I have an existing AT&T account for internet. I also have a separate AT&T account for five cell phones, and services at other homes. I do approximately $500 per month of business with AT&T and DTV on my other accounts and homes.
One day recently, an AT&T salesman knocked on my door. My son answered. The man said that they were updating the internet lines in the neighborhood, and since they were in the neighborhood and my house was already wired, that they could add DirecTV to my internet for free. They told my son that the price for combined internet and TV would be the same as what I am paying now for internet ($40/month plus tax) and that after two years the price would go up by only $10 to $50/month.
My son called me (I was out of town). He explained the deal and I told him that it did not sound right. He put the AT&T man on the phone (who was standing there listening to our conversation). He said, “I know that you are skeptical,” but he assured me that it was exactly as my son explained it. He then repeated the deal to me: $40/month for combined internet and TV, the same as I am paying now, price locked in for two years, then it goes up to $50 per month. I asked again and he explained that there were no other hidden costs. I understood this to be the internet-version of DirecTV, which I had seen advertised, and that it would be added to my existing AT&T internet account. I agreed over the phone to the $40 per month deal for combined internet and TV. I verbally agreed to this and only this and nothing else. I did not sign any contract, nor did I consent for my son to sign any contact on my behalf.
Unknown to me, the man installed a Direct TV satellite dish and a converter box, opened a new DirecTV account, and signed me up for an expensive plan with a 2-year commitment. I was unaware of this until a bill arrived two weeks later. This was a new bill separate from my existing internet account, billing me $82.93 just for the TV, and with substantial price increases triggered at 3 months and 12 months. I did not agree to this and did not authorize this.
The next day, I called the AT&T customer service number, spent 2 hours on the phone and spoke to four different people: 2 customer service reps, an account retention specialist, and the account retention specialist's supervisor. I got no satisfaction. I was told that I had a 2-year commitment and if I cancelled there would be a $480 cancellation fee. They refused to waive the fee because “there is a signed contact,” which was apparently signed by my son (the AT&T salesman did not leave us with a copy, and if he sent an email he did not send it to me the account holder).
I immediately canceled the service anyway. I also stated my objections, which I repeat here 1) I did not sign a contact, 2) I did not authorize my son or anyone else to sign a contract on my behalf, 3) I did not under any circumstances agree to the equipment or service that was installed, 4) the salesman blatantly lied to us and committed fraud upon us. For these reasons, I requested that this be immediately rectified via cancellation of the account with no cost to me. In spite of this, they refused to waive the cancellation fee, and indicated there would be additional fees if I did not uninstall the equipment myself and return it.
Although I have never seen the alleged contract, I know that it is legally invalid, since my name is on the account, and my signature is not on the contract. A contract where the name of the contracted parties does not match the name of the signatories will not stand up in any court of law.
This is a clear case of fraud committed by a representative of DirecTV and AT&T. As a long-time customer, I am deeply disappointed if AT&T and DTV think it is alright to have this kind of unethical sales person represent their company. Therefore, I am reporting this fraud to the appropriate authorities. I am also reporting my experience on all available social media, in hopes that other potential customers may avoid this unethical company.
Product or Service Mentioned: Directv Customer Care.
Reason of review: Fraudulent sales practice.
I didn't like: Fraudulent salesman, Unethical customer service.