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I would like to express my astonishment at the behavior of DirecTV as a corporate citizen. Here's my story. Last year, my wife and I decided to move out West and live in our Motor home while we tested a few areas that we might want to move to permanently (in particular, Montana – where I grew up - in the summer and Arizona in the winter). During the process, we purchased (or thought we had) a DirecTV receiver at Camping World here in Tampa where we live. We paid something like $80 for the device, since we already had an antenna that we had used for their service a few years ago.

I called DirecTV up to activate their service, which was where I first got confused. I had already hooked up the receiver in my motor home and just needed to set up an account. Whoever I had on the phone to activate the account took care of everything. We received the signal and everything was cool. A couple of days later, I received a call from them saying they wanted to schedule the installation. I informed them that I had installed everything myself and everything was working fine. They could not understand how that was possible, but ultimately accepted that it was true and cancelled the installation, "graciously" waiving the installation fee (at least that's how I remember it).

We used the unit for 6 months while we were out West, testing life in both Montana and Arizona. Our decision to return to Tampa had nothing to do with DirecTV, but once we returned, the fun really started. When I called up to cancel the account, I was informed that I would have to pay a cancellation fee and return the receiver that I had bought at Camping World. After a 1-hour back and forth discussion about the situation, they informed me that although I thought I had purchased the unit, I had actually only leased it for that price and I would have to keep it until the lease expired (something like 2 ½ more years) and that if I wanted to buy it, it would cost much more (on top of the cancellation fee, so if I bought the silly thing, I would not have been able to use it anyway!). Since I was very busy with a lot of stuff having to do with relocating my business back to my house in Tampa and I could not find a better solution, I suspended my service with DirecTV.

Six months later DirecTV automatically reactivated the service, since that was the maximum duration they allowed for a suspension. When I received the bill which was for the services which I was not using, I went online and reduced the service to the minimum ($29 / month) thinking that I could pay that amount until my "lease" expired and pay less than for the device. The next month, we received the bill for around $50 which included a "Home service" charge (who knows what that means).

My wife then called and, after spending another hour on the phone with their customer service finally got them to agree to cancel the service (with a $120 cancellation fee) as long as we sent the unit we "leased" back.

I can only say that in my many experiences with the customer service departments of many organizations, I am astonished at what DirecTV considers customer service. I can also report that I will never again avail myself of their services and recommend that anyone who so desires consult a lawyer to read the "fine print" on their "purchase" and/or service agreement.

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