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Direct TV / early termination fees

1 United States Review updated:

On 4/15/07 I purchased an hdtv at best buy, the salesperson said they were having a promo on direct-tv. I explained I was already a directv customer. The sales rep said I could just buy the hd service and add it to my existing service and that best buy would do it as part of my installation. I paid $99.00 for the hd receiver and the best buy installation guys came over and performed the install. At no point in time did I ever speak to direct-tv to have the receiver activated. The best buy installation guys did all the talking.

After three months of billing issues I decided I no longer wanted to be with direct-tv and requested cancellation of my service. I was told that I could not cancel as I was committed to a two year contract. I ask the customer service rep to verify when I agreed to those terms and they claim it was automatic when I signed up for the hd service, problem is I never signed anything or agreed to an extension of service. I never even talked to direct-tv.

They claim that when I had the receiver installed I signed the agreement. When I looked at my best buy receipt there is no mention of such agreement matter of fact theres no mention of direct-tv. Then the representative claimed I verbally agreed when they performed the install. Again I never spoke to anyone at direct-tv. The best buy installer did all the talking with direct-tv.

I dont understand how they get away with these deceptive practices and there is little or nothing out there to protect the consumer from such scams. I hope direct-tv goes under when iptv becomes available nationwide. I am currently disputing this with allied interstate a collection agency (Direct-tv).

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  • Cl
      11th of Mar, 2008
    0 Votes

    I totally agree with you regarding Direct TV so called contract. I had to cancel my service because my apartment complex did not allow us to have a dish so when I called to cancel my service they threw that cancellation fee on me. The thing is they told me that I would receive a closing bill for the amount that was owed plus the cancellation fee but when I received my bill it showed paid and stated thank you for your payment. I knew I hadnt made any payment because I had just got the bill. Well when I checked my bank account they charged my account for the full amoung without me knowing. I had just paid all my household bills so that over drew my account when my bills started coming in. Needless to say I was out of close to $700.00 in nsf fees from my bank. I was so pissed at them.

    It turns out that Direct TV does not have a building where you can return there equipment so you must wait for them to send you a return kit to send there stuff back. They have attempted to send me the kit twice already sending it to the wrong address and now they are trying bill me for the equipment.

    Direct TV is full of it and they have truly lost a customer. I dont advise anyone to go with direct tv service. I hope this company fold.

  • Ra
      12th of Mar, 2008
    0 Votes

    I had Direct TV for seven years. This past Dec. I purchased a HD receiver and installed in my motorhome myself. At no time did any representative come out and do it or did I ever sign an agreement when I purchased the receiver from Best Buy. Now that my new home is complete and I moved in I cancelled their service and got a bundle from a competitor. Now they want a $440 cancellation fee. I would be more than happy to send them the receiver back but they never sent the box as they had promised. I do not want this to go to collection and I have sent them a dispute letter. Can anyone give me any advice?

  • An
      12th of Mar, 2008
    0 Votes

    I just had a conversation with one of the direct tv representatives. As it turns out I too was charged a cancellation fee when I didn't even know I was in a contract. The thing with me was that I actually asked the guy if I was going to be in a contract. He told me no. So when I called to complain about it, the supervisor told me it was true there is no contract but "its called an agreement" I was pissed!!!!! This morning I just found out they took out $215.00 for unreturned equipment!!! I haven't received any shipping box. I even called in two weeks ago asking if they were ever going to send them out. Now I'm overdrawn on my account and they say they'll reimburse the money when they get the equipment. I advise all of you out there, that are thinking about getting DTV, !!!DO NOT DO IT!!!!

  • Ka
      15th of Mar, 2008
    0 Votes
    Direct TV - Early termination fees!
    Direct TV
    United States

    I had a direct tv box that was not working 8/07, so when i called to see what could be done, the csr offered to send me a new one(When i balked at the fee of $19.95 and threatened to go to comcast she waived that fee) a few months later i did switch over to comcast and at that time dtv informed me that i had an early term fee as when they had sent out the box in august i had signed up for another 12 mths of dtv (In 8/07 i had been a dtv customer for 2 years), no one ever disclosed this to me and so now i am fighting them about this but they have sent it to collections and are they difficult to deal with, i would never use them again, they are robbers!!

  • Do
      8th of Apr, 2008
    0 Votes

    I am and have been a customer for yrs, and they suck! unfortunately they are the only game other than dish which sucks worse. I am all about a movement to charge these companies for my time while I wait on the phone for their bs. I am tired of using all my time being on hold for hours. Anyone else for invoicing these companies for my time(ie electric, phone, directtv, cable etc) and then taking them to small claims when they don't pay?? How bout that for customer service? Do you think it would get the message across?????

  • Ta
      11th of Apr, 2008
    0 Votes

    I can totally agree with all of you...I;m in the same situation. I hope the department of consumer affairs take some legal action against Direct TV.

  • Mi
      2nd of Jun, 2008
    0 Votes

    In Dec 06 I ordered Direct TV thinking it would save me money. The sales rep told me that no matter where I move I will be able to get service since they are everywhere. Well I moved to the neighboring city the following March. I paid the $50 they required to have the technician reconnect my service at my new home. When the technician came out he told me that I couldn't get a signal at my location and that I can cancel my service. Since then Direct TV billed me about $500 for an early termination fee. I wrote them a letter explaining the situation and they lowered the bill to about $375. I'm considering taking legal action against them. There is no reason that someone should pay $375 for a service that wasn't provided especially when I made every effort to keep my service. If there is anyone in the same situation, I would like to hear about it.

  • Jo
      24th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    Direct TV HD DVR stinks. We have had direct tv for 8 years decided to go with the HD service BIG MISTAKE we have over 182 hours on the phone / techs to the house. The equipment stinks we are now on our 6 HD DVR receiver as of July 22, 2008 since we have HD now they want to charge me a cancellation fee for a product they cannot produce. They forced me to sign up for the Plan Protection plan to even get service here for their faulty equipment because they only warranty their work for 30 days does not matter the receiver has a 1 year warranty. I called for the 30th time and it happen to be 31 days for the service call (new HR 21 DVR) so they wanted to charge me 79.95. The customer service has been unacceptable you are abused on the phone they have turned me over to Care Management 3 times for this issue they need to change the name to DONT CARE MANAGEMT they tell you it is the receiver and they send out a tech they tell you that don't even know the reason for the service call and tell you it is not the receiver. HAS DIRECT TV HEARD OF COMMUCATION???
    Does anyone know the address and contact person to send the leagal papers for Small Claims Court. With the hours and time I have missed from work and what they are trying to charge me for cancellation I would like to get this resolved. I am done with Direct Tv.
    They even tried to extend my commitment another two years for a REPLACEMENT RECEIVER.
    They are a ripped off. They are trying to tell me that I am the ONLY ONE that has a problem with their new HR 21 receivers... HA

  • Ch
      29th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    I agree with you 100%. I too had Directv, In January 2008, we purchased a home in a different state. I tried and tried to get Directv to install services at my new address. After being lied to by them, saying on 3 different occasions the had me scheduled for a install, the first week in March, i called them to tell them nevermind, i was having cable installed, (i am being billed during this period), they disconnect my services. About the last week in March, I recieve a box by FedEx for returning my reciever, which i do. The 2nd week in April, i get a bill from Directv for over 300.00. I am being charged for services i did not have plus a reciever i had returned to them. So I call 1-800-531-5000 and speak to customer service. They tell me they never recieved the reciever and the other charges were fees because of early cancellation . So i contacted the BBB of California and The FTC and not long after they dropped the reciever fee. It really shocked me to be treated this way by Directv, i never had any problems with them in the 4 yrs i had them. Needless to say, i now have cable and will NEVER use Directv ever again.

  • St
      31st of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    I bought a new tv at Circuit City. I thought I would try Direct TV with my new tv, so I signed up for the HD service. When I got my tv home, I was so excited for the installation. But, I didn't receive my installation for 2 months after the purchase. They were oversold on the equipment. After 2 months of waiting, they came to my house and installed the service. But, the HD service didn't work. I called the customer service many times, and told them about the problem. My service wasn't working and the kept sending me bills in the mean time. They bill was for much more money than I agreed upon. I called over, and over, and over again. Having the same conversation, as if for the first time with the customer service agent. There was no record of my service not working, or previous calls that I had made. I estimate I spend over 5 hours on the phone. And, it took an additional 2 months to resolve my service issues. Finally, it worked! But, at that point I had to move to another apartment unexpectedly. Because of the hassle with Direct TV, I decided to not re-install the service in my new apartment. I told the service rep. that I wasn't interested in the Direct TV service due to poor customer service. I paid my bill in full. But, the rep wanted me to pay $200.00 early termination fee. I told him "NO" and gave extensive reasons why I was not satisfied and very frustrated with Direct TV's TERRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE. He wouldn't budge on the early termination fee. I didn't pay it! But, the collection agency got ahold of me and extorted it out of me. "WE ARE GOING TO PUT THIS ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT AS AN UNPAID BILL, THIS WILL NOT REFLECT AS A EARLY TERMINATION FEE." "YOU MUST PAY, OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCE TO YOUR CREDIT REPORT!"


  • Ni
      3rd of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    Hello there, same problem here. I have been a customer for about 3 yrs. In march 08, i decided i wanted all my 4 boxes to work in the house so i called to have them activated. All were activated but one, because it was faulty. Easy fix right, customer service told me, he could easily send me a replacement but would charge me shipping and handling and he would further charge me $49.99 if the old box was not returned. I convinced him not to charge me the shipping fee, he too that off. Took a week to get the replacement, notice i did not say anything about signing up for a new contract because it was never part of the discussion.
    When the replacement came in, it had a letter DTV thanking me for choosing them and accepting the replacement. IT also mentioned that i should send the faulty box back to avoid a charge. And i did.
    I called again to activate the service, again nothing was mentioned to me that activating the box would mean 2 year s in the contract and an early termination fee of $300 would apply.
    2 months later i get a call from customer service telling that they had not received apayment from me and apayment was required right away. Ok, i wooped out my check book feeling all ashamed for not having made the payment, i also appologized for it. While reading the checknumbers, customer service also started thanking me for making the payment because my service would have cancelled and that would mean a breach in contract. Red flag right there!!!. Like any customer who is mindfull about contracts, i politely wanted customer service to confirm that i was in a contract, when i signed up for one and when i was ever going to be notified of me having signed a contract. She answered the last question first. "Oh now you know, you are in contract". She told me by accepting and activating the replacement receiver, i also signed up for a 2-year contract and an early termination fee of $300 would apply. I told her, i have 5 boxes in my house, if they had told me about that contract i would not have chosen that route. I asked for a manager, the manager told me, the fee was correct and would stand if i cancelled the service. She however advised me to dispute the contract. I wrote the letter, and sent it in.
    Because i got really heated up about he contract, i never made the payment that i owed.And i admit, that's my problem and am will to pay all the late fees. Anyways next day, they cancelled service. Before they could receive my complait in writing as advised, they had already denied my complaint. Aweek later i get a letter from collection claiming i owe $700.
    I called DTV, they are saying they would waive the cancellation fee and the box fees if i reisntate the service but i would have waived my right to have some one review evidence of not having known about the contract and thus reverse the contract. In essense i would be accepting the contract and would be liable to full filling the entire contract, and this time a round, they are letting me know that i would owe the $300 if i cancelled.
    They have told me not to pay any money and wait for some one to review my evidence and call collection and let them know that the amounts are in dispute.
    I have told them, am not signing up for this contract that i was never supposed to be in.
    Any advise! Am thinking about calling a lawyer on this, has anybody called one.
    Like everybody has said, stay away from DTV.

  • Te
      26th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes


  • Mo
      29th of Oct, 2008
    0 Votes

    I am also in the same boat. Bought the DVR from Best Buy along with "phantom" contract. Now they're after me for the $200 early cancellation fee. No lawyers will touch this as they (Directv) seem to be too big. Does anyone know someone that might be willing to start a class action suit? This is obviously wrong and needs to ruled illegal. I am fighting all the way, letters to BBB in their hometown etc., but it won't do anything since they already have over 60, 000 complaints on file.

  • Pa
      8th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    We have had DTV for 11 yrs.I just wanted to say that the complaints are a bit intimidating for me. The only complaint I really have is they seem to speak a different language when you call them with a problem and I never feel like they have answered my question.Although we have never really had a serious problem with them, so far, I feel like we have in all been treated fairly by DTV.I feel sympathy for those of you who have been treated wrongly by DTV and hope I never have to deal with that.

  • Ch
      21st of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    We had a bundle package with Verizon which included direct TV. We moved from NYC to a suburban home, and direct TV's Technician was "unable to find our house". I called to reschedule and appointment, and they told me it would be 3 weeks before a technician could come back. I told them I didn't cancel, that your contract installation company couldn't provide a service. I cancelled the service, and had Cable installed so my 4 year old can watch Noggin.

    I have been battling with direct TV over a termination fee. I explained to them it's a different address, and Direct TV was unable to provide me with the service at the new one.

    So now I'm getting letters form collection agencies. This is total FRAUD!

    I have found THOUSANDS of complaints online of similar issues. I think a class action lawsuit challenging this is what is needed for Direct TV to wake up and realize they are dishonest and committing acts of fraud against the American public!

  • Se
      2nd of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes

    Dish network is a bunch of crap.


    This will work to get out of their "bogus" and unfair contracts. First you must get your facts straight and dont back down. What I mean about get your facts straight is that we had billing issues (charged for services we didnt agree to). Go over the WHOLE bill. What each charge is and explain. Dont just be like "ok", that charge is fine. Discriminate every part of the bill that seems fishy, b/c it probably is.

    Anyways, back to getting out of this contract.
    My wife and I found out about this loopwhole b/c she DEMANDED a bill that stated there was a cancellation charge. And since the credit card "on file" would be charged right then, she demanded that she be faxed, mailed or email out receipt. They worded it very tricky and Im glad my wife caught it, something like "You cancellation charge will appear on your credit card statement. "

    My wife told them that this is a bunch of crap b/c anyone who looks at the Credit Card statement will see a charge of 210$ from Direct TV and thats all. Nothing about a cancellation fee. She continued to tell them that we need this receipt that states the charge we are being charged is indeed for cancellation and not anything else (could have been for movies, past bills, etc to direct tv).

    Funny but true part is . . . . THEY DONT PROVIDE THAT!
    We got switched around to different departments, got placed on hold for about a total of an hour (hoping we would hang up). But we finally talked to the highest person we could get ahold of at the time and then some more being put on hold.

    Finally what they told us was that:

    So, dont be tricked when they tell you that your card will be charged or you will be billed, or something to that effect.
    I originally talked to the direct tv when we first started this phone call and what it sounded like to me when they told me this is that I would be billed within the month and then charged. The worded it a little tricky.

    Im a little passive sometimes, so I handed the phone to my wife to review EVERYTHING he just told me. My wife picked up on what was happening. We needed a statement or something to prove we got charged 210$ from the cancellation fee b/c we would be reinburst upto a 200$ credit for switching over to BrightHouse. And direct tv WILL NOT proved this to you.

    What will really happen (from what I know) if you agree to be charged the cancellation fee.
    ...Your credit card on file will be charged the fee and any fees for equipment if not returned.
    (Im thinking what credit card on file?!?!?! i asked them to provide me with this also and they couldnt otherwise I would call and tell them to decline any charges from direct tv)
    ...You will see a statement on your credit card bill for ONLY a charge, nothing about canceling.

    So we are at the point where we are waiting for our boxes to be delivered so we can send that crappy stuff back to them.
    Im just afraid that since my "credit card is on file", they will reluctantly not send the boxes or wait till the last min. and I will get charged for that too. And I dont even know which card they have of mine to even check to see if I have enough credit in there in the first place.

    Direct TV is a highly organized and control SCAM. These kind of business practices should be outlawed.

    We have had service with BrightHouse before, but switched to direct tv thinking we would be paying less per month . . .WRONG. But we are back with Brighthouse and we do not plan on going anywhere.

    Excellent Customer Service, Cheap, NO CONTRACTS, NO HIDDEN CHARGES!

    Dish Network/Embarq: I was paying 270$ for internet, phone and cable bundle. The 99$ per month service is what we ordered. . . ha. .. hidden charges and fees you dont know about.

    Brighthouse: Flat 130$ month. Everything our other service had + much, much more and the speed/signal is much better.

    So, look over all your bills you've received. Print them out b/c they do get confusing with double charges some months. Ask about what charges are and why they are being charged. We ended up getting something like a 240$ refund for bogus charges and services we didnt sign up for. Then after we got our refunds, we went through the whole cancellation process above.

    Good luck!

  • Ml
      5th of Mar, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I have been a customer of Direct TV for over seven years. In that seven years I only had one problem, my receiver suddenly died one day. Fortunately, we had purchased the warranty protection plan, and within a week, a new receiver was in place. That was ten months ago. Sadly, the dying economy caught up to me when my hours were cut down to 20 hours per week. Barely able to pay a mortgage, it is obvious that I was forced to cancel my subscription with Direct TV. We called, and within minutes our feed was terminated. Two days later, a box came for our receiver. Thinking all was said and done, a bill came to my home for $180.00 listed as an early termination fee. Calling the customer service rep, they stated that their record showed we replaced a receiver ten months prior. Apparently that new receiver re-instituted an 18 month contract, one that either my wife or me knew about. Furthermore, it was said that a $70.00 retention credit was applied to my account. Since we were terminating our contract that $70.00 credit was about to be reversed meaning my total bill is now $250.00! Remember, I can barely pay a mortgage right now. Words cannot possibly describe how angry I am with Direct TV over this issue. I am left asking myself two questions; first, what did I pay for when I signed up for a warranty protection plan, and second, where in my contract did it state that receipt of a new receiver enrolls me in an 18 month contract? Just so it is clear, we went through all our statements and contract looking for that fine print… it does not exist. Nowhere do I see a $70.00 retention credit. Second, no where do I see any mention or agreement on requiring me to sign up for an additional 18 month contract upon receipt of the new receiver covered under the protection plan. In conclusion, I have two options; pay the fee and be done with Direct TV forever, or re-activate my service meaning I re-do my 18 month contract, or not pay it and fight it. I want everyone to know about this as nowhere in my records do I see any mention of re-enrolment of contract, or a $70 credit. My advice to whomever reads this, stay away from Direct TV!!

  • Vy
      14th of Mar, 2009
    0 Votes
    Direc TV - Early Termination Fee
    Direct Tv
    United States

    I've had my Direct Tv service for almost 2 months before I realized that it was not exactly for me. I went through Verizon to get the service because Verizon and Direct Tv had partnered up and had a bundle package. Verizon told me that although they were bundled, I needed to call Direct Tv and have them terminate the service. When I called Direct Tv they told me that I would be charged a $320 "early activation fee" because my 24 months wasn't up. I called back about 2 hours later and was told by another person at Direct Tv that my contract was an 18 month contract. No where on Direct Tv's site does it state that they have 18 month contracts. I politely asked if there was some type of agreement letter or contract that was signed by me, agreeing to these terms. They could not provide one. At no time did ANYONE (Verizon or Direct Tv) tell me that I would be obligated to stick with them for 18 or 24 months. I paid a $300 deposit to get the service and was told that it would be completely refunded in a few months or at the time of cancellation. Now, while trying to get this back, they're telling me that this was an activation fee, while another person told me that this was indeed a deposit but would be refunded by being paid out monthly as "credits" towards my bill but I'm cancelling the service. I asked if they could show me documentation stating what they had just told me about deposits and they could not.

  • Ch
      16th of Mar, 2009
    0 Votes

    Whenever you speak to a directv representative - know that you are being misled. Getting it in writing will never happen because that holds directv accountable. Don’t use their service – if enough people stop things will change. Also if you are out of the contract time frame and make a single change to the account you just agreed to 2 more years. Stop watching tv spend time with your kids – fix that piece of crap house, car or whatever you’ve been putting off. Do something else.

  • Rb
      18th of Mar, 2009
    0 Votes

    For financial reasons, I chose to suspend my DirecTV service in 7/08. I was told at the time that I could call on 1/6/09 and cancel my DirectTV service. I called 1/7/09 and terminated my service. I confirmed with the rep multiple times in the phone call that I would NOT be charged an early termination fee (ETF). She assured me each time that I would not. A couple weeks later I received a bill from DirecTV with an ETF on it. I called the next day and was told that because I suspended my service, that my contract was extended the amount of time my service was suspended, therefore I was billed an ETF because my contract wasn't up for another 6 mos. NO ONE EVER in previous conversations with reps mentioned this to me. I expressed this to the reps I spoke with that day. I called, spoke with a first line rep. Didn't get anywhere, spoke with supervisor. After 20 mins. of hold time and researching, I was rudely told that it is a valid fee and that no one in this company will be removing it. I found the Office of the President's phone number located in Boise, Idaho. I called, spent more time explaining my situation, and still got nowhere. After 2 hours of fighting this, I gave up. None of the reps I spoke to were able to answer my one question with any satisfaction from me: How come I'm being held responsible for reps giving me incorrect info and not documenting their 'system' correctly? Instead I was told repeatedly that it is a valid and it will not be removed.

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