Early Cancellation Penalties.

Mhs1443

DTVUSA Rookie
#1
I had DTV installed last December- 1 HD DVR and 2 standard receiver and was very happy with the results.

During this past summer, the heavy rains we experience here in South Florida caused so many episodes of lost service, that it became evident that satellite just wouldn't work for me.

Since I signed up for a very good deal, I knew I had a cancellation fee of "Up to $480.00". I was willing to pay what ever was due after almost 1 year of service.

When I contacted them to cancel, they informed me that since I had switched one of my standard receivers for a HD receiver back in July, my contract was automatically extened for another two years. This meant my cancellation fee was now almost the maximum $480.00.

I actually bought the HD box at Best Buy, in the interest of time, based on a suggestion from the DTV customer service people. I called DTV to give them the number and get it activated.

At no time in any conversation did anyone even mention the 2 year contract extension. If they did, i never would have agreed.

Cell Phone companies used to sneak this by their customers, until they finally had enough complaints from various agencies, and now go out of their way to get your approval foe an extension.

Anyone have any ideas?

I've already paid the bill, as i really don't need the hassles. Now it's a matter of principal.

Thanks in advance for any input.
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#2
I remember reading some discussions about this in the past; if I remember correctly, the provision that restarts your contract period is in your current contract. That's why it wouldn't normally come up when you make changes; the condition was already provided to you in written form. At least as far as I remember.
 

Mhs1443

DTVUSA Rookie
#3
I'm sure it was. It was also in the cellular carriers contracts.

But the courts ruled that it wasn't reasonable to expect customers to remember all the fine print of their contracts. They ruled that the cellular carriers had an obligation to "remind" the customers when they were going to automatically extend a contract because of any change the customer was going to make.

The DTV people themselves told me on the phone today that their customer service person was supposed to notify me of this when I called to change the convertor, and they are sure she did.

I know she didn't, but trying to prove this is virtually impossible.

As I said, I've already paid because I'm obligated by the contract to do so. But i still feel it's a sleazy way to do business.

Eventually, it will catch up with them, as it did with the cellular carriers. They had to issue millions in refunds when the court ruled against them.
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#4
But the courts ruled that it wasn't reasonable to expect customers to remember all the fine print of their contracts.
Read the rulings you're referring to very closely and see if it actually covers your situation, and then have your lawyer contact DirecTV with the details.
 

Mhs1443

DTVUSA Rookie
#5
Read the rulings you're referring to very closely and see if it actually covers your situation, and then have your lawyer contact DirecTV with the details.
You're missing my point. I have no intention of starting any legal action. Quite frankly, it isn't worth the time or money.

My point is that this is just bad business practice. Eventually it will catch up with them.

It is "Caveat Emptor". I wasn't and I paid for it.

I learned my lesson, and have paid in full.
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#6
It is easy to say that it is a bad business practice that will eventually catch up with them, but there are loads of examples of folks saying something like that a decade or two ago, yet they're still successfully engaging in the same business practices.

Best of luck.
 

Mazr

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#7
eafilipiak@directv.com (Ellen Filipiak, Senior Vice President of Customer Relations)

The above person is who I emailed regarding my problem.

Call #1: We cancelled and were told it would be a 120.00 early cancellation fee. Fine, no prob.

Call #2: Next statement arrives with a $300 charge to our CC. Told that is a standard charge until they receive our converter boxes. Fine. We had already sent the boxes back.

Call #3: About 10 days later my wife checks our CC and the 300 is still not off our card. We are told that since our account is "cancelled" the money cannot be credited, it will have to be a check from the billing department (?.. interesting, they can charge the card, but not credit it) And for our trouble, they will credit us an extra 100. 6-8 weeks for the check is what we are told.

Call #4: Last Thursday, we receive ANOTHER billing statement (this is about 8.5 weeks from when we were supposed to receive a check) with the extra 100 credited to us a week ago. Now remember, this was 8.5 weeks after we were told that 100 would be credited to us and the check's in the mail. Talked to billing who said that since the last activity on the account was a week ago, it would be another 6-8 weeks until we could get the check. I'm very close to blowing my stack at this point. I explain to the billing rep this is not acceptable and I'll have to find a way to get this resolved on my own.

I sent an email to the above address last Thursday afternoon. About 2 hours later, we receive a call from corporate saying the 300 will be credited to our CC by next Wed (we'll be checking) and they can't quite understand why we were told some of these reasons regarding the crediting process.

The thing is we loved DirecTV, we just weren't watching it enough to justify the cost. If and when we go back to cable or satellite, we'll think long and hard regarding DirecTV. This process really soured me.
 
Last edited:

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#8
Though: It is important to note that there are billing horror stories, for all service providers. While many may perhaps be substantially fabricated or exaggerated, it is clear that billing irregularities do happen, and if there is any bias between the service providers in that regard, Verizon probably takes the "prize" for the worst billing nightmares.
 

Orrymain

, Blogger: Orry's Orations
#9
If you have a lawyer, use them. If not, a) call the CEO of the company. Forget the little guys, jump to the big one. If that doesn't work, call your local TV station's consumer advocacy program (most all have them).
 

Mazr

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#10
"I sent an email to the above address last Thursday afternoon. About 2 hours later, we receive a call from corporate saying the 300 will be credited to our CC by next Wed (we'll be checking) and they can't quite understand why we were told some of these reasons regarding the crediting process."

And to their credit, our CC was credited the 300 on Monday. Too bad it took almost three months for it to happen.
 
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