DIRECTV: Can You Trust Them?

30 comments

Q. I was thinking of signing up for DIRECTV to get the NFL Sunday Ticket. They have a two year contract where you can get it for free and get cheaper prices for your package. My question is can you trust them to follow this deal? Are they a trustworthy company? Will they raise prices during the two years? And what if I want to cancel, will they charge me for that? — Ethan, Indianapolis. 

Ethan, let me explain quickly why you should never sign a two-year contract with any pay TV provider. And then I will address your trust question regarding DIRECTV.

On two-year agreements, you need to know that you’ll have to pay a penalty if you cancel your service before the two years are up. In DIRECTV’s case, the fine is $20 a month for the remaining months of your deal. That can be expensive if you cancel even a year into the two-year deal. Twelve months multiplied by $20 comes to $240.

Second, the two-year agreement takes away your leverage as a smart consumer. For instance, what if your pay TV provider drops your favorite channel six months into the deal? You could switch to another service so you could still watch it, but then you would have to pay the stiff termination fee.

With cost-conscious pay TV operators becoming more picky about what they carry, losing your favorite channel during the two years is a real possibility. (A few years ago, The Weather Channel echoed this concern.)

Third, you need to know that your two-year agreement often includes language that allows the provider to raise prices at some point. In DIRECTV’s two-year contract, for instance, prices almost double in year two, starting with month 13.

So, despite the apparent benefits, please, please, stay away from two-year agreements. They are not in your best interest, and you will likely experience some regret at some point.

Now, as for DIRECTV:

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to trust DIRECTV, and its owner, AT&T, on almost anything these days. The Internet is overflowing with stories about DIRECTV erroneously charging customers for early termination, lost equipment, and a host of other things.

For instance, here’s a story from last October about DIRECTV trying to charge a 102-year-old woman an early termination penalty because she died. Here’s one about DIRECTV sending a bill to an ex-customer for equipment fees after she had returned the equipment.

And here’s another one, and another one, and another one. And look at these consumer complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau. (DIRECTV does have a A- rating with BBB, which does show some effort to remedy these issues.)

This simply happens too often. I also have received numerous e-mails from DIRECTV customers, and ex-customers, about incorrect billing. In fact, I got one just yesterday who says DIRECTV is charging him $500 for early termination although he says the company never told him he was even in a two-year agreement. The satcaster put him in the two year contract after it replaced a defective receiver, he says.

“My wife and I have been DIRECTV customers since February 1995. When we ordered the service, it was a lot different than it is now,” he says.

I understand that all companies can experience problems like this, but I simply can’t recommend anyone signing up for DIRECTV until I see a stronger commitment to customer service. Buyer beware.

Last note: I am not alone in this assessment. Since AT&T purchased DIRECTV in 2015, the satellite TV service has lost more than 4 million subscribers.

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Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at swann@tvpredictions.com. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.

— Phillip Swann

30 comments on “DIRECTV: Can You Trust Them?”

  1. Do not go with direct TV, I did not knowing at&t owned them I have less channel then I had with dish and pay 50 more a month. I can’t stream here, no wired internet service. When I get done with this, free locals only is what I’ll be doing. I’m 75, can’t pay these prices anymore.

  2. Phillip is correct on EVERY detail.
    Also READ the RED Customer complaints and stories. They are ALL TRUE.
    One thing that is left out is:
    DirecTV MOVED their Customer Service Overseas, MANY locations DON’T know English
    The ones who can kinda speak English, DON’T understand your problem and WON’T FIX it.
    They LOVE to transfer you all over Hell and Back.. Almost ALWAYS with-OUT any satisfactory results.

    The FCC needs to Ignore Trump’s plans to DE-Regulate.
    That plan has SCREWED UP almost everything.

    We DO NEED a FEDERAL Customer Satisfaction Department. .
    Look at the Net Neutrality Disaster. Wait till that KICKS in, in FULL

  3. I agree with all the above complaints about Directv and AT&T. I’ve been a Directv customer for almost 10 years I’ve been there only for the NFL Sunday ticket. The price increases, the package and channel changes are happening more frequently. The NFL has said its taking away Directv from there strangle hold on us, I hope so. There basic package does not include ESPN or fox sports so even if you buy the expensive Sunday ticket you have to pay extra for Monday or Thursday night football. Don’t do it.

  4. Since even Mr. Swann hasn’t mentioned it I imagine almost no one has noticed that Directv no longer carries both Fusion and El Rey. No announcements or anything. Just a message on those channels stating that they’re no longer on Directv’s lineup.

      1. I don’t, I never watched those channels anyway, as is the case with most of the channels they offer. But did they lower their price? Nooooooo! And why are you waiting for the Weather Channel to come back? It’s been back for years now.

  5. Dont do it.i got it at one price from them next month it went up 30 dollars more.dont trust them at all.and because they want to become a streaming only company we dont have half the channels we signed up for.oh they did raise their price 3 times just in last few months.and customer service is horrendous

  6. I also have DIRECTV & am in a two year contract. I was happy with them until it came time for the second & I notice some of my channels were gone but yet they want to raise my bill from $41.42 a month to over $80.00 a month. Why would I want to pay more when I now have less channels then I started out with. So I cancelled my contract & now I have to pay the $240.00 for my second year or $20.00 a month for 12 months & still worry even if I do pay & I will pay. I am afraid they will turn it into the credit Bureau & it has taken me (“years”) to built my credit back up. Plus I’m disabled & only live on $791.00 a month. But do they care about the hardship they cause others? NO THEY DO NOT. There should be a law passed that any tv companies are not allowed to make ppl sign a two year contract or charge them for services they are no longer getting from their company. I think the only way any one should be charged anything is if they don’t return their equipment to them. But if you do make sure it is done through a UPS so it can be tracked & you have a receipt showing that you shipped it that way you’re not liable for it. But as of right now for me DirecTV totally sucks I would not recommend them to anybody and I will knock them all I can.

  7. I have had direct tv since Sunday ticket was launched around 1995 if there was another way for me to watch all the games I’d be gone quick. NFL help !

  8. Run. Do not walk. Run away from DirecTV. They lie about everything. Canceled my service after 10 years last month due to lies and constant increases. Yet they continue to lie and charge me, despite having canceled my service.

  9. I HATE DIRECT TV & AT&T. They are liars, despicable, cheats with no scruples. DO NOT cause yourself added, unneeded, chaos NOT TO MENTION the thievery fraudulence!!!

  10. Directv charged me three times for returned equipment . They went two months without charging me than starting caarging me. Each month I spent 45 mins on the phone getting it taken care of and the following month they charged me again. I think there should be a class action sute against directv for not providing the service we signed up for , anyone with me on this.

    1. YES, probable everyone is with you.
      But KING Trump is in BED with AT&T’S CEO Stephenson.
      How are we going to get around that ?

  11. Directv charged me three times for returned equipment . They went two months without charging me than starting caarging me. Each month I spent 45 mins on the phone getting it taken care of and the following month they charged me again. I think there should be a class action sute against directv for not providing the service we signed up for , anyone with me on this.

  12. DirecTV WAS a great provider until AT&T bought them. Now, lots of good people still working in the trenches while Senior Mgmt makes big bucks and sucking every bit of life out of the company. Want to keep your blood pressure low and see a game, go to a bar. Supporting DirecTV’s Mgmt stupidity is not the ansewer.

  13. It’s sounds nice-don’t sign a contract. By choice I live in a mountainous rural area. I have to drive to my closest neighbor. No cable here. It’s only cell phone and satellite services for internet/tv. So either I put up with garbage or do without. I can’t even get over the air. The closest local TV station is 70 miles away. I’m not whinning, just explaining why I have to sign a contract or have nothing.

  14. Direct tv is a complete RIP off. They constantly raise their prices. The connection here drops every time it rains or gets windy. Run!

    1. Sick and tired when it snows, rains, windy and barely drizzles. I refuse to pay for the days I’m without service. I constantly call those idiots who no nothing and rip you off. I hope the NFL Channel goes to another provider as I’m done with Direct TV.

  15. Some is true some is lie. Yes it’s 2 years contract but price can’t be raised during contract- it’s locked. Another provider’s can’t give you channels for price that DTV have. And another provider’s don’t have a contract? You can use month to month but payment will be more all tv and interhnet provider’s have this rules. Easy and simple- don’t like it – don’t subscribe, just choose another company. And before writing a review’s look to the mirror and ask yourself who you are- good person or bad dog who barkingg across all interhnet.

  16. I was a 15 year customer of DirecTV. I recently cancelled them in favor of Youtube TV. I’m now getting letters from a collection agency saying I still owe them over $100. I have a bill showing a zero balance I’ve sent to the agency.

    Do NOT trust anything AT&T says. and I would not recommend subscribing to their service. These big conglomerates are not trustworthy in the least.

    You’ve been warned

  17. I left them last November after 20 years. Since AT&T bought them they have become a wholly dishonest company. I started having issues with my DVR and was told it was a known bug they were working on. That took over a YEAR to resolve, and it was a significant bug. Every month they promised they were very close to fixing it, and they just kept stringing us all along. It was all over the forums. They finally fixed it last year. Then I was out of contract and they raised my rates significantly (their CEO last early last year they were looking to get rid of non-premium subscribers, basically subscribers who had discounts and who didn’t sub to HBO, Showtime, etc.). Every couple years I’d call to re-do my deal. It always worked out well. This year they said there were no discounts, but they would send me a $200 gift card and I wouldn’t have to sign another contract. I said OK, that works. Nothing arrived. Called again, they said it would arrive on X date. Never showed. I called again and was promised again that it would be arriving in the next month. I basically waited four months from their first promise and nothing ever showed up. I decided to go with DISH since I gave up football a couple years ago. Haven’t looked back. The service is so much better. If you want NFL Sunday Ticket, I’d find a different way to do it than DirecTV. Word is they’ve loosened up the requirements a bit, but I haven’t looked recently.

  18. At&t had definitely screwed things up. Customer service is awful. Overseas, barely speak English, and you will get transferred 5 times and still not get anything resolved.

    I keep it for Sunday ticket, but my patience is wearing thin. I HOPE something else presents itself for NFL games so I can drop this garbage service!

  19. Be aware your price will change the second year nothing you can do about it they are many clauses dtv is great to have just make sure you can afford it 2nd year.i worked there many elderly were stuck couldn’t afford so they had to give up channels. They will take the fee out of your bank or credit card if u cancel .it is good tv service I’ve had for 15 years .as long as your aware they don’t tell you 2nd year price

  20. I’ve had Directv service for over 15 yrs with no problem. Sure the 2 year contract but always remember it’s a bill you will have forever. Best A/V performance cable does not come close. 14 NFL games this past year and many more selections. I don’t care about any streaming services. If your on a budget than stream good for you. And my service never goes out. If you live in a part of the country that snow yes your service will go out with snow piling up on the dish. Again cable companies aren’t very good with the signal quality.

  21. I call direct yesterday they take advantage of people first I was told I had a contract when I signed up it was 200.00 if I want to get out of the contract I call yesterday about my bill it went up 60:00 now they saying it’s going to cost me 240:00 to get out of the contract. I have January 24 2021 I getting out they lied and drop channel and we still have to paid for these services.

  22. I have been a customer for 3 yrs and I’ve had to call them every month due to deceptive billing. At one point the chged my credit card 200.00 for installation it took 13 months a a threat to sue them to get my money back, mind you I had a copy of the invoice which said 0.00 Free installation… They hope you don’t catch the errors. I would never recommend them. I trying to figure out the fire stick and when I can master that see you direct TV & at&t.

    1. I agree I’ve had the roku system for years and it’s great but make sure you have higher speed internet if not it buffers frequently. I use both DIRECTV and roku because my internet can’t pull in my local channels. Higher speed internet is so expensive, they get you one way or another. DIRECTV went downhill when it merged to at&t the service sucks they have to many repeated channels.

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