DirecTV Says It Won't Bill Me For Free Channels, Bills Me Anyway

Eric signed up for DirecTV and got a couple premium channels for free as a sign-up bonus. He didn’t want the channels and asked to have them removed from his account immediately because he was afraid he’d be billed ahead for them before his trial period expired. Eric says the CSR convinced him to keep the channels, saying he wouldn’t be billed. But sure enough, he was.

He writes:

When I signed up for DirecTV service in December, one of their promotions was “3 Free months of Starz and Showtime”. I had no desire to watch either of those channels, so I asked the representative to cancel them for me ahead of time. I told her that I didn’t want to start getting billed for in after the three months were over, so I wanted to cancel right away to be safe.

The representative assured me that, after three months, I would have to proactively order those channels in order to continue to receive them — I would not be automatically billed. Given that, I was surprised to see an extra $24 billed to my credit card from DirecTV this month. Looking at the bill online, the charge is from — you guessed it — Starz and Showtime.

DirecTV agreed to remove the charge and cancel those channels, but I’m left wondering how many people has had this happen and not noticed it.

Pay TV customers, how effective are the free premium channel promos at hooking you as a subscriber?