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DirecTV Cancellation Fee: Customer Complaints Mount

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Los Angeles, CA: It's one thing for a company to protect its cash flow. In fact, ensuring adequate cash flow is a prerequisite to running a viable business. However, ensuring that cash flow through the alleged practice of unfair and unreasonable cancellation fees, and putting those fees on the backs of your clients and customers, has been described as unfair and unjust. To this end, a number of DirecTV customers allege ill will and unfairness with respect to cancellation fees.

A Tonawanda, New York couple had just this problem. Bill and Kim Schwartzkopf were, at one time, clients of DirecTV. At the point at which they believed their contract had run its course, the couple retired their satellite service and switched to cable.

Watching TV"However the couple, as they told a reporter from WGRZ 2 On Your Side TV in Buffalo, was surprised to receive notification of a cancellation fee of $400. After contacting Direct TV, they were told that their agreement had been automatically extended when they took delivery of a new receiver. Kim Schwartzkopf said they were never told that updating their receiver would mean an extension of the agreement, and a supposed confirmation mailed to them never arrived. "I never received anything," Schwartzkopf told WGRZ. Oddly enough, the reason why the new receiver was required in the first place was because the old one wasn't working.

A spokesperson from DirecTV told WGRZ that the fee issue had been resolved, and the Schwartzkopfs were issued a credit for the amount. DirecTV maintains, however, that the cancellation fee was a valid charge.

And there are more stories. Abby, blogging from Los Angeles California said that after she cancelled their Internet service because it didn't work, a DirecTV contractor shut off her pre-paid TV service in January. Not only has she not been extended a refund, but also she is also allegedly receiving monthly bills for $25. She feels she is owed $1,000 by this time.

Ramiro, of Paramount California writes that he was promised thirty days to change his mind, within which he could cancel his agreement without penalty. However, after finding himself out of work and calling to cancel his agreement within the promised thirty-day window, he was told that the actual window was 24 hours. Thus, DirecTV told him that to facilitate the canceling of his agreement, he would be required to shell out $20 per month for 18 months. That's a year-and-a-half's worth of payments, for a service he is no longer using, that he is allegedly required to pay, even though he is out of a job.

And Krishnan, of Belmont California writes that when they signed their two-year agreement for DirecTV, they were promised time and time again by the sales representative that they had nine days in which to cancel the service, "for any reason."
With small children, Krishnan was disappointed at the lack of children's programming suitable for young children, so the call was made to cancel within one week, and certainly within the promised 9-day cancellation window.

However, upon speaking to a customer service representative, they were told that the 9-day cancellation window claimed by the sales rep was not valid, and that they would have to pay a $350 cancellation fee. There was no offer to waive the fee in light of the incorrect information provided at the time of sale, nor was there any willingness on the part of DirecTV to track down, or speak to the sales person involved.

According to Krishnan it was unfortunate, and gee we're sorry and it's really too bad, but you have to pay up.

It has been reported by the consumeraffairs.com website that the few hundred dollars it costs to bring an armload of satellite equipment home from the store is basically a deposit on equipment that is far more expensive than the customer is led to believe. In reality, the lion's share of the equipment cost is said to be built into a binding, multi-year contract that ensures not only service costs, but also the equipment costs over the life of the agreement. Also said to be built into the contract is a hefty cancellation fee, which is presumably there to ensure that the manufacturer gets its money out of the equipment, should you decide to cancel early.

However, countless customers lament that this has never been properly explained to them at point of sale, and that they did not fully comprehend what they were signing. Coupled with that, is the way the company appears to play fast and loose with the cancellation window at the beginning of the service...from 9 days, to 24 hours, as experienced by the consumers noted above. Normally, consumers have 30 days to escape from an unwanted contract.

In the end, it is always wise to carefully read what you are signing, and insist that you be given the opportunity to do so. Don't let anyone rush you through it. Beyond that, if you were promised one thing, only to find that reality is something completely different, a DirecTV litigation lawyer can help you.

"Gee, we're sorry?" Indeed...

READER COMMENTS

Posted by
Patricia
on
I had & DirecTV for 2 years and cancelled because the price was going up so high. I called and asked if they could have someone could come out and remove the Antenna. I was told they couldn't do that and kept asking me if I could remove it or get someone else to do it. I was appalled at their terse answer and attitude. I am putting an ad in the paper to give it a good home if taken down to whomever wants it.

Posted by
Melissa Amerian
on
I'm on the phone right now with Direct TV, in fact, speaking to a supervisor. About a month and a half ago, I took over a friend's lease and decided to keep her Direct TV (she was going to cancel it and just eat the $400 cancellation fees). I changed the programming to the least expensive package, and my friend and I put my credit card information on file (as an authorized user). I was not impressed with the package, so I told her to just cancel the service, which she had no problem doing. I gave her back all the equipment, and she allegedly returned it to the company.

Now I'm being charged for the cancellation fees because my credit card is the last credit on file. Direct TV tried to put through 5 different amounts on my bank account yesterday, in an effort to collect their fees. None of them went through because my funds were too low, thank God. Now I have talked to 3 different representatives, most currently, a supervisor who is trying to figure out what can be done. Apparently, they can't just remove my credit card information from their system! This would be an easy fix, right? Just charge my friend's account, which was originally in the system, and still is on file! Nooooooo...they are asking me to close out my bank account so that the charge doesn't through again! This is laughable!

So I'm on the way to the bank...

Posted by
Sharon Kasserman
on
Direct Tv is charging me 273.11 early disconnect fee even though I discontinuted my service because of the fact that the service was horrible. If the wind blew or it rained or the fact that I live in a highrise.....a million reasons my programing was interupted. I am in dispute and they have threatened me with collection.

Posted by
robin olsen
on
In october I signed up for the bundle. Through cenrty link,I was quoted 29 dollars a month. It taken me months to figure out why my bundle has never been the amount quoted.I have found out that direct 5.- has been billing me almost tripple the price..and 210 dollars just last month,they sent me to a lady who was not helpfull,and just wanted to argue..please help me.

Posted by
Steve
on
I signed up as part of a promotion Costco had along with their TV sales. They billed me almost double the monthly charge I was told for a mid-level package with DVR. When I inquired about the cost difference I was told that I needed to apply for a "rebate" within a certain time period and that the time window for said "rebate" had expired. After several phone calls I finally reached a supervisor in their customer service dept. who basically told me that the "rebate" procedure was designed to negate promotional pricing and that I was merely one of thousands of customers to fall into this trap. Since the service was installed in a vacation home, I was able to minimize my plan to the bare minimum and delete the DVR service (resulting in a much lower rate than I would have paid even with the "rebate"). I then cancelled service the day my commitment ended (I did not incur additional cacellation fees). This is the worst company ever.

Posted by
Jen
on
I was told you know when they send you a "change in policy" paper with your bill and it includes changes to your contract on their part.... well that constitutes a valid reason for you to end your contract legally b/c they are changing the contract you had including the fees. So there is a good way and this goes for any contract such as cell phones! Good luck.

Posted by
Jason S
on
Hi my name is Jason , I work for DISH network, but have had both services, and as any other customer have had to call customer support. As in any situation you will have good and bad service. But according to the Better Business bureau has given Dierctv an F with over 40000 complaints. DISH has a rating of C-, room for improvement, but momma always told me a C was better then an F

Posted by
Robert Henderson
on
I signed u[p with Directv while traveling in our Motorhome. I was told that I was getting a "Motorhome Package" that included all equipment including a tripod that I would use to mount the dish when I moved and that anytime I did move Directv would come and setup the equipment at the new site. I told them I planned to move about once a month. The individual said that was no ploblem and that is why they have the "Motorhome Package'" Now they want to charge me $195 dollars to setup the equipment because I have already moved once this year. What is the use having a motorhome package if you have to pay every time you change locations. Directv says now they have never had a motorhome package but can not explain why I have a tripod for the dish if I am not to move. They also want $280 to cancel the reamining 14 months on my contract.

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