct TV tech support was better than Dish Network (true, when I needed them.) and 3) with Dish Network in the Philadelphia market only you needed 2 Dish network dishes to get all the stations (2 different satellites-Philly only) you paid for and a tree blocked the 1 satellite so I could not get a couple of channels where I live.

    But, after reading this I am going to pull out all my bills, and go over every line, and call Direct TV that I will probably go elsewhere if I find something shady.

  75. jimconsumer says:

    Chuck:

    By the time I took off all the time I would need to go down and file a case, and then go to the trial, I would have lost more income than they’re charging me.

    Not really. You can sue for lost wages, at least where I live. Call the court house and ask them. Also, I think you overestimate the time involved. If you call and talk to the court clerks, they can probably mail you the forms you need. Fill them out, mail them back and you’re set. You’ll have to pay a filing fee and a fee to “serve” the papers, but if you win (and you will if DirecTV can’t provide proof of your agreeing to this contract) you’ll get that back, too.

    Even if you have to bring the forms in by hand, this isn’t a lot of time involved. The only real time involved is the court date – you’ll take the day off work and spend a few hours in the morning hanging around the courthouse. Not a big deal and you should get those lost wages back with your settlement if you ask the judge for it in your claim.

    At the very least, call the local court house and have the conversation with the clerks. They are usually very helpful and will tell you how it’s done. Don’t be afraid of the process. I won a small claims suit against someone and it only took a few hours of my time. It was quite easy.

  76. Brad2723 says:

    DirecTV reps like to lie by omitting the fact that moves or equipment changes result in a contract extension (or a new contract if you didn’t already have one).

  77. GrandizerGo says:

    AMEX won’t care.
    The charge back was just because they didn’t provide information in time.
    Once the charge back was made, AMEX no longer has a claim on it.
    The new billing is NOT to AMEX so their lawyers / company won’t care.
    Anyone who thinks that is so wrong. AMEX has NO IDEA whether or not there has been proof found, and if it has, guess who’s lawyers look like asshats then???

  78. Trojan69 says:

    AMEX cares deeply that there be no hint of difficulty to cardholders. As soon as word got out that it wasn’t taking the side of consumers who have won their internal (AMEX) arbitration (which is actually what a chargeback procedure is), they will lose cardholders in droves.

    While it is true that AMEX has met their obligation to the cardholder, it is in their best interests to threaten DirecTV with penalties. Up to and including termination of the merchant agreement. They can then publicize just how far they will go to protect their customers and thus differentiate themselves from Visa/MC/Discover.

    This unfortunate customer has no choice but to get a court order/judgment else he must pay the freight.

    I have had a mixed experience with DirecTV. I was bogusly billed for a pay-per-view, but I was given more than the amount charged back in discounts when I contacted CSR. I have had major technical issues, as well. But, it seems there is a third party installer/tech that was/is the problem. I will say this: DirecTV beats the crap out of Adelphia/Time Warner. I hope I never need to go back to any cable entity.

  79. NOtvEVER says:

    Hopefully I’m not raining on anyone’s parade here but I want to warn against getting your hopes up that dying will eliminate any problems with Direct TV. After losing my mother to cancer just two weeks ago, I tried to cancel her DirectTV account to no avail they do not accept death as a reason to terminate the account. My mother was current on her monthly charges and had no monies due – what kind of long-term arrangement she may have had remains a mystery. Frankly, I’m not interested in the details as I do not intend to pay them a dime. However, Direct TV’s efforts have been spent trying to find out who will pay the bill, and fulfill the obligations of the “commitment.”

    I wonder if CEO Carey trumps GOD when it comes to Accounts Receivable and Payable?

  80. rhanzelka says:

    They have sent 3 technicians out here to repair and it still doesn’t work.I
    have currently notified FCC, BBB, and Attorney General for the state of
    Texas. I will continue to complain to everybody that has ears until the
    issues with your service are resolved one way or the other. Also the last
    technician that came to my house treated our property like a trash dump.
    There are connectors in the yard under the switch box on side of house that
    he cut off (great shrapnel for lawn mower to kill or harm children and
    unsuspecting passers by) and trash on floor from stripping wire etc behind
    living room TV. We have been promised a visit from a supervisor for over a
    week now to settle the issues that have gone on since the poor installation
    in November of ’07.

  81. rhanzelka says:

    We (wife and myself) entered a two year contract (that we understood at
    the time to be a one year contract)with Direct TV in late 2007. Big mistake!
    I have had problems with the service from the beginning. It started with
    shoddy installation that prohibited me from locking my home and protecting
    my family and valuables from break in. We are plagued with downtime due to
    faulty equipment that won’t even last through the contract period. When we
    request service on their defective equipment, they tell us they are going to
    charge us to fix their equipment. I had cablevision for 30 years prior to
    getting screwed by Direct TV. This is the worst service coupled with the
    worst product I have ever been stuck with in my entire life. The worst thing
    that ever happened with cablevision was being down for 2-3 hours once every
    year or two because of a down line. When I call Direct TV for service, they
    tell me it will be a week to ten days before they can get to me. So I am
    without television for that long but am still charged for it. I am also
    expected to take four to eight hours out of my work day every time Direct TV
    comes to my home. The last time I was told service would be performed
    between eight o’clock in the morning and noon. The technician did not even
    arrive onsite until 12:10 p.m. Service was not performed until after the
    agreed upon time that it would be completed. That was just two week ago. Now
    the service is broken again and we are told it will be another week before
    they can come to fix it. How long will the FCC go on allowing Direct TV to
    cheat and take advantage of customers? I would love to have the opportunity
    to do a commercial for cable television. After being subjected to customer
    service as poor as Direct TV, I know what the worst is. And to top it all
    off, when my wife negotiated this contract with Direct TV she was told that
    it was a one year agreement. Two weeks ago when we had trouble the last
    time, we were informed that it was a two year and not a one year contract
    that we originally agreed to. I suppose we can throw a little deceptive
    trade
    in for good measure… huh? This is the worst experience I have ever had
    with any vendor in my 50 years and I will make sure I tell everybody that
    has ears to hear.

  82. Anonymous says:

    I have just experienced the SAME dispute. After multilple letters and phone calls pleading my case, Directv sent me to a collection agency for the cancelation fee. I paid it in disgust as I do not want my credit ruined over this but I want to know how I now get that money back! Any help out there?