How Phantom Fees Finally Drove Me Away From DirecTV

Think you don’t need to check over your bills because they’re on auto-pay or you’ve had the accounts for years? Think again! Looking at his DirecTV bill, Warren found two phantom charges that he knew shouldn’t have been there. He had a $10 fee for the high definition signal waived long ago, but it reappeared on his bill. He also had a charge for the privilege of having digital video recorders, on top of the rental charges for the DVRs themselves. He concluded that fighting the fees wasn’t a good use of his time, but finding a new cable provider certainly would be.

I wanted to give a heads up to Consumerist readers. Check your Direct TV bill carefully. I recently found two phantom, charges on my bill. One charge was for HD service for $10 a charge that they agreed to waive a long time ago and no longer charge new customers, when I was scheduled to move to a competitor.

The other charge was a $8 charge for a magical DVR that allowed you to “conveniently pause, record, and rewind live TV” (like every other DVR in the world). This adds $18 in addition to their per receiver monthly fees.

This wording is directly from their email:

“After review, Advanced Receiver Service-HD is the name for DirecTV’s HD service. This service is required if you have an HD receiver. There is only one Advanced Receiver Service-HD fee, no matter how many HD receivers you have in your DIRECTV system. This monthly charge brings you the most full time HD channels in the industry.

Advanced Receiver Service–DVR allows you to conveniently pause, record, and rewind live TV. This service is required if you have a DVR receiver. There is only one Advanced Receiver Service-DVR fee, no matter how many DVR receivers you have in your DIRECTV system.”

I have been a long time Direct TV Customer. They haven’t kept up with the competition. Now it is time for me to leave and go to another carrier. DISH has the HOPPER, Uverse has the wireless receiver, and Comcast has the blazing fast internet and top notch On Demand.

Direct TV has already announced a price increase for this month. That increase and the phantom charges are the straw that broke the camel’s back. I will do my homework and get the best deal I can. Direct TV will have to cast their net for another sucker.

Compare service and equipment-rental fees and make sure that the better deal you find is for everyone, not just the newest and shiniest subscribers. And always, always