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DIRECTV: Should You Sign 2-Year Agreement For Free Sunday Ticket?

Q. I was thinking of getting DIRECTV because they are offering the Sunday Ticket for free for the rest of this season and the entire 2019 season. But the offer requires a two-year agreement. What do you think of that? Is that a risk? — Connie, Baltimore.

Connie, you’re right. DIRECTV is now offering the ever-popular NFL Sunday Ticket package of out-of-market Sunday afternoon games for free for the next two years (2018 and 2019) if you subscribe to its ‘Choice’ package or above.

Considering that the Ticket’s current regular season price is $293.94, that sounds like a irresistible offer.

But here’s the problem.

If you sign that two-year agreement, you’re stuck. If you want to switch TV providers during that time, you’ll have to pay an early termination fee.

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And sometimes that can be hundreds of dollars.

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You se, DIRECTV charges $20 for every month left in your two-year agreement from the point of cancellation. For instance, if you decided to cancel six months in, you would have to pay $360 in penalties. (18 months multiplied by 20.)

And this is not just DIRECTV. It’s every pay TV provider who offers ‘special’ two-year agreement deals. They all require termination fees. (This is one reason why some people are signing up for the new live streaming services such as DIRECTV Now, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue; they permit you to cancel anytime without penalty.)

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Now you may say, hey, I plan to stay with DIRECTV for two years or more anyway.
Well, that’s cool, but what if DIRECTV has a fee fight with your favorite channel — say, MASN, the regional sports channel that airs the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles in your market — and is forced to take the channel off the air? Indefinitely.

Hopefully, that won’t occur, but if it does — and you want to switch to Comcast so you can watch the Nats and/or the O’s — you’ll have to pay that early termination fee.

And there’s another catch: If you read the small print of that $45 a month offer for the Choice plan, DIRECTV will raise your monthly bill to $105 a month in months 13-24 of the two-year agreement. Plus, you will have to pay an extra $7.49 a month in regional sports fees. (More expensive plans will set you back even more in months 13-24.)

And if you want to cancel after your bill goes up in month 13, you’ll have to pay the early termination fee.

Finally, if you’re not in a two-year agreement, you’ll have more power to negotiate with your TV provider for deals while you’re a customer. If your TV provider knows you can switch anytime you want without a financial penalty, it will be much more receptive to offering you something to stay on board, such as three free months of a premium channel — or who knows what. If you call them and say you’re thinking of switching, it will get creative, trust me. (Just don’t do this too often; your TV provider will catch on and be happy to see you leave.)

So avoid the contracts, Connie, and keep watching the Nats and O’s no matter what happens.

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— Phillip Swann

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About TV Answer Man (1540 Articles)
The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

5 Comments on DIRECTV: Should You Sign 2-Year Agreement For Free Sunday Ticket?

  1. Traci DeBuhr // December 13, 2018 at 1:48 pm // Reply

    I would not recommend Direct TV. They have been having a software issue since Aoril, and it’s only getting worse and they just give you one excuse after another about when it will be e fixed. If your watching something you recorded and then go to delete it all your recordings are gone. You have to reboot the system you get your recorded s huh owns back. We are now having the problem where we are even able to get our recorded shows back after rebooting. We are paying a fortune to not watch tv

  2. Joey Gutierrez // December 13, 2018 at 7:24 pm // Reply

    Its really easy. Take the directv deal. Its a steal. The first year price is way better than anyone elses first year price…as far as the yeat 2 price you say? Dony pay it. Thats what i do. Just call them up on mos 13 and renegotiate. Tell them spectrum is at the door and has offered to buy out your contract if you sign up for a triple play….and retention department will give you a $50 bill credit for 6 to 1w mos. If you get the 6 mos credit just do it once more in 6 mos and you jist got 2 years of low cost tv, possibly the $100 or $200 visa gift card if you bought through costco and you can still re renegotiate at mos 25

  3. I sign a 2 year contract .i notice several times they removed channels .when i ask about the channels it was one excuse after another …2 years allmost up .actually my 2 years is on the 19 my bill is due on the 16 according to them it wss still early cancellation. Now i was paying or it was 85 a month according to our contract and there was no cheaper packages that had spanish channels only the 85 dollar one ..when i call they offer me a 50 dollar package and even with more spanish channels ..i must admit i was rude and said i dont want ur service she try to sale or negotiate with me but i totally refused.hopefully things turn out to b smooth when returning the equipment .

  4. Ronald John Kohlman // December 15, 2018 at 11:13 pm // Reply

    directv and dish are fading, the future of satellite is grim. to many options now days, the streaming packages will take over but unfortunitly they will keep going up in cost as well and end up where cable and satellite are today.

  5. Nice post. You have really given good information. When it comes to positive features of directv, negatives just vanishes. The best part is the HD quality they offer. Keep writing.

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