DirecTV To Customer Whose House Burned Down: Bummer, Now Give Us $400

For those not paying attention to the awful news out of Colorado right now, fires are ravaging the state, destroying hundreds of homes and causing millions in damage. One man who lost his home this week was left with little but ashes, and as he pulled himself together enough to start canceling his utilities and other things the former house no longer requires, DirecTV tells him it’s going to charge $400 for that destroyed equipment.

The Gazette says most other providers were understanding of the devastating situation, but DirecTV is still demanding the money for a satellite dish and two receivers. We get it — it’s their property, but perhaps a little bit of wiggle room wouldn’t be remiss here.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said the man, who escaped the fire safely with his son and pregnant wife, but left behind most everything else. “I had lost everything and they acted like they could care less.”

“I need that money to rebuild my life: cups, plates, shoes, a new bike for my kid. I got so angry I had to hang up.”

The Gazette reports that DirecTV also charged customers who had homes destroyed in last year’s fires, so there is apparently precedent for this sort of behavior. But other service providers often write off those losses, instead of going after homeowners who suddenly find themselves without a home, or a TV to watch.

“I tried to explain that a couple hundred dollars is nothing to them but a lot to me,” said the man, who says DirecTV told him to get his insurance company to cover it. “I need that money. I can use it to buy diapers, clothes for my family.”

But there is some good news — or as good as news can be when you’ve lost you’re house to a fire. Consumerist reached out to DirecTV this morning and a rep for the company says this is all a misunderstanding.

“DirecTV has a clear policy that fully supports its customers during natural disasters that includes replacement of damaged equipment at no charge, long-term suspension of accounts for customers who must leave their home, and waiving cancellation fees for those who need to disconnect service,” the rep tells Consumerist. “The agent who spoke with [the homeowner] was wrong and we are contacting the customer to apologize and assure him and his family that we will do everything we can to help them through this difficult time.”

DirectTV to fire victim who lost it all: You still owe $400 [The Gazette]