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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Darl Garrison

I signed up for direct tv in August 2015. I had to always unplug my receiver and plug back in to get it to work for a few hours. I finally called in December to have it fixed. Someone came out to replace equipment. I was told over the phone while scheduling the appointment there would be no charge for the repair. He immediately told me there would be an $800 charge to replace equipment. I had to speak with the techs office on his cell phone to explain I would not be paying for the new equipment. They verified I did have a warranty and agreed that there wouldn't be a charge. Equipment was replaced. My contract WAS RESET TO THAT DATE now I am under contract from December not August. About 45 days later I was charged $817.44 to my debit card they had on file to pay my monthly bill. I called to dispute the charge after about an hour on the phone she agreed this was made in error and assured me I would be reimbursed within five business days. Five days went by with no reimbursement I called several times and finally about three hours later a "supervisor" assured me I would have my money within seven business days. on the fifth day I did receive reimbursement for about $750 dollars. I then emailed corporate stating the facts and that I would like out of my contract. I received a phone call the next day. He denied any wrong doing and that its totally within reason that I was charged this amount and that all I had to do was call and I "got my money back didn't I". By the way my equipment still doesn't work. How do I get rid of these criminals and when I cancel what are the steps to disputing their charges for breaking the contract????

Sunday at 1:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tiffany Funk

My husband and I had changed to DirecTV a year ago when our contract with Charter ran out. I had used them in the past and enjoyed their service. In July we had the awesome opportunity of purchasing a new home and called to have our services moved. They then quoted a large fee to have our services moved. I told the CSR that we could not afford that and to go ahead and just cancel our services. I was then quoted a hefty cancellation fee. I was infuriated. The guy on the phone then tells me that after we move we could call them and tell them we decided to keep our service and they would forego the cancellation fee. They made us so angry that we (hubby and I) decided that we would not give DirecTV any more of our money and we went back to Charter who did not charge us to move our internet and phone services. Someone from the DirecTV sales department had the audacity to call my husband on several occasions to convince him to return to DirecTV and promising to remove the cancellation fee. This really infuriates me. We feel like this is DirecTV's way of strong arming people in order to get as much money as they can. If they would have just moved our services without the fee in the first place, we would still be with them. But for them to threaten hefty fees unless we comply and then promising to remove those fees if we comply is a way of manipulating customers into complying to their unreasonable demands. We ended up paying over $400. We told them that we could not pay it all at once and offered to make a payment arrangements. I asked them if we could set up monthly payments. They told me that they could not because we were no longer customers. Well, I paid them what I could and they accepted those payments. I have friends who are attorneys and I was told that if they accepted even only $1 a month, then by them accepting that $1 is a contractual agreement to accept $1 a month. Well, we paid more than the $1. We were paying $50 a month. They still sent us to their internal collection department even though we were paying on a consistent basis. In December we still owed $200 and my husband was told that if we did not pay by the end of the month our account was being sent to a collection agency and would be put on our credit report. We were very good customers and always paid our bill on time until we were given a cancellation fee of over $300. This is ridiculous and they should not be allowed to even operate in this country. Someone needs to take their business license away and not allow them to swindle the American citizens this way. They have infuriated me and I will never do business with them. I will go without TV before I ever use DirecTV.

January 27 2016 at 11:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Traci LeMaster

Directv irritates me to no end. They started with lies and are trying to end with lies. I have a complaint in with the Attorney General in the State of Iowa currently. I wish I would have found this information previously to prove to them that I am not the only one they are corrupting. If this doesn't help, I will be filing a small claims in the State of Iowa and sending all information to the BBB at the same time. They violate American morals on a daily basis to make their huge profits. I will not let it rest. I plan to let everyone I can know that this company is dishonest by creating a Against Directv sticker and fliers and until I win my money back I will make it a life mission. They truly do not know who they are messing with, in my opinion.

January 24 2016 at 8:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kelli Young

Actual Directv Chat Session
Queenie G. (ID 100788963) (01/15/2016 07:10 AM)
Hi, my name is Queenie G. (ID 100788963). How are you today?
FONTAIN HAYNES: PISSED!!
Queenie G. (ID 100788963): Hi Fontain, I am sorry if you feel that way in this very morning
Queenie G. (ID 100788963): I got your message here about the payments that were not posted on the account.
Queenie G. (ID 100788963): I am willing to check this for you.
Queenie G. (ID 100788963): Can I have the details when and where did you processed the payment Fontain?
FONTAIN HAYNES: yeah well dealing with ******** like the ones Ive dealt with for the past 2 days trying to understand why a Directv Supervisor would take my cc and debit card info - charge them - then turn my service on only to 1 TV - I call back and there's no record of me making any payments nor speaking to a Supervisor.
Queenie G. (ID 100788963): I am sorry if you felt that way Fontain, I am willing to help you here, I have checked the notes and yesterday you talked to our Supervisor regarding on the same concern.
Queenie G. (ID 100788963): I am now checking the notes here about the payment made last 01/13.
Queenie G. (ID 100788963): To confirm, the payment made last 01/13 was processed through online and your wife made it, right?
FONTAIN HAYNES: yeah well according to your notes - there is no record of payment - is it there now - do you see where Supervisor Bob said pay 415- and your services technically should be restored.- this is verbatim what he said.
FONTAIN HAYNES: No the payment was made on the phone with Supervisor Bob.
Queenie G. (ID 100788963): I see that.
Queenie G. (ID 100788963): Thank you for that information.
FONTAIN HAYNES: so whats the problem - why am I out 415.- and no TV..
Queenie G. (ID 100788963): As I can see here that last /13/2016 02:41:04 PM stated
Queenie G. (ID 100788963): As I can see here that last 01/13/2016 02:41:04 PM stated that your wife made a payment but no payment posted.
FONTAIN HAYNES: and to add to that - being told you have to pay an additional 497.- because the payment was never made - despite having the cc company on the phone verify to the Direct TV Customer Service Rep the charge went thru..
FONTAIN HAYNES: what does that mean - my bank account reflects the payment - the cc account rep confirmed the payment - why didn't it post?
Queenie G. (ID 100788963): I am trying to review what had happened, May I know how much you processed with one of our Superviosr?
FONTAIN HAYNES: $ 200.00 - on a credit card and $ 215.34 Chase Debit Card
Queenie G. (ID 100788963): Thanks for that information Fontain,
Queenie G. (ID 100788963): This payment was not posted on the account, however I really want to help you regarding this, we can still locate your payment Fontain.
Queenie G. (ID 100788963): For the quickest and easiest method, I suggest completing the online form which is available at https://billing.directv.com/
Queenie G. (ID 100788963): This will be reviewed by our Finance Department w

January 15 2016 at 2:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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
scoobycat687

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
jleavitt84

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.

http://www.solarus.net/TV.php

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

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
mrtrailer9

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