"I moved to Michigan in November, right after Thanksgiving," Elizabeth says. "The only cable service there is Charter Communications but it was $50 higher per month than what I had before. So, I called DirecTV to get their rates and decided to go with that service. That was around December 18. The installation occurred on December 24, and everything was working fine. But, when I called Charter to talk to them about disconnecting my cable, I found out that if I unbundled my services [phone, cable and internet] I would pay more for the service I got.
"So, I called to cancel DirectTV on December 26. They disconnected the services while I was on the phone. But I got on the Internet later and discovered that they had already charged me my first month's services, and at a different rate than I was quoted. When I ordered DirecTV's services, they made me pay for shipping and handling of products to the installer. I didn't have a credit card so I gave them my debit card number. They asked me at that time if I wanted monthly billing to come out of my account automatically, and I said no. I told them that I wanted a paper bill. To see that they had taken this money out of my account without my approval made me angry.
"I called DirecTV back and they said it would take four to six weeks to get my money back. I wasn't happy about that so I talked to someone who said he would get me my money back in 10 business days and, to his credit, it was back in my account on the morning of the 10th day.
"Around January 24, I checked my bank account and I saw that there was a $465 charge to my account for an early termination fee. I called DirecTV to ask why I would be charged this fee because I cancelled within the period of time allowed to terminate my contract [30 days]. He said it was a computer error and it would take six to eight weeks to get my money back. At that point my account would be overdrawn but he said there was nothing he could do about it.
"I was so upset that I filed a complaint with the attorney general's office and the FCC. I also filed a complaint with the bank. My account was overdrawn because of this and the bank accused me of fraud. I was told that if the account was overdrawn for 30 days, the account would be sent to bad debts and would go against my credit. The money was put back in my account just before the 30th day.
READ MORE LEGAL NEWS
I don't know how they can get away with this. Going without money in my account put a hardship on me. It was really a big mess and it was upsetting to say the least. It's really not fair. They assumed they could continue to take money out of my account at their leisure. I should not have been charged that termination fee in the first place."
Customers are now investigating a possible lawsuit against DirecTV alleging that they have been illegally charged early termination fees. If DirecTV has charged you an early termination fee that you feel was unfair, contact a lawyer to discuss your legal options.