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Direct TV / early cancellation fee

1 San Leandro, CA, United States Review updated:

DIRECTV is charging me an early cancellation fee for a service I never recieved. Unbelievable but true.
I had the regular Directv service for 7 years. I ordered over the phone the DVR Service, and was not informed of any renewed or new agreement or cancellation fee or directed to one or anything.
In any case, I got the DVR and it would not work. I had two conversations with their tech support and it would not connect to the satellite (they are recorded so they have a record of them).
In any case, I cancelled the regular service and said I decided to no longer pursue trying to get the DVR service. They then told me I had a whopping $460 cancellation fee on a service I never recieved. um huh?
I tried several of their customer service representatives and finally ascertained that they claim I was bound to something they call their "Customer Agreement."
The Customer agreement however, states pretty explicity that its terms are for "receipt and payment of service" I never recieved the service or payed for it. Also, service is defined as "television and programing service" not something else.
At various times their CSRs tried out various arguments such as: "we activated it at our end therefore you are bound to the agreement, " and "you recieved the dVR device therefore you are bound to it" and "you ordered it therefore you are bound to it."
I mentioned their Customer Agreement, (the very contract they referred me to!) which directly contradicts this, and basically just got silence at the other end and a "the fee is valid." um what?h...
I sent letters to the President's Office got got no reply.
They have billed my credit card without my consent. (of course I'm disputing it).
Does anyone here any any insight into what is going on?
This behaviour seems outrageous if not illegal.
Does anyone know if have a case to sue them for harrasment and malicious intent?
At what point does such a remedy come into play?


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  • Re
      8th of May, 2009
    0 Votes

    its not illeagle you had the receiver activated. On the access card inside your receiver it says that when you ACTIVATE the product you agree to the terms and conditions of the customer agreement. SO you would have been better off working with the company to get this fixed then just getting 'fed up" and disconnecting. Like any new product, only one in a prododuct group is being tested. That means that these are made in groups and only one of the dvrs is being tested to make sure they all work. It is possible with ANY electronic, or any product out there for that matter to be defective. Now lets bring this back to directv, you should have worked with them, they give you a 90 warrenty on their receivers and even service calls for those receivers, to get any issue you may have fixed. YOU WERE BEING UNREASONABLE. YOU GOT THE DVR, THAT WAS YOUR SERVICE FOR THAT PARTICULAR ITEM. You are bound to the agreement by ACTIVATING THE RECEIVER. SO YOU ARE BOUND TO THE CANCELLATION PART OF THE AGREEMENT. THE CHARGES ON YOUR CARD ARE VALID. However I am sure that directv is a reasonable company and may be willing to get you back into your programming, waive the cancellation fee if you stay for the full two years and get you set back up. So instead of being a rude person and a baby about the situation why not try to work with the company in fixing the issue, instead of being rude to them and expecting them to bow down to you.
    In other words you have no case, you owe the cancellation fee, you are being unreasonable. CALL THEM AND MOST IMPORTANTLY BE NICE TO THEM, I am sure if you show them that you are willing to work out the situation, AND YOU ARE ACTUALLY NOT GOING TO TREAT THEM LIKE CRAP, they may work with you. THERE IS A SAYING YOU CATCH MORE FLIES WITH HONEY THAN VINAGER. Be nice and the both of you will most likely come down to something that works for you. Most likely in your case this will be
    1 Reactivating your account with directv
    2 Reinstalling if needed
    3 Getting your services back on as you had them before, unless the package you had is no longer available
    4 You will have to have the services for two years, and they will probably credit the early cancellation fee to your account.

    This may mean it wont be put back on your card, but hey thats what a compramise is all about. *You* got yourself into the agreement regardless of if *you* understood it or not. *You* activated the receiver and this activated your commitment. *YOU* LOST YOUR TEMPER LIKE A TWO YEAR OLD WHO NOT GETTING HIS WAY. *You* refused to work with a company, *you* got charged a VALID early cancelation fee. NOW *YOU* will have to swallow your pride, be nice to the company and work with them like they most likely were willing to do in the first place but *you* just did not want to listen.
    It all starts with *YOU*

  • Sh
      8th of May, 2009
    -1 Votes

    Thank you for referring to the Customer Agreement. The Customer Agreement explicitly states in the first foundational sentence:

    "This document describes the terms and conditions of your receipt and payment of DIRECT Service..."

    I did not recieve or pay for Directv DVR Service.

    Note "service" is not defined as you activating something, a card being put in a machine, me ordering, me receiving equipment, etc.. I read your agreements beforehand and before I opened the card, I then read the Customer agreement and saw that it clearly said it was valid for "service."

    Service is defined throughout the document as television programming.
    Please note Section 7, "DirecTV DVR Service:"
    "DIRECTV DVR Service gives you the ability to see and record televised programs."

    not defined as you activating something, or anything else.

    Your Customer Agreement has been described by your representatives as a valid and legal document and an accurate description of the relationship between you and prospective or current customers. Please let me know if it is not.

    Please note I never "cancelled" Directv DVR service, as I never recieved it, I simply did not wish to further attempt to obtain the service.

    Directv gave me ok service for 7 years. There are some things I liked, some things I didn't. I did like the music channels and some of the other channels. Comcast has their faults as well. I would consider them again at some point in the future for the right range of programming.
    Also, please identify yourself if you are a DIRECTV employee. thanks.

  • Re
      8th of May, 2009
    0 Votes

    HEY ### I am not a directv employee so for me to identify myself as one would be unlawful. so how dare you even say that I am and attempt to get me into leagle trouble for that, thats ### just because someone is a more educated directv customer then you are, you state they are an employee
    I am a directv customer sick of people like you giving them a bad name.
    ON THE BACK OF THE ACCESS CARD it says that by activating it you agree to the directv terms and conditions AND HEY THE ACCESS CARD WAS ACTIVATED THAT MEANS THE COMMITMENT IS VALID
    And I am glad that I am not a directv employee so I can tell you to F OFF because YOUR AND IDIOT. YOU GOT THE RECEIVER AND PROBABLY DIDNT HAVE TO PAY THE $99 FOR THE DVR!!! THE COMMITMENT IS VALID. Regardless if it did not work the way you wanted.
    I would never be a call center rep EVER because I could never deal with ignorant ###s like you everyday. I was just trying to be helpful and give you suggestions on some ways you may get some sort of a resolution!!! So if you dont want to take any advice fine, BUT DONT YOU EVEN DARE TRY AND GET ME INTO LEAGLE TROUBLE, WHICH IS WHAT WOULD HAPPEN, IF I EVER STATED THAT I WORK FOR DIRECTV, BECAUSE I DO NOT.

    p.s. Sir if you dont have the receivers anymore and you dont believe that the access card state that you agree to terms by activating it, go to Costco or best buy or somewhere that has their receivers on display and look at the access card on the back it says it. YOU ACTIVATED THE RECEIVER, THE COMMITMENT IS VALID!!! Regardless if you did not get the dvr service that you expected, you still apparently got the programing on it. Besides if you never activate the dvr services how do you expect the receiver to work correctly??? YOU ACTIVATED A DIRECTV ADVANCED PRODUCT, YOU WERE IN A 24 MONTH COMMITMENT!!!

  • Sh
      8th of May, 2009
    -1 Votes

    Thanks for the response,
    Again, the first foundational line of the Customer Agreement states that the terms and conditions are valid for "receipt and payment of DIRECTV Service"

    Again, I did not receive or pay for it.

    If that is not a true foundational statement, then the Customer Agreement is not a valid and legal document.

    I have a copy of the agreement on the back of the card and of course I read it and the customer agreement.

    In terms of service, the device would not connect and download from the satellite (we tried), despite it supposedly being "activated" (which I have no idea of that was done on their side). Never got a screen.

    That's not disputed by Directv (they record their tech support calls).

    Again, I had DIRECTV for 7 years (regular service), it was not bad. If you like baseball the MLB package is good and I liked the music channel (not MTV, the other one).

    my question: at what point is a company liable for your efforts to stop erroneous charges? (time, effort, mailing, etc..?) Anyone know? How much can you make an entity liable for this?

  • Ra
      11th of May, 2009
    +2 Votes

    Hi Shawnw

    I just wanted to say that i am having problems with Directv about the "contract" My complaint is that i did not receive a so called contract when the guy came to install my directv. I have politely requested Directv to send me a copy so that i could have it for my records. I basically believe i was told in the beginning that my contract was for 12 months, now suddenly i am being told it is 18 months so i said "ok, maybe i am mistaken, could you please send me a copy for my records so i have it in writing?"

    1st guy said ok, but they sent my the generic customer agreement which has absolutely no time frames on it
    2nd guy said are you crazy, do you have any idea how much paper we would have to store in order to keep all the contracts? to which i replied "so you are telling me that you have every single monthly statement of my direct tv bill but keeping the paper that confirms how many months i signed up for is too much paper?"
    3rd guy, supervisor said i will send it to you, but also sent me a generic customer agreement which has absolutely no time frames on it.

    I agree with you that DirecTv is a decent service as far as TV programming but their lack of communication and provision of paper agreements is shocking. Everything works great with DirecTv until you need to cancel for some reason or other. I guess that is what they are counting on...that folks won't need to cancel their service.

    It's incredible

  • Re
      11th of May, 2009
    +1 Votes

    You can see the terms of the directv customer agreement acording to the equipment you have on, at the bottom of the the page there is a part that says agreements the directv leased equipment addendum is what you are looking for the programing term is the part that your going to want to look at
    For a new DIRECTV customer, The programming package(s) must be maintained for a period of not less than twenty-four (24) consecutive months. For a current DIRECTV customer, the programming package(s) must be maintained for a period of not less than (a) twelve (12) consecutive months for accounts with only standard receiver(s), or (b) twenty-four (24) consecutive months for accounts with advanced product(s)/receiver(s) (DVR, HD, or HD DVR, including additional DIRECTV receiver(s)). After you have fulfilled the agreement to the required programming package(s), you are not obliged to continue your subscription to DIRECTV programming for any specific duration. Current DIRECTV customers may activate additional receivers with thier existing DIRECTV programming package. THIS AGREEMENT TO MAINTAIN PROGRAMMING IS SEPARATE AND DIFFERENT FROM ANY OTHER PROGRAMMING COMMITMENT YOU MAY HAVE MADE WITH DIRECTV AND IS FULLY ENFORCEABLE UNDER THESE TERMS
    Directv had 18 month agreements for a little while so if you signed up in 2208 or the beginning of 09 and you have only standard equipment you are most likely in a 18 month commitment. As far as I have been told and as far as the leased equipment addendum says, it is either 12 or 24 months now, this may have started in the beginning of the year 2009.

  • Ra
      14th of May, 2009
    0 Votes

    Thank you for the information, i did sign up in 2008 but that's exactly what i mean... i only have standard equipment. I did go back to look at the website after reading your post and trying to look again at the website, per your post "twelve (12) consecutive months for accounts with only standard receiver(s)" where does it say 18 and why is it so difficult to get something in writing that it is indeed 18, not 12, not 24? Ultimately i think i am just going to have to eat the cost of 18 months because i don't really want to fight it and lose money with no service. Seriously...what's to stop them from saying it is 24 months at the end of 18? I asked them that and they said "my computer says so" I understand their website is updated for new customers but "can't you print something, a screenshot...something?"..."no"

    I'm not trying to say that they are going to be unscrupulous but it just sounds like i'm leaving myself to be taken advantage of.

  • Ge
      14th of May, 2009
    0 Votes

    They most certainly will ignore your written request to disconnect and charge you until you catch them, 30 months in my case.

  • Re
      15th of May, 2009
    0 Votes

    Yeah I know what you mean, for some reason I dont think that they can send out something about the 18 month agreement, and that sucks. DO you by any chance have the paper work from the installer?? Maybe its lost in that paperwork somewhere, but they may have not left that behind, I dont know. But I do know, that as long as you dont get any new equipment, for any reason, you wont have another surprize of your comitment being 24 months, if you only have standard equipment the 18 month stays like that. (unfortunately for you, you just signed up and activated when the commitment was at 18 months)

  • Re
      15th of May, 2009
    0 Votes

    OH YEAH, most companies will only disconnect your account if you talk to them on the phone. I think its because a lot of information needs to be identified and there is some leagle information that they have to go over with you, I dont know, but I think Directv is one of those companies that you do you to talk to

  • Ca
      18th of May, 2009
    0 Votes

    I'm Carla Huston and I have been charged a cancellation fee and didn't sven sign up or request them to come out to my house. I only had them for three weeks, somebody is scamming me and I can't accept that. Read my summary.


  • Mr
      11th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    Shawn, contact the better business bureau AND the attorney general for your state. I'm going through something similar right now and both agencies are handling my case.

  • Da
      29th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    I have had service for 3 years. At the beginning of my service, I had a standard HD box. In march of 2008, that box went bad. So I called and asked for a replacement. I have the protection plan, so I thought it wasn't an issue. The problem cam in when they said that I could upgrade my HD box to an HD-DRV. I thought what the heck, why not. I asked if there would be an extention to my service. The person helping me said, no since this would be a replacemejnt piece of equipment, not adding another box. I thought that was cool.

    Now, here we are in June of 2009 and I want to cancel my service. I am now being told that adding the HD-DVR to my account, DID in fact extend my service for 2 years until March 2010.

    I am trying to dispute this. I have a case in with Directv, contacted the Better Business Bureau, and I will be contacing my Attouney General's office, as per some posters have suggested doing.

    Here is the response I received: (I had another receiver go bad two weeks ago and they admit the mistake they made to that problem, and that they should not have extened my contract then).

    Thanks for writing. I understand your concern with your programming agreement and I'm sorry to hear that you will be canceling your service. DIRECTV significantly discounts the price of equipment and installation so we ask customers to agree to a programming commitment of 12-24 months effective when they accept and activate service.

    Your DIRECTV equipment was activated on 03/04/08 and, per the terms of the offer you accepted, you agreed to a 24 month programming agreement which ends on 03/04/10. When you activated a replacement receiver on 06/10/09, the programming agreement on our computer screen was updated in error to 06/10/11.

    Based on that, I just wanted to let you know that we received your email and I have forwarded it for special handling. A specialist will respond as soon as an agent is available (likely within 48 hours). For immediate assistance, please call us at 1-800-531-5000.

    We take great care to ensure that the terms and conditions of our service, including programming agreements and early cancellation fees, are disclosed to each customer. Details about programming agreements and early cancellation fees are included in our advertising and point-of-sale materials. This information is also included in the confirmation letters sent by DIRECTV after you place an order for equipment and in the DIRECTV Equipment Lease Addendum, which is signed at the time of installation. For more information on programming agreements, please visit our website at Thanks again for writing and for allowing us to respond to you today.

    Sincerely, Rudilyn J. - 100240910
    DIRECTV Customer Service

  • He
      20th of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    I tried to cancel my directv service after 14 years of service and at first the person tried to overtalk me and try for me to stay. I told them I just called and want to cancel and to please tell me how to send the equip back. after a yelling match back and forth because they wouldn't allow me to cancel, they switched me to another dept. was put on hold for 20 min because they said I needed to talk to a supervisor to another cust serv rep. he told me he was a supervisor and could help me then he tried to charge me an enormous amt for cancellation fees $400. I told him I was not going to pay then he says he has to transfer me to a supervisor because he really wasnt a supervisor (so he lied) another person tells me oh no now I also have to pay for a 2 yr contract early cancellation fee I told them hey I had your svce for 14 yrs so that doesn't make sense then he tried to tell me that I also had to pay additional fees because when their service was down I had to call and complain and that is now going to be charged for their cust serv person to tell me to plug and unplug an will charge me additional chg for 14 yrs total chgs. Then they wanted to chg me for a receiver their cust svce dept sent because their equipment didn't work and couldn't upgrade their update system so to make a long story short. I would NOT recommend DirecTV to anyone. They must be hurting because it seems they try to rip off their customers. Sad to say because I thought that when economic times got better I might go back to them down the road but NO WAY after the way I was treated I would not have this SLIMY company back!

  • Go
      27th of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    Yea, Well, they just got me for $380.00 but the good news is they can't bill my credit card because I switched banks a year ago. So they will have to bill me and they will only get $10.00 a month. But sooner or later they will go under or the FCC will start looking into them.

  • In
      18th of Aug, 2010
    0 Votes

    Stay away from Direct TV!! They are scam artists and they did the same thing to us. They quoted us one price over the phone and our first bill was triple (3X) the price they quoted over the phone!! When I called them they told me I should have read the contract. When I asked "what contract", they said the one I signed after the installer completed the installation. I told them I thought it was a work-order they said I should have read the fine type on the back. I was then charged $450.00 for early termination. That was over 2 years ago and I am still receiving phone calls and letters from Collection Agencies. My credit was over 800 points before this incident and it has since dropped over 100 points because of this one issue with Direct TV. Stay away fom them unless you have extyra money to burn.

  • Fb
      14th of Dec, 2010
    0 Votes

    I signed up for directv's basic package for only 30 a month, first bill comes in the mail stating i owe 70 somehow. i called them and stated over and over again that i only wanted the cheap basic package, and never agreed to their "plus" package. After 3 phone calls they reduced my bill to 50 which was still 20 higher than i ever intended on paying. 6 months pass and i decide i have had enough of giving them my money for service that was spotty at best so i cancel. The lady said cancellation fee was a total of 340, then i agree to cancel with the fee of 340. Next thing i know it says i owe 420 because they added on cancellation fees to their cancellation fee. Unfortunately, disputing it gets you nowhere because they just state they are sorry for the misunderstanding and make excuses for the first price being told to me. And if i would not pay the fee they will just turn it over to a collection agency and [censored] my credit royally. All in all, just an awful company who does not deliver what they say they will, overcharges, uses their corporate power and leverage against the "little guy", and preys on consumers with their "legal contract" that you sign up for with extremely small fine print. Avoid them and their contracts at all cost!

  • Ub
      19th of May, 2011
    0 Votes

    Failure to perform constitutes a breach of contract, as would unilaterally increasing your rate. Consequently, you are entirely within your rights to revoke the balance of the contract, which, by their own actions, is null and void. These other comments about how you have to pay and be nice to them are written by company shills. Don't buy it. Take them to small claims court. The filing fee is nominal.

  • De
      29th of Jun, 2011
    0 Votes

    We are goping thru the same thing. 10 yrs with Directv. Kept getting special offers in the mail (weekly). Called several times. Reps said that was only for new customer & THEY suggested we go to AT&T & maybe they could bundle a better price with Directv. Well AT&T gave us a better price with Uverse. We called Directv to cancel & you guessed it, a 140 early cancellation fee. They said the DVR box we bought 18 months ago started a new 24 month contact. Funny thing is they raised our rates a couple of months ago. When I brought this to the C/S reps attention, he stated the conttract allows them to raise rates & only is to keep the customer from leaving. I asked what was in it for the customer, he said we get a list of programming with the contract?? What? Got the standard email saying they have to have the 24 month contact to cover the cost of the box, what the one I paid for??

  • Ub
      29th of Jun, 2011
    0 Votes

    I contacted the Cali Att'y. Gen'l.'s office, the BBB, and the local county Consumer Fraud Division. They withdrew their claim within a week. DirecTV just settled a multi-million dollar consumer fraud case with the A.G. here in Cali. To reiterate, a contract that gives one party the right to unilaterally raise rates is no contract at all and is unenforceable. If more consumers stood up to these thieves they wouldn't be so brazen.

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