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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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
Anna Wood

An absolute nightmare! I was with directv for over a decade I bought a new house and agreed to a movers package at the rate of $50 a month and scheduled the install, I also had them update my last name to my legal married last name and someone flagged my account for fraud since my name changed omg pp get married every day really after several hours of exhausting calls and six different customer service reps I finally get someone who can change the account name and reschedule the install, then waiting another two weeks for that to happen well the installer tore up my house left equipment in the yard and wires left laying in the road, real nice for new neighbors yay! Come to find out they stole the ground from the twc Internet who interned had to take it back, directv took another two weeks to fix leaving my house ungrounded and services not working except in 1 of the three rooms. Then the bills come in at $124 a month and not the $50 as agreed called they adjusted the account slightly but not correctly then again more the following month grrrr called told them to turn off services they wanted to say I was under contract and would be charged $480 for disconnecting argued with them and they agreed that wasnt what i agreed to and wouldn't charge the fee after the third rep mind you and after they tried to lower the service to just local tv to get it down to the $50 as agreed but that's not what I agreed to pay the $50 a month for, so that was a no go on my part. Then they didn't turn off for another month and then sent me a final bill for $540 then tried to send another bill for $830 and a box to return equipment WOW so I return the equipment and called again, then they draft $540 out of my account after agreeing not too grrrr of course screwing up my account and my other bills. So back on the phone round and round with reps then transferred to a supervisor end result they agree to refund $380 within 3-4 days and send me an email which I still have confirming such, well a week goes by and no refund I call again the reps inform me that now the refund amount has gone down to $220 instead of the $380 and to top it off can't even tell me why the amount has changed in the last week but insists that it is the accurate amount. This company is completely fraudulent lies about everything doesn't stand behind its word and is the most complained about company in history for a reason don't use there services and teach them to stop lying and taking advantage of there customers oh and btw guys you can get the nfl package for $40 per season online rather than their $300 a season charge at I'm following my team for just $30 this year. Final notes Directv you Suck!

August 27 2013 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The same day I decided to contract with Directv I also told them I wanted out of the contract and they allow me. They couldn't meet terms they promised me and I told them it wasn't going to work. They told me "sorry" but you already accepted the contract. I said to them I have a legal 3 day binding agreement, that I can get out of and they said that didn't count with them. So, I was stuck. I fought for 1 yr with them over damage they did to my house when putting the system in. I called every week to no avail......and finally after almost 1 yr.....I told them I was cancelling the contract. When they finally listened to the problem they had me do pictures and such and send them to Colorado for further research. A man finally came to my house with his helper and they said they would let us know in a couple days when they would return to fix the damage on my house. Well its been over 6 weeks and their no where in site. You can't reach them by phone....Office no......and I've left 10 messages and no call backs either. I've left messages and emails to the complaint dept. in Colo. to no avail.....but they are coming after me for $258.02 they say I OWE T

May 13 2013 at 10:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

DIRECTV The Cheating Company. Beginning with insisting its customers for their Social Security number so it will sell to the Searching Companies for extra money and it knows its customer’s age. As I am 82 with a stupid name, DIRECTV assumes I am an 82 year old man with an Alzheimer. I chose the CHOICE Package basic with down grade HD 720x1280 resolution, receiver without DVR for 1 TV set. I suppose to pay for hardware approx. $25.00 at the first time of installation and monthly payment approx. $30.00 for one year and pay in full for the second year of a 2 year agreement. My satellite dish was installed on 07/24/2012. I pay my bill using my credit card Visa #xxxx xxxx xxxx 6233. DIRECTV charged me as the following:-

07/18/2012 $24.99 DIRECT SAT TV. LLC 910-6933000 NC First time installment basic.
07/26/2012 $67.19 DTV*DIRECTV SERVICE 800-347-3288 CA Payment over charge.
08/26/2012 $31.49 DTV*DIRECTV SERVICE 800-347-3288 CA Monthly payment.
09/26/2012 $31.49 DTV*DIRECTY SERVICE 800-347-3288 CA Monthly payment.
10/26/2012 $78.74 DTV*DIRECTV SERVICE 800-347-3288 CA Monthly fraud charge.
11/26/2012 $78.74 DTV*DIRECTV SERVICE 800-347-3288 CA Monthly fraud charge.
12/26/2012 $78.74 DTV*DIRECTV SERVICE 800-347-3288 CA Monthly fraud charge.
01/27/2013 $78.74 DTV*DIRECTV SERVICE Monthly fraud charge.

I have been cheated $224.70 in the first 6 month of service through my credit card account!

I have looked through websites and found several thousands of people are complaining DIRECTV for all kind of dirty-tricks and frauds on their over charge bills. I am searching to join with the group to file a lawsuit against DIRECTV. THANKS for reading.

Piac Stoughton WI

February 05 2013 at 4:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

DirecTV regularly violates the rights of property owners by installing their equipment on apartment buildings without the express permission of those landowners. DirecTV demonstrates poor workmanship and damage the structures with their dishes and cables. They improperly install the equipment. Someone should file a class-action lawsuit against DirecTV to stop them from from continuing these practices.

November 27 2012 at 11:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have had the most horrible experience with Direct tv and their service. I've complained twice to the Better Business Bureau. They told me they would access my bank account and I had to actually cancel an account so avoid them from fraudently getting access. I will NEVER, EVER recommend them. The customer service hangs up on you, you can not resolve any issue, the channels are terrible in what they offer. They claim such wonderful service; I contacted headquarters in CA prior to the BBB complaint and was talked to with rudeness and ignorance. I have asked for a final bill for 6 weeks now so I can pay the balance and not have to deal with them ever again, and I have nothing but an e-mail where they increased the cancellation fee even more. I told the woman that it was already agreed upon during the BBB what I would pay, and she took it upon herself to increase it. So, back to calling the BBB. They are limited in what they can do to help and I contacted the Federal Trade Commissin who told me to pay the fee because direct tv will drag it out, send it to collections and ruin my credit; but, when they file a complaint againt Direct tv, they will include my complaint and eventually I may recover costs I incurred in getting rid of this company. They have called my elderly parents in attempts to sign them up for service and my elderly parents had to tell them they would take legal action if they continued to call. Direct tv is TERRIBLE, the people who work in customer service and at their headquarters are rude and treat you with such disrespect. DON'T sign a contract- DON'T give them your banking info- once they have it, they will access your account. When you sign a contract- and they tell you that you can cancel if you move and service is not offered there- that is an LIE. I am traveling for my job, I informed them I do not have a permanent address and I was told "well, you can get Direct TV on your computer." Yea- let's watch television on my computer! Furthermore, they charge EVERY SINGLE TIME you move someone- at least a $200 hookup fee. They charge EVEN TO ATTEMPT TO SEE IF YOU ARE IN A SERVICE AREA, and if you rent- it does not matter what the land owner wants, if the landowner does NOT want direct tv on their property, and there is service in the area- YOU ARE REQUIRED TO KEEP AND PAY THE CONTRACT. PLEASE, PLEASE, BEWARE OF direct tv. They are unprofessional, fraudulent, disrespectful and lie to get you to sign a contract- once you agree, you are powerless over anything and they will bring you nothing but disgust.

November 26 2012 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
I hate DirectTV

I cancelled my service because ANY time you have a late bill, you CANNOT talk to ANYONE, until you pay that bill. Doesnt matter if you are in disagreement with the bill or not, you have to pay it before they will even talk to you. Now that my service is cancelled, they agreed to wait until Dec 3rd for their 100$ I owe them, well they didnt wait, they overdrew my checking account causing 2 other checks to bounce. I am on disability and I cannot afford for them to do this to my account. I am contacting the Attorney General in DC about a lawsuit. YOu cannot just use someone's debit card because you have it on file...

November 21 2012 at 10:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to I hate DirectTV's comment
I hate DirectTV

Oh FYI I called them, NO appoligy, nothing, just we cant change it, the computer did it. REgardless of the fact that they had notes in the computer where I called and told them when I would pay them. Operator told me, oh well we cant change what the computer does..IF I had been told that I couldve just paid the bill right then, but they said they would wait so I paid other bills. Now they have screwed up my entire checking account and there isnt even and apology, nothing. This company is the PITS !!!

November 21 2012 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply