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Direct TV / unauthorized checking card debit

1 2658 Griffith Park AvenueCA, United States Review updated:

DirecTV consumer bank account debit fraud / Wells Fargo Bank complicit behavior

Short Summary:

DirecTV wrongfully debited my Wells Fargo Bank account $378.65 without my permission, knowledge or any written warning. As background, my wife and I joined households. Moving into our new home, we were in possession of DirecTV receivers from our separate residences.

1. DirecTV told us to give our old receivers to the installer servicing the new house - however, the DirecTV installer who arrived said he didn’t know which receivers needed to go back and even if he did – he wasn’t authorized to take them;
2. DirecTV failed to provide ID numbers for the receivers owed, though I called their 800 number twice;
3. During my 3rd phone call on February 12, 2009, DirecTV finally provided me with the receiver ID numbers. DirecTV then failed to allow even one business day to return the receivers, charging my bank account for $378.65 on February 15, 2009 without my knowledge or permission;
4. Wells Fargo Bank protected DirecTV by refusing to allow me to file a Fraud Claim against DirecTV with the bank. Wells Fargo Bank has even refused to investigate whether DirecTV even had the legal right to debit $378.65 from my account. Wells Fargo Bank benefited by the fraud because it collected $70.00 in overdraft fees.

Full details:

DirecTV wrongfully charged me a $378.65 equipment fee. In moving to our new home, DirecTV stated our installer would take back the old DirecTV receivers. The DirecTV installer who arrived neither took back nor identified the receivers owed, stating DirecTV would send us prepaid return postage boxes.

As DirecTV customers for over 11 years, my wife and I combined two DirecTV households. With so many receivers/dvrs – we called DirecTV asking which receivers (via their ID numbers) needed to be returned. Each time DirecTV said this information would be mailed to us. DirecTV did sent two boxes, but failed to include identification information as to which receivers needed to be returned.

On February 12, 2010 we called DirecTV for a third time. We had received a bill for $378.65. A DirecTV representative finally told us over the phone the five ID numbers for the receivers that needed to be returned. DirecTV stated they would send out return shipping boxes (this time with receiver number attached) and not charge us until the receivers were returned.

However, on February 15, 2010 – DirecTV in direct contradiction to information provided in the February 12, 2010 phone call - debited my bank account $378.65 without my permission, knowledge and without waiting a single business day for the receivers to be returned.

As we stated in the February 12, 2010 phone call – we were more than willing to drop the DirecTV receivers off or give them to the installer as we were instructed by DirecTV to do. However, DirecTV refused to make either option open to us. Instead, without prior warning, knowledge or permission - DirecTV fraudulently debited my bank account.

In calling DirecTV to have the $378.65 equipment fee reversed – DirecTV flatly refused. We even called and left two messages for Donna Sadlouskos, DirecTV’s Senior Manager for Customer Satisfaction. Ms. Sadlouskos never returned either phone call. DirecTV acted in bad faith and has thus far caused $70.00 in bank overdrafts fees. Basically, DirecTV is scamming former customers – extorting additional funds illegally. Everyone at DirecTV feels their company can invade a customer’s bank account anytime they want. More onerous is the fact that DirecTV’s staff is absolutely convinced that no individual, court or government agency is going to stop this egregious behavior. So, far they have been right.

In contacting Wells Fargo Bank, I learned that my financial institution is refusing to file my fraud claim against DirecTV, claiming that I signed a contract with the satellite television provider allowing them to automatically debit my account. When I asked Wells Fargo Bank to produce the legal document I purportedly signed agreeing to this – Wells Fargo’s fraud department customer service supervisor refused. Instead, I was berated by my own bank’s fraud department – which claimed that I gave away my rights and there was nothing that Wells Fargo Bank was going to do about it.

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  • Re
      22nd of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    I forgot to add the following:

    To be clear - paying a bill by a check or even via an occasional electronic transfer does not grant a company full access to their customer’s bank account. DirecTV is engaging in bank fraud. Wells Fargo and other banks that benefit from resulting overdraft charges are complicit in this fraud by not demanding proof that a debit is valid – once their own customer demands it.

  • De
      6th of Jul, 2010
    0 Votes

    I do agree that the Bank should protect consumer rights. Direct TV is scamming many customers by claiming that it's in their service agreement. This fine print that is geared to geared to scam you, should have been read out to you before you sign the agreement.

    This practice by Direct TV is unfair, the company should have sent prepaid boxes to have their receivers returned and give a reasonable time frame for the return. Then send letter/s to say that xxx amount is due. Since their receiver is disconnected by satellite, no one can use it anyway.

    The Obama administration and the Better business bureau should put a stop to this company's illegal handling, that is the un-authorised charges to customers account, for equipment that is totally useless after they disconnected the service via satellite. Returning the receivers by prepaid boxes is an easy way to get their hardware back.

    Phone companies dont even do this illegal non-sense. Instead a bill collection agency would more call you to collect the early termination fees. Other than that the phone itself is still use-able if you have a valid sim card in it.

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