DirecTV's "3-Day No Risk Trial" Actually Full Of Risks And Charges

Reader D signed up for what he thought was a 3-day no risk trial period with DirecTV. Dissatisfied with the picture quality, he canceled two days later and returned the receiver.

Now he’s getting all sorts of charges and bills. Equipment charges, activation fees, early cancellation fees, and even something called a “Reversal-Cancellation fee.”

A series of phone calls later, he’s gotten conflicting stories and is now sending an official letter to DirecTV to let them know he doesn’t owe them a damn thing. His letter, inside…

(Photo: cmorran123)

April 3, 2007
DirecTV Incorporated
Attn: Billing Disputes
PO Box 6550
Greenwood Village, CO


Dear Sir or Madam:

When I switched to Verizon recently, they encouraged me to also try Direct TV. I signed up for the service as I was told there was a 3-day no risk trial period. The service was installed on 1/27/2007. I was not satisfied with the picture quality and called on 1/29/2007 to cancel the service. I was told I would be sent a box to return the receiver and that I did not need to return the dish itself. At no point during the cancellation process was I told of any fees for this 3-day trial period.

On 2/14/2007 I was looking at my credit card statement and noticed I had been billed in the amount of $127.28. I called Directv to inquire what that was and was told it was a charge for equipment. I pointed out that I had sent the receiver back to Directv and why was I liable for any charges as I had been within the 3-day trial period when I cancelled (I called on day 2 of the 3 day period to cancel). I was told that I was responsible for an activation fee. I asked how it would be possible to see what the service provided without activating the service and wasn’t given an answer. I asked to speak to a supervisor.

I explained all this to the supervisor and he said that I was responsible for the equipment. I told him that I had sent back the receiver and no longer owned any equipment (except for the dish which I was told not to return) and that is why I was disputing the CC charge. He said I could dispute all I wanted but I would still have to pay it. When I continued saying I didn’t own the equipment he said I could dispute it with my Credit Card company and they would remove the charge. I said that doesn’t seem like a great way to deal with this and he said that’s how it’s done and I would probably have to deal with a collection agency. I called my credit card company and let them know that I was disputing the charge of 127.28.

On 3/7/2007, I received a bill from Directv in the amount of $287.00. No indication of any charge of $127.28. This charge was entitled “Early Cancellation Fee”. Considering I was told of a 3-day risk free trial period, I was shocked to see this bill for a service which I no longer had. I signed up for it in good faith with a 3-day trial period, cancelled on day 2 and am now in receipt of a bill for $287.00. The bill also had an adjustment on it from Verizon in the amount of $52.58 which I was credited when I called Verizon.

I called Directv and spoke with Robert (csr# 23768). After explaining my situation to him, he transferred me to Chaney (csr# 100207200). She took my information and said she would escalate this to the billing dispute department and I would hear back from them in 10 – 14 days.

On 3/29/2007, I received another bill from Directv in the amount of $127.28. The $287.00 was debited as a “Reversal-Cancellation fee”. The $127.28 was listed as a Credit Card Payment Reversal. I called immediately and spoke with CSR# 100210787. I explained my situation and he indicated that this bill was sent in error and my actual balance was $0.00. He said I didn’t owe directv anymore payments and that it had been settled as of 3/7/2007. I thanked him for his time and thought the matter was settled.

On 4/2/2007 I received another bill in the amount of $127.28. Considering I had CSR # 100210787 tell me repeatedly that my balance was zero, I was more than a little shocked.

I called and spoke with CSR# 6387. She was very polite but couldn’t understand how the previous CSR could have made that mistake. She said I was indeed responsible for that amount. I asked how I should proceed and she said I had to write the billing department in order to dispute the charge for a service which I had for 2 days (and cancelled within the 3-day risk free trial period) and I had additionally returned all equipment.

I am disputing the charge of $127.28 as I was told when I signed up that I had a 3 day trial period to try out the service. I was not satisfied with the picture quality and cancelled my service on day 2 of the trial. I returned the equipment as soon as I received the fedex box from you. Therefore I am under no obligation for any charges per your 3 day trial period offer.

Please contact me if you require further information.

[Name redacted upon request]

Well at least they got the “trial” part right. — BEN POPKEN