Direct TV's advertising has in the FINE print on the BACK side of their flyers that the equipment lease term is for 2 years. However, they do not mention this to you on the phone AT ALL.
I have a 1-year lease at my new house. I would never, never sign up for a 2-year TV contract. In fact, I wouldn't sign up for a 1-year contract either. But they slipped in this contract, which the installers brought to my house with them to have me sign, without any explanation. The contract reads "Lease Agreement", not "2-Year Lease Agreement", conveniently... and DECEPTIVELY.
It was pouring down rain, windy and cold on the day of my installation. The installers were dripping in my doorway, so I didn't want to keep them any longer. I assumed the business of pricing negotiations and terms was already handled when I paid for my service subscription on the phone in advance of the install. The installers did not bother to explain the paperwork they asked me to sign. And I didn't bother to take the 30 minutes it would have required me to read it. I had already spent that 30 minutes and more on the phone doing precisely that when I paid for service.
Furthermore, I did believe I was leasing the equipment. But not for two years. Most cable/satellite TV companies make you "lease" their equipment month-to-month, without penalty of cancellation, as long as you return the equipment when you're finished with your service. So, when I read the title of the paperwork I signed, I assumed that's what it meant. I just wanted to get these dripping wet guys out of the cold rain and out of my doorway.
When I couldn't view my picture on my entire TV screen, I called DTV customer service for help. I called at least 3 times a week for the first two weeks of my service, without any knowledge of a contract. When they, and I, finally figured out that they couldn't make their service work with my TV, I informed them I wanted to cancel my service. That's when they informed me I had a 2-year contract! I was shocked! But even more shocked at their cancellation fee of $480! "For what?", I thought. Here DTV's service had cost ME money for two weeks with all my time and energy in phone calls to their service department... all the while I didn't even get to use their service in the way I had paid to do because I couldn't get a full picture on my TV!!
I explained to them that MOST cable/satellite tv providers offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and that I had only had service (OR LACK THEREOF) for 2 weeks. They told me they don't have a guarantee for their service! It is now obvious to me that Direct TV prefers to keep you in a 2-year contract even if you are an UNHAPPY CUSTOMER WHO CAN'T VIEW THEIR SERVICE in the first place!!! Preposterous!
Of course, this was all planned in advance by Direct TV. If they had wanted consumers to know about the 2-year contract, they would put it on the front of their advertisements to make it obvious and CLEAR to consumers... and to PREVENT these nasty situations in the first place.
Does Direct TV really profit more from getting our cancellation fees than our potential "good customer service" reviews and thus longer-term profits in the end??? Direct TV, don't you know that customers are loyal, if you're up-front and honest with them! It's when you try to fraud them into 2-year contracts that they leave anyway and tell the world exactly how you pissed the off! Customer Service 101 taught us all that.
Yes, I sent them a 3-page letter, which, of course, they never responded to... but that's just "par-for-the-course" customer service from Direct TV. Instead, they did as they've done to so many other NOW FORMER CUSTOMERS and charged the credit card I had on file... WITHOUT FIRST SENDING ME AN INVOICE FOR THE $480 CANCELLATION FEE. Isn't that illegal? Aren't any lawyers interested in doing a class-action lawsuit on these swines???
Good thing American Express is a GREAT COMPANY and credited me that cancellation fee right back immediately with NO questions asked! Perhaps they've been through this before with Direct TV.... Hmmmm.... Makes you wonder!
Now I have to find out what's going to happen to my credit when I ignore their collection agency letters. I would attempt to communicate with Direct TV again, but I've tried that. I get no response. How surprising. I guess the only thing left to do is to go to the media with all of our stories. I'm game.
Product or Service Mentioned: Directv Tv Service.