I purchased a bundle of services that included DirectTV in 2007. It included a contract for 18 months and I signed it. The service was good; good channels, good reception, no problems. Then, about a year later, I had some roofing work done and the dish became miss-aligned. I called DTV for service and they said it would be $40 for them to come out and re-align it. The salesman suggested an alternative; for only $15 they would replace the dish with a high def one and that would restore my service. I told him that I did not have a high def display. He said, "it doesn't matter, it works the same, plus if you do get a high def display later then you would be ready for it." I asked him if there was any monthly charge for that. He said, "No".
Well, I'm no genius but $15 sounds a lot better than $40, so I ordered the high def upgrade. The install occurred about a month later. There was no new contract to sign, and everything seemed fine. I did not realize that I had fallen into a trap.
About 2 months later I noticed an extra $5 charge recurring for HD service. I called to complain. The representative apologized and removed the $5/month charge. Again, I thought all was good.
About 9 months later, I had lost my job, and I figured that my original 18-month contact was done 2 months earlier. Since I was paying nearly $100/month for TV, I decided I could not afford that luxury while out of work.
Ya, you guessed it. I called to cancel my service and got quite a shock. They said that my commitment was not finished and was actually increased to 24 months. I learned only then it reset to a new full contract at the time of the HD dish install. Furthermore, if I canceled, I would be charged $20/month with no TV service until the end of this new "˜surprise' contract.
I explained that I never agreed to that. That I did not sign any new contract, and was never informed a new contract was started. They said, "It doesn't matter…we consider a verbal contract as fully enforceable even when the details of that contract were not discussed." HUH? SAY WHAT?
Well, to make a long story short. I have been fighting with them for 2 months now to get out of that contract. I wrote a letter of complaint to DTV. Then I filed it with the BBB. Still, DTV is holding fast; they won't let me out of it. They did give me another $10 off my bill for the next 6 months, but that is not the point. I took it because I need every dollar I can get right now. I dropped my service to the minimum plan, $30/month ($15 for 6 months), but my channel selection now is, well, less than stellar.
DirectTV's sales practices are cruel and fraudulent. Trapping people in long contracts without their knowledge is wrong. I'm not sure what I can do now except put this warning out everywhere I can. I think I'll try my State Attorney General's office too. If you must use DTV, get your own receiver first. DO NOT enter into any contracts with them.
Product or Service Mentioned: Directv Tv Service.