DirecTV Drains Customer's Bank Account To Pay For Her Dead Friend's Satellite Service

UPDATE: DirecTV has given Consumerist its side of the story.
For years, DirecTV has been advertising its “refer your friends and get $100” promotion. But for one DirecTV customer in Florida, that referral didn’t end up profiting her; in fact, it ended up draining her bank account after that friend passed away.

The woman referred her friend to DirecTV a few months ago, but when that friend died unexpectedly, DirecTV debited at least $800 — without notifying her — from her bank account to pay for her late friend’s unpaid service.

“I was never told of this,” she told the NBC affiliate in Jacksonville. “I didn’t see any of this. I never signed for this. I was blindsided. I have no record of this….

“I have a sick child at home that I couldn’t afford to buy her Pedialyte… I had to ask for help from family. I had to get money for gas to get to work today, and DirecTV hasn’t offered anything.”

There is nothing in the DirecTV terms and conditions that ties a referrer’s account to anyone they refer to the company. But the customer says that all her phone calls, letters and faxes to DirecTV failed to get her an explanation or refund.

It wasn’t until after the local TV news got involved that she got any sort of response from DirecTV, who wrote, “This is definitely not part of DirecTV’s policy. If a customer refers a friend, they are not responsible for making payments on their friend’s account.”

Eventually, she received a call from the company’s president, who told her that DirecTV would be refunding all the money that was taken from her account. The next day it was back safely in her bank.

We’ve reached out to DirecTV to see if anyone there can explain what caused this huge error and will update if we get a response.

DirecTV Bills Woman After Friend Dies []

Thanks to Jeff for the tip!

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.