DirecTV: New 2-Year Contract With $480 Cancellation Fee For Switching DVRs

I’ve had DirecTV for 8 years and was happy until 2 weeks ago. I purchased a new HD receiver at Best Buy on a whim to upgrade my sturdy old DirecTivo. I got home and called DirecTV to tell them of the switch. The Rep (Mone ID#413435) took the numbers on the new box and TV and told me that my new HD receiver should start working in a few minutes. That’s all she said.

I really missed the DVR functionality so I called 3 days later and asked DirecTV if I could change back and return the receiver to Best Buy. I was told that by activating the receiver I had agreed to a new 2 year commitment (even-though it isn’t on the box, in the manuals, on the receipt or clear in the TOS on the website) I had already committed and used up my commitment to an HD plan for my primary TV and DirecTV box. I was gobsmacked, and was told that if I canceled I had to return my boxes and pay $480 as a cancellation fee. When I signed up it was a 1 year commitment and $12.50 per month to cancel.

The kicker is that I just got notice that all the prices will be going up, so I canceled HBO because it is going up from 13 to 14 a month. DirecTV has now charged me $10 to cancel HBO!

I’ve emailed the BBB, and Chase Carey, to no avail. Does the mighty Consumerist have any ideas as to how I can deal with DirecTV?

Yikes. This is just the sort of behavior that recently backfired on the cellphone companies. We’d ordinarily suggest the EECB. Since you’ve already tried it, why don’t you give the CEO a call? We’ve heard from readers who did just that and had success.

In your best professional business-guy voice, call Mr. Carey’s office and calmly explain the issue. You’ve been a happy customer for 8 years, you should be able to get someone to fix this.

Any other ideas for Daniel?