Basically the same thing happened to me. I had a two-year contract. Reception on my new plasma TV was always marginal at best with Direct TV service. I now have cable service and it is fine.
After 13 months of complaining and many wasted hours of written and phone contacts with Direct TV customer service, I recently cancelled my contract. They billed my credit card $125 for an early cancellation fee.
I was surprised as well to find out the equipment I got from Best Buy was a lease not a purchase.
I also found out that the original agreement that I signed (that the Direct TV installer required before he would do anything) had a fine print clause that said that any non-resolvable issues could be settled only by binding arbitration. I have since discovered that there is a mandatory $125 application fee to request a hearing for binding arbitration.
This company obviously knows how to stack the deck. This entire nightmare has cost me about $1000, about 50 hours of wasted time, personal embarrassment with family and friends, and confrontation with my condo association and neighbors for improper installation of the dish that Direct TV had installed, etc, etc..
All of the customer service reps I spoke with had been trained to read from a script. They offered the same canned responses. They could not give you the name of a supervisor or connect you to one. Their mailing address they post for customer service is a dead letter office. There is no reply or record kept of your correspondence.
After I cancelled my service I was told that they only installed dishes, they did not remove dishes. I had to call around and eventually pay to have someone to get the dish removed from my roof.
I will never recommend Direct TV to anyone. I am surprised that a company this size can remain in business with such disregard for customer satisfaction. I am planning to write a detailed letter to the editor of our local newspaper to request my concerns be printed to help warn the public.
Product or Service Mentioned: Directv Tv Service.