DirecTV Promised Me It Wouldn't Charge Early Termination Fee, Then Guess What Happened

Rich had to part ways with DirecTV because he was moving, and was careful to verify he wouldn’t owe an early termination fee. Sure enough, his next bank statement showed an unexpected $180 charge from the satellite provider. The company quickly admitted the error, but Rich says it’s been three weeks and DirecTV has yet to cough up the cash. Even worse, DirecTV tells him it will be another 6 to 8 weeks before he can hope for his long-lost money to return to him.

He writes:

I recently moved from an apartment into a house with some roommates who had DISH Network already, so I had to cancel my DirecTV subscription. I had this service for over 4 years, and except for recently, never had a problem with them. During the phone conversation where I had canceled the guy on the phone double-checked everything on my account to ensure I wouldn’t receive any “penalty” charges, and upon checking, determined my account would receive one final bill for what I still had owed for that month, and that would be it. A relatively small amount.

A week later I checked my bank statement, and saw a DirecTV charge for over $180.00. I called, and the person informed me I was being charged “early termination” fees. I’m not a math wizard, but canceling after 4 years of service didn’t seem like early termination to me. He reviewed my account, and determined they had accidentally taken the money, because when I had one of my receivers replaced it had been entered into the system as a contract renewal on accident. He assured me that I would receive a full refund within 8 business days, and apologized for the inconvenience. Considering they took the money right away I thought 8 days was a little ridiculous, but I was willing to let it go. They admitted their mistake, and I would be getting all my money back.

Fast forward 2 more weeks (yesterday). I still hadn’t received the refund. At first I thought it had to do with my bank account. National City recently just became PNC, and they changed our account numbers. However, when I called and re-explained the whole situation the first guy insisted my account was squared away, and that my last transaction was my $180.00 “payment”. I had to insist it was not a payment, and instead a faulty charge. I got a hold of another lady, whom I explained the entire situation to again, and she informed me that no refund was ever issued at all. Not only that, but they do the refunds via check anyway so my banking information wouldn’t have been the problem. The kicker? Now they’ve told me I have to wait 6 to 8 weeks to get my refund. So they took nearly $200.00 out of my account, and they’re telling me they aren’t going to give it back for 2 months? I emailed them again insisting they resolve this immediately, and the only reply I’ve gotten is that my inquiry will be forwarded to a “specialist”. Boo-urns. They sure take that money away fast enough, and allow themselves generous amounts of time to return it while bouncing me around to different departments.

Rich should have the right to charge DirecTV interest. What do you think Rich can do to speed the payment along?