Minneapolis, Minnesota
Not resolved

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.

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Thank you skurno. Persistance did pay off.

I was successful getting my contract ended after writing to Ellen Filipiak at the above address you supplied. Be aware however that you must have a valid reason for getting out. More than a desire or financial difficulties will be needed. I don't think that persistance alone would have worked.

I did not talk to Ms. Filipiak, but rather an underling on the Customer Advocate Team, as they call it. I reached them by writing a letter describing the situation to her. Then, they contacted me by phone.

I had a strong case still it took a lot of fighting on my part. It seems DTV tries to *** out weak claims by making the process long and arduous. They are not about making it easy to get out of contracts even when they are clearly in the wrong. The old saying, "The customer is always right" is not the operating montra at DTV.

Also, it probably helps to have a good payment history with them in order to win points in the negatiations. Also, I maintained the position that I was happy with the service, technically, but I did not appreciate being lied to. They did admit there is a 'paper trail' of every contact including phone calls. The rep promised he would track down the person who lied to me and correct the problem.

I don't know what really goes on there but I have a feeling that salesman have numeric goals they must achieve and some will lie to get there; perhaps under threat of termination. That would explain a lot. One more thing, I was told that customers can't avoid a contract unless they purchace a receiver that has been activated in the past at least once. So if you are considering buying a receiver on ebay to avoid having to take a contract, be sure that receiver is not new; i.e., it has been activated at least once.

Then all you have to buy is the magnetic card from DTV which is about $20. Avoid DTV contracts like the plague.


Direct TV

Corporate Office

Ms. Ellen Filipiak

Sr. VP, Customer Care

2230 East Imperial Highway

El Segundo, CA 90245

Direct TV "hides" this address but I found it! Bombard Ms. Filipiak with your complaints! Maybe, just maybe, they will realize JUST HOW BAD their service is and make changes. They hire and train people to be TOTALLY INCOMPETENT and then tie to you exorbitant contracts when they fail to provide the type of service that is expected.

If the industries won't police themselves, we, as consumers, have an obligation to. Also, contact your local Consumer Protection Agency (listed on County Gov't websites) with your complaints. These "monopolies" are ILLEGAL and the Consumer has to stand up for their rights.


DTV has for over a little over a month(the latter part of Sept.) and numerous calls, provided shoddy and unreliable service, citing downloading issues with the specific receiver issued to me about 6 yrs ago...They wanted to charge me for the service call, and insist I pay for this substandard service. I was advised due to the inability of this outdated receiver to sit in front of this receiver and every 15-30min.

choose the do not download option on the remote,(mind you) the system is incapable of downloading this new software. ...And guess what; now we have to pay for TV!