DirecTV Explains How It Ended Up Billing Customer For Dead Friend's Account

Yesterday we brought you the story of how a woman in Florida saw her bank account drained by DirecTV in order to pay for service for a friend she said she’d referred to the satellite provider. Consumerist spoke to DirecTV to find out how this could possibly happen and were told the customer did a little more than just refer her pal to the company.

In her story, originally reported by a local NBC station in Jacksonville, the woman had said she’d only referred her friend to DirecTV through a promotion that pays you $100 for every friend who signs up. But a rep for the company says the woman actually allowed her friend to use her debit card number when setting up the account.

The rep goes on to explain to Consumerist:

That debit card, as we make clear in our customer agreement, will be kept on file and may be used to collect on any unpaid bills.The account went into non-payment and without being aware of the circumstances, we charged the card that was on file with the account for the unpaid bill and other fees. Once we were notified of the situation and could verify the circumstances, we credited the customer’s debit card. As we said in our earlier statement, this has nothing to do with the referral process. A customer who refers a friend to our service is not responsible for paying that person’s bill if they become delinquent or cancel early. Each customer is obviously responsible for their own account. But in this case, her friend’s debit card was tied to the account and our system automatically charges the card on file if a customer stops paying their bill, or disconnects before their agreement expires.

Well that makes significantly more sense.

What doesn’t make sense is why anyone would ever let a friend use their debit card to set up a satellite/cable/phone/anything subscription.

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