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DirecTV Complaints & Reviews - How to beat DirecTV's Early Termination Fee

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DirecTV

Posted:    Ace77

How to beat DirecTV's Early Termination Fee

Complaint Rating:  93 % with 123 votes
Contact information:
DirecTV
United States
Like the several other thousand of you on here, I was charged an early termination fee by DirecTV when I canceled their service. I had the service for 8 months, after being told when I joined there was no contract. When I quit, they charged me $200, saying I had an 18 month term agreement. I'll spare you all the details of how I fought on the phone with them and their so-called managers over this, and just tell you how to resolve it. I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, which I also encourage all of you to do. Granted it got me no resolution, DirecTV still refused to refund my money, but if enough people file with them, eventually they will have no choice but to take a look at it. It only takes a couple minutes filling out a form on the BBB website. At this point, I filed online at my Attorney General's website. Again, nothing came of it, but it can only help if we pile on the complaints.

So then I filed a small claims court case at my local district court. It only cost like $30 to file. A week before our court date, I received a call from DirecTV's legal department, she was nice as could be. She actually asked ME if I would be willing to dismiss the case if they refunded my $200 early termination fee. She also said they would reimburse me $40 for my court costs. My money has been refunded, and now my nightmare with this horrible company is over.

I encourage ALL of you having similar problems with early termination fees or any other bogus charges they've nailed you with to do this as well. I did not have my credit card company reverse the charges, because DirecTV will send you to collections, and that's a whole other nightmare to deal with. Instead, just file a small claims case if you have a legitimate cause, and if they show up you will then likely win anyway, but chances are they will call you and settle up.

There are hundreds of thousands of people they are hitting with these bogus fees. If even a fraction of a % actually call them on it in a court case, it is not worth their time and trouble to try to fight it, they will gladly refund your money as they are making millions of dollars on those people who just do nothing. Don't be one of those people, fight this company back!!
Comments United States Satellite & Cable TV
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 16th of Sep, 2009 by   huenem 0 Votes
I'm pretty sure that they asked to drop the court case because it would have cost them more money to come out to the court date. Technically it is in their customer agreement that you can not sue them. By agreeing to have their service you agree to binding arbitration in lieu of court. It is very specific on even who to contact for arbitiration. I would caution those who want to 'make' them show up for court out of spite because the judge may throw the case out due to the arbitration clause in the contract. If this happens you will not get your money back. You know the direcTV rep is going to bring up the clause in court. So, I recommend sticking with arbitration. They will settle before that as well. There is a good article on ehow that googled right above the hit for this article. Here's the link. It will tell you how to go about arbitration. It may be a bit safter than trying to sue. But, way to go! Anyone who can beat DirecTV is a winner in my book!

http://www.ehow.com/how_5255105_cancel-reverse-early-cancellation-fee.html
 18th of Sep, 2009 by   Ace77 0 Votes
Thanks for posting that link for everybody to see. Anything to help each other out! I am an accounting major, so I have had Business Law classes. I've studied contract law, and in order for a contract to be considered valid and hold up in court, there must be mutual assent on both sides...meaning both parties must be aware of what they are agreeing to. I was actually told there was NO contract by the installation company, AS WELL as a DirecTV representative. So I would have been more than happy if they did show up, I was prepared for them. But like you mentioned, I knew it was not worth their time and effort for $200. So this was just a guideline to show people something they can do if they have a valid argument. Their customer agreement may say you cannot sue them, but in order for them to dispute that in court, they would have to show up in court, lol, which we all know they will not. I have read of others who have also filed against DirecTV in small claims court, and DirecTV settled up with them beforehand too. So do whatever you need to do to make them pay!
 22nd of Feb, 2010 by   Beat DIRECTV in VA! +1 Votes
Please read this! I followed the above to a tee and it worked for me with a slight variation. Here's the short version.

In October of 2008 we signed up for service with DIRECTV and were told there was no contract, and we never signed a thing. For literally 7 months straight, the bill was too high by $10-$30/month, resulting in 1-2 hour phone calls with customer service, only to have the same problem recur the following month. In June of 2009, we moved, and had our service reinstalled at our new house. We got a new box (which we thought was an upgrade), only to discover the box/DVR never worked correctly. The DVR would tape the wrong shows at the wrong times when correctly scheduled. Even just pressing record wasn't working right. I'm no tech retard, and I followed procedures for soft and hard resets, and even did it again with DIRECTV's useless tech support to no avail.

By October (we suffered through for a few months) it still wasn't working correctly and was getting increasingly unbearable. I called in again and when they told us they wanted to charge us something like $90 for a service call to fix their faulty equipment, I decided we'd had enough. I attempted to cancel, only to be told their was an early cancellation fee of $180 because we were closing our contract early! Needless to say, after several phone calls, the last of which lasted 2 hours (no exaggeration) I could not get them to waive the fee. The only concession they offered was several month's free services.

I found this post and filed a small claims case against them in December to recover my $180, plus $53 in court costs.

At the end of December, someone from "DIRECTV Legal" called my wife's phone and left a message stating that they'd like to rectify the situation out of court. As our court date wasn't until the first week of January, this seemed great! I returned the call later that same day but had to leave a message.

HERE's the really odd part: I called (literally) about 10 more times over the next couple of weeks and left messages every time, and they never called me back!!! Classic DIRECTV customer service.

So, I ended up going to court, and the judge (Commonwealth of Virginia) ruled against them because they did not show up.

So, I got the judgment but wasn't sure I'd ever see my money. So, I waited the 10 days or so DIRECTV has to file an appeal. They didn't, and so I called the same "DIRECTV Legal" personnel back and left a message stating that they'd had a judgment entered against them for $233, and that I intended to continue to call until the matter resolved. A week and a half went by and I kept thinking I was going to have to send them a copy of the judgment (wasn't sure whether the court did so), and lo and behold:

2 Days ago I got a check in the mail from DIRECTV for $233 and an apology note stating they wish to have me back as a customer. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I won. I highly recommend following through as has been stated above. It was worth every minute of my time. See pic for check (I blurred out my contact info)!!!
 5th of Nov, 2010 by   Oh-No-You-Dont 0 Votes
Thank you for some solutions!!! Many companies need to be handled this way these days unfortunately.
 14th of Nov, 2010 by   kertwo 0 Votes
Somebody please tell me how to take Directv to Small Claims court in KANSAS. When I went to the court house they provided a brochure that stated: You may sue any person or business operating in Kansas that you believe owes you money or property. Problem is that Directv is headquartered out of Colorado & their Office of General Counsel is in California. Any good advice or does Directv have a Kansas address? Help me out, I would love to put these arrogant bastards in place.
 29th of Nov, 2010 by   balgame03 0 Votes
Similar to "Beat DirecTV in VA" post above (I also live in VA), I followed the same procedures and got my money back as well. My situation was a little bit different though. We got DirecTV services starting in September 2009. We never signed any type of contract or anything. The only reason we got DirecTV was because Verizon was not offered in our area. Well, what do you know! 9 months later, Verizon starts offering their services in our area. My wife and I decide to wait until our 1 year anniversary of having DirecTV to call and possibly cancel if there were no cancellation fees.

When I called DirecTV customer Service, I specifically asked if there would be any cancellation fees if I decided to cancel our service at that time and the lady whom I spoke to said no. Of course, we went ahead and cancelled the service and ordered Verizon Fios.

1 week goes by and we receive a statement from DirecTV with a charge of $233.10 as an early cancellation fee. I called the Customer Support for DirecTV and advised that the last person I spoke to said there would be no cancellation fee. They advised to submit an email to the customer support and ask that they pull the tapes to review the customer service rep telling me that there would be no customer service fee. Well, conveniently they said that they do not record every convo, which is completely false because why would they tell me to have them pull the tapes if they didn't record every convo. Long story short, they would not refund my money. I didn't have direct payment to DirecTV, but when you initially sign up, they have you provide a credit card for backup payment. Well, 3 days later, they charge my credit card for the $233.10.

I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and got no results. They again declined the refund. I proceeded with the Small Clains suit, which is a very tedious process. It requires 3 forms to be completed very carefully. Then I had to take the completed papers to the courthouse to submit and pay a $56 fee to file the small claims suit. I also had to mail the paperwork to the "Trading Company" of DirecTV representing DirecTV in the State of VA (You'll have to find the Trading Co. in your state). Ask the courthouse what phone # to call to get that info and they will provide it to you. When you mail the paperwork to the defendant (DirecTV), make sure you get a Certificate of Mailing from the Post office to bring with you to court if you end up going to court.

About 2 weeks after I filed the claim and mailed the paperwork to DirecTV, I received a call from the Legal Dept of DirecTV asking if we can settle out of court. I said of course if you refund my money. I got all $233.10 back and all I had to pay for was the $56 in small claims filing fee. I'm sure if you proceed to threat to go to court, they will give you that money as well. At that point, I was tired of the process and decided that $180 refund was enough for me. It was a win in my book.

This is a scam by DirecTV as there was no contract signed. They make all their money on the early cancellation fees from people who do not want to take the time to file the small claims suit against them. It would cost them more money to go to court than to refund the money, so it is well worth it if you get one of these bogus cancellation fees from them. I highly recommend going forward with the small claims suit. IT WORKS!
 28th of Jan, 2011 by   haraf15 0 Votes
i was with direct tv over 2 yrs now and it is a( 2yr contract). after i got dishnetwork back direct tv could give me all kinds of discounts then . i told them to take it a shove it. i will never go back to them. and it took them
2 phone calls to get the boxes to send the equipment back. they gave me a few days to send it back. what a joke of a company. i would advise you to never go to direct tv . i will go to cable before i would ever go back to them.
 25th of Jun, 2012 by   dove27 0 Votes
When I call to cancel service after over two years of service to get my deposit back and to avoid any cancellation fees, I am going to tell the CSR du jour that we did NOT have a "meeting of minds" when I called customer service and had my programming changed a few months ago so that did not constitute a new contract between us. That is the definition of contract, and if they pull up our telephone conversation, I was not informed I was entering into a new contract at the time, so they acted illegally by creating one fecklessly. Everyone should use this as the perfect way to avoid getting stuck with their illegal and nefarious BS. This should work for anyone who completed the basic terms but changed service or equipment, or moved sometime during their term and Directv is trying to charge them for early cancellation because they renewed a contract (what a load). A meeting of minds by all parties is imperative to legally a contract make. If one doesn't know a contract is being implemented in one's name, then one cannot be held responsible for it, no matter what that contract says, even if it reads otherwise. This should drive the CSR nuts and will beg for an acceleration to Directv's legal department who will crumble when faced with a small claims suit. Make sure you take notes, dates and names, and threaten arbitration or small claims if they don't back down and return what's left of your deposit and release you of any cancellation fees they might want to charge you. One more thing, before you make the call, call your bank or credit card company and block them from being allowed to charge your card(s) or bank accounts - this is very important. This would be the first thing they would do, probably when you are on the phone with them - charge you first and worry about paying you back later, so prevent any further payments before you call. You can also invoke the class action lawsuit that is pending in CA against them for their evil deeds if they are reluctant. It was filed in '08 and is still being considered, as the numbers grow to half a million for the plaintiff. Because it hasn't been thrown out as Directv has requested several times, they are sweating it big time and know they'll be paying everyone eventually, they might as well pay you now. Well done, CA, and good luck to you all. Fight the good fight and stop these big corporations from ripping off the little guy because they can. It's time to stop them once and for all!
 29th of Jan, 2013 by   Skunz18 0 Votes
I am out of contract with direct TV and have been for a while. When I called a few times to cancel my service they offered all kinds of credits to get me to stay, like free hbo for 6 months, $5 off per mo for 6 mo for something, etc, ect. Every discount they could give me they gave me. I am moving to Ca and want to bundle with twc because twc can offer faster Internet. When I called to cancel my service I was told that I have to PAY THEM for the unused credits they gave me to keep me as a customer. Because I don't want to be thier customer anymore I have to pay them the unused credits they offered me totaling $175! Of corse they never mentioned that I would have to pay back the unused portion of the credits they issued me If they mentioned it to me I would have canceled right the. And there. If they charge you for the credits they really aren't giving you anything!
 29th of Jan, 2013 by   Click Hanover. 0 Votes
Welcome ! Awesome complaint . .
 3rd of May, 2013 by   Ashleekov 0 Votes
I GOT OUTTA PAYING MY CANCEL FEES!!! I got out bc I’m moving and my landlord said no satellites allowed, but yet they said I would still have to pay according to the contract- I said I never signed anything… They said it was signed when the installation occurred… After thinking, I remembered my boyfriend was here when they came so when they looked up the signature it wasn’t mine and I told them I don’t know that person. So apparently I’m not in contract since he wasn’t on the account! So if you weren’t there when the installation happened and someone else signed your name, you’re not obligated by contract for ANYTHING! I’m so happy now to call EPB back and get their cable!!! Hope this helps anyone that couldn’t be home when the installers came:)
 29th of May, 2013 by   BrockD 0 Votes
We signed up for DirecTV in August of 2011 with a 2 year contract. In October 2012 I was strapped for money and called DirecTV's customer service line a few days before my bill was due (which came out of my checking account automatically every month) and asked for a 3 day extension when I got my next paycheck so my account wouldn’t be overdrawn. The agent in customer service assured me after I asked her repeatedly that my bill would not come out on its normal due date. My payment DID end up coming out on its normal due date and my account was overdrawn. The same day my account was overdrawn I called DirecTV asking why my bill was charged when I was assured it wouldn't be. After a conversation that got me nowhere, I asked for a refund of my money including the overdraft fee I was charged. The agent insisted it would take about a month to receive my refund after sending various documents to them. That wasn’t going to work for me so I asked her to transfer me to the cancellation department so I could be done with it. The agent in cancellation told me she could give me the refund back immediately and offered me 2 months free service and a free upgrade with an HD DVR. I was in no position to turn the offer down because I needed the money back in my account. What I was not totally clear on was that this upgrade included a 2 year extension to my already existing contract; so now I have a 4 year contract. Then we moved from Florida to Michigan. When trying to transfer my service it was far too expensive and we needed the extra money for moving expenses. We were presented with the option to place our services on hold for 6 months. Three months later my fiancée lost her job and 2 weeks later we found out she was pregnant. We cannot afford to keep our service and wanted to cancel. We were informed that the cancellation fee would be $400. I couldn’t believe this and when I asked why I was told because I have 4 years remaining on my contract. We are struggling to make ends meet and cannot afford this fee or even DirecTV’s services. The company is not willing to work with us at all, stating we’re locked into a 4 year contract and must pay the full termination fee all at once if we want to cancel. When I called DirecTV to explain our issues, the agent was incredibly rude and insisted that we were locked into a contract and there was nothing they could do and that we had no options. I couldn’t believe that a company that makes billions of dollars a year has to lock customers into contracts and holds outrageous termination fees over their heads in order to keep them.
I want the 2 year contract extension removed for the "free" HD DVR upgrade. Our contract was initially set to expire in September 2013. I have no problem with paying the termination fee through my original contract expiration date.
 31st of May, 2013 by   paulieo9 0 Votes
Just call DirecTV at 1-800-531-5000, reference "4. CHANGES IN CONTRACT TERMS" in the DirecTV contract and state you do not accept the changes detailed in the contract change notification that take effect June 24, 2013.

Don't say you want to cancel because your canceling incurs the Early Cancellation Fee (ETF), instead, simply state you do not agree to the change in contract terms and they will be forced to end your contract as they can not provide one customer different terms than another. If they don't listen to you, send a certified letter stating you do not agree to the terms. Remember *not* to say you wish to cancel, only that you do not agree to the change in terms and conditions.

This should work anytime they change your contract but you need to contact them right away. I have been waiting for a contract change for six months now!
 10th of Jun, 2013 by   Branda Nelson 0 Votes
My husband and I just cancelled our service with DirecTV and have been told more than once that our early cancellation fee of #240 would be waived because they could not track where it was coming from (we had no contract as we have been with them since 2006 and have not done anything to cause it to be renewed). However every time I call they say it was not waived and there are no notes. This last time (after a 30 minute conversation) I was again told it would be waived and I made my final payment of a partial month of only $40. I SHOULD have requested it in writing. And I will be calling them back tomorrow to do just that. However I have a feeling that they will wind up trying to charge our credit card on file for the fee. I'm also tempted to cancel our cards and get new ones so they can't! And if they do continue, I WILL be filing a lawsuit (or arbitration) against them. And I will be filing a complaint with the BBB. They are a very scrupulous company and need to change their ways.
 14th of Oct, 2013 by   K Nick -1 Votes
I have spent over 20+ hours on phone calls with this company since June 2013 trying to get my bill and account to what was promised to me when I signed on to them in June, 2013. I have been booted over to Century-Link for Direct TV's "bundle plan" which I found out doesn't really exist with Direct TV, only with Century-Link. When Direct TV can't resolve the problem they blame Century-link and transfer me over there. Century-Link blames Direct TV and transfers me back over Direct TV. Well, I fault Direct TV for false advertisement on a bundle plan and price they didn't honor! I think everyone at Direct TV and Century-Link are required to take a course on confusing customer's billings until they EXCEL at it. I have never heard of such nonsense in my life for the way they charge and lie to folks. I have been as long as 4 hours on the phone, dropped and transferred until my ears hurt. The billing numbers they come up with and the "in your face lies" they tell you at the time to justify it needs to be investigated. My account was transferred to Century-Link for payment and after 3 months transferred back to Direct TV and now Direct TV wants me to pay 2 months up front because the "bundle" was broken by Century-Link and therefore voided. They told me it had to be handled this way and I requested it in their notes!!!. They have raided my "NOTES" and twisted them to fit their needs. They act like the IRS! How much power does this company have anyway? I have paid my bill every month and on-time with Century-Link as billed FOR Direct TV. I'm not making a double payment to Direct TV or now paying 2 months in advance. Every time I call up there I get a different Rep and different answer. My advice is to seek a 3rd party for help which is what I'm being forced to do. I'm going to a news station as well, and let someone else witness this insanity. They must pay their people "big bucks" to mess the system up and to overcharge everyone. Now after reading all these post I can only imagine the night mare if I try to get service with someone else. They want these contracts on you so they can charge whatever they want in the process and collect even more when you've had enough. Is anyone looking into all this fraud? That is exactly what it is...
 24th of Dec, 2013 by   raspberries76 0 Votes
I feel like it's just bad business to offer one price and then expect customers to pay a hefty fee later. ... Hmm, anyone out there recall the Blockbuster late fees (many which people actually didn't owe?) Where's Blockbuster these days? Oh, out of business? Yeah, seal your fate DirecTV. LOL. Karma gonna get you. Why would you steal from your customers? Seriously? Otherwise, I actually liked their customer service, television service and technicians, etc. Too bad they'll be out of business in less than a decade. Screw them.
 16th of Jan, 2014 by   reallysane 0 Votes
I recently had a very bad experience with DirecTV too. They are a partnership with AT&T - advertised for $30 per month. So I signed up. When the installer came, I checked the 12 month box. Instead of $30 the bill was $45, which I assumed was because of the 12 month agreement.. Then after three months I started receiving $92 bills, Surprise! When I tried to cancel after 10 months they wanted to stick me for cancellation fee for $260. This seems to be their standard business practice. Yet they seem to be growing every year. Wikipedia page shows they 30 million customers with enormous profit 25% profit on approx $30 Billion in revenue (i, e, they are screwing each customer an average of $1000 per year). They are obviously making money in an extortion racket. How are they staying in business and how are they growing, What makes them immune to customer complaints. If somebody came into your house and stole $300 the legal system would surely punish them. But you can steal $15 billion a year from customers and hide behind unsigned contracts. Very smart!
 16th of Jan, 2014 by   reallysane 0 Votes
Update: The arbitration company they have carefully selected asks a $400 fee with the application form as fee. Which is significantly higher that the early termination fee. This guarantees that DirecTV can make you pay anything below $400 without hearing a squeak from you. So arbitration is definitely not the right move. Small claims court seems to be right one.
 16th of Jan, 2014 by   reallysane 0 Votes
Careful reading of the agreement (which I did not sign) also mentions this in addition to arbitration - "You may also assert an individual action in small claims court in lieu of arbitration."
So small claims court is the right venue.
 28th of Jul, 2014 by   Burned Up 0 Votes
Directv is trying to stick me with an early termination fee after 12 months of calling for repairs and no shows by them because I could only get 19 channels out of 200 on my hd receiver, which would never record. I work 12 hours a day so I added my mother as an authorized rep on my account to talk to them. While talking to Wayne at the corporate office in CO, he said she could put him or CEO Mike White on her life insurance as a beneficiary for EFTs, when she explained she was ill. Who do icontact about that? He had her convinced it was her idea!

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