Consumer Complaints Against DIRECTV lead to $14 million Settlement

DirecTV complaintsDIRECTV, one of the most complained-about companies in the country, has reached a settlement with all 50 states and the District of Columbia on a variety of consumer protection issues, including its notorious cancellation penalties.

The company has agreed to pay about $14 million and abide by a collection of rules of conduct for how it will treat its customers.Curiously, the settlement comes almost exactly five years after a 22-state settlement was reached with DIRECTV over similar accusations. Complaints against the company have mounted in recent years, with more than 41,000 complaints processed just by the Better Business Bureau over the past three years.

The latest round of state actions started exactly one year ago when Washington's Attorney General sued DIRECTV. Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna's office said the 2,000 complaints against the company made it the single largest source of complaints.

Washington settled its case separate from the collective settlement with other states, but with largely the same terms and a $1 million payout to McKenna's office. DIRECTV, as is customary in settlements, admitted no wrongdoing.

"Under our settlement, DIRECTV agrees to disclosures that will help consumers know exactly what they're signing up for so that there are no painful surprises," McKenna said in a statement.

The company took an upbeat approach to reaching the settlements.

"DIRECTV has worked hand-in-hand with the Attorneys General to formalize many of the customer improvements we have made over the past few years and are pleased to have come to this agreement," Mike White, chairman, president and CEO of DIRECTV, said in a statement. "DIRECTV is committed to always operating with the highest standards of integrity and will move forward with continued dedication to providing the best video experience possible for our customers."

The settlements are supposed to end the long-vilified DIRECTV policy of imposing hundreds of dollars in cancellation penalties even if the reason for the customer canceling was due to the inability to receive a DIRECTV signal.

Refunds for certain complaints will handled by the states. Generally, they would be given to those who have lodged formal complaints with an attorney general's office. It may still be possible to file a complaint for a past issue you've had with DIRECTV.

According to Washington officials, here are some of the agreed-upon policies:

  • Cancellation Fees: DIRECTV will not impose a cancellation fee on a consumer who ends service because of a recurring problem that can't be fixed.
  • Advertising and Sales Disclosures: The company must clearly disclose the cost of the service, the contract length, additional charges for HD or DVR equipment, cancellation penalties, whether a promotional price is conditional on a rebate, whether an offer requires a particular payment, and other pertinent details. Extremely important disclosures, such as the requirement for a rebate, the required term of the consumer's commitment and the period the promotional price will be charged, must be disclosed in direct proximity to the price itself.
  • Contract Changes: DIRECTV can't require consumers to enter into a new or extended contract when simply replacing or repairing defective equipment. If a service upgrade or other change by a consumer requires a new or additional term of commitment, DIRECTV must first obtain the consumer's consent to enter into a new or extended contract.
  • Rebates and Promotional Offers: DIRECTV must disclose whether a rebate is required to obtain the promotional price. If the consumer's first bill does not reflect the price agreed to at the time of sale, DIRECTV must either provide that price or cancel the contract without penalty, if requested.

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Virginia Ginger Gedd

I'm just thouroughly disgusted they charge u for a relocation fee at DirecTV , & the installing company nails u for installation & a 7 foot pole . Only to have 2 feet buried in Florida sand. Cost me $130 to move my dish 6 feet from my roof to a pole. Believe me use a different service I have been a customer since 1996 & this is how they treat me. Disgusting.

August 27 2014 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen Low Anderson

Directv is still violating the terms of the agreement spelled out in the article. I just found out they extended my contract another 2 years after a new box was ordered because of a faulty box that did not work. I was hit with bogus "early" cancelation fees after I honored a 2 year contract. I also got 2 rate increases in the last year. My bill almost doubled. This company is very unethical. Their rep told me they would take whatever fees they wanted out of my account and there was nothing I could do. I filed a complaint with the BBB. The scary thing is my husband is battling aggressive prostate cancer and I am praying Directv leaves enough for his medical care this month and next.

August 25 2014 at 8:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Nothing has changed. I was actually told by their manager Dan that it would be in my best interest to cancel my services because I couldn't have it installed at my apartment. I told him I like Direct TV and I didn't want to cancel I just wanted another 6 month hold put on my account so that I could fulfill my agreement when I moved. I was also told six months ago to call back and get an extension and that it would be no problem. They told me that they couldn't offer me anything better than a 280 cancellation fee ant that was my best option. What kind of company actually tells its customers to leave? Or lies to their customers for that matter...

May 31 2014 at 6:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have had cable for a long time but I've never had any issues. Occasionally we get a storm that comes through and disrupts our signal, but that's nothing to complain about. I wonder what most of these people were complaining about.

May 07 2014 at 9:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We took advantage of a bundle package with AT&t and Direct. AT&T was unable to provide Internet service and thus we thought released us from our contract obligation. No so according to Direct and AT & T. AT&T wanted $400 to cancel the contract on my 88 year old mom's little flip phone. Direct reduced our payment slightly but we ended up paying almost the same amount without Internet.

Direct service hasn't been all that bad but TV goes off three to five times a day and has to be reset. Takes about five minutes to come back on.

The claim local weather is available. I don't see how they can get away with calling it that because you only get the highs and lowes for the week.. No local radar.

The claim that programing doesn't go out in bad weather. It went out as a tornado was approaching our town last night.

Gone are the days when the customer was right. It seems that most of today's national and international companies are designed to cheat their own customers. I think a $5000 fine is in order for each offence. Shame on them.

April 29 2014 at 6:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yes- They give you free bonus channels for 3 months & if you don't want to pay $48.00 afterwards, you have to tell them.. Of course, "Mr. Slick" the salesman goes right by that !! They have overcharged me almost $450.00 for a service I didn't want or used.. You have to file a complaint with the FCC & write to them directly..

April 26 2014 at 4:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I got service through a rep at Costco, and this has been nothing but a nightmare since day one.. So I cancelled my service whithin 24 hours, they said I wouldn't get charged anything, then come to find out they had charged my credit card for $73! I was so mad because first I never authorized them to automatically deduct anything from my account, when I first signed up they do ask for a credit card but they say its only for verification purposes and they would charge only $1 dollar to it.. now they are saying that when they get the card its for automatic bill pay.. I told them to delete my card from their system since I never authorized them to do that and even the manager says they cant! wtf is wrong with these people.. its has been lies afer lies after lies since day one... now Im waiting for them to send me some boxes they said they would send so that I can return the equipment and it has been over two weeks and nothing, and theyre saying if they don't get the equipment whithin 21 days they are going to charge my card again!! I think the only solution to this is to cancel my card so that they cant steel money from me anymore, and I'll make sure to stay far far away from this company, they are a bunch of lying crooks

March 23 2014 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Justin L Prince

Just FYI, I know this report is old (dated 2010) but Direct TV hasn't changed. You would be better off chewing your arm off then dealing with them. Stay clear.

March 22 2014 at 9:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Paul Alexander

HELP ,why does directtv promote bullying deformed person in their ,"FATTY FACE," COMMERCIAL. this is totally wrong,WORST THAN PAULA DEAN AND PHIL ROBERTSON COMBINED

January 06 2014 at 11:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tatiana Kathryn

Okay so we are brand new customers to direct T.V. Today was our first day we had everything installed. We soon found out everything the representative said was a COMPLETE lie to get us to sign up. He said he reduced the price for this and that however....we were supposed to receive it all for free. Than once we called direct T.V. they said they no longer can give it to us because they had already left and completed the installation. They said we would get the NFL Sunday Ticket for free but they lied. They said the cord to run to our bedroom was free but they lied it is $45 dollars up front. The package online says we were supposed to receive a DVR of free however we did not they said we would now have to pay for it. We are very very very angry and now considering they come and remove everything today and switching to Comcast.

October 22 2013 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply