Why Didn’t DIRECTV Cut Prices For Existing Subs?

19 comments

Q. I am so mad right now. I read your post about DIRECTV cutting prices for new customers, but what about us, the people who have had DIRECTV for years. When will we ever get a break? I am so fed up with these people!! — Stacey, Laurel, Maryland. 

Stacey, you’re right. AT&T, which owns DIRECTV and U-verse, just cut the first-year promotional price for both services by $10 a month.

New subscribers to DIRECTV can now pay $49.99 a month for the first year of its Select plan (155 channels), compared to $59.99 previously; $59.99 a month for the first year of its Choice plan (185 channels), compared to $69.99 a month previously; and $74.99 a month for the first year of its Ultimate package (250 channels), compared to $84.99 a month previously.

The offer, which is good until March 28, has triggered harsh criticism from many existing DIRECTV subscribers, some of whom have taken to social media sites to express their anger.

“AT&T should worry about their current customers!,” “Kim” wrote on our site earlier this week. “I just cancelled last week when the price increased to $145 on my last bill. I’m now happily hooked up to a TV antenna and waiting for my Amazon Fire Stick.”

Kim has a point. AT&T has lost six million DIRECTV and U-verse subscribers combined since taking over the satellite TV service in 2015. You would think that it would do something for existing customers as well to keep future defections at a minimum.

However, many, if not most, DIRECTV subscribers are locked up in two-year contracts, which they agreed to when they signed up for the service. (DIRECTV offers inducements such as free NFL Sunday Ticket if you agree to the two-year pact.) And the penalty for leaving the agreement early is $20 a month for every month left in the two-year period. That can turn into a costly exit if you leave with even just 12 months left. (12 months x $20 = $240.)

Consequently, despite the past sub losses, AT&T likely feels less pressure to do a favor for its existing audience because so many of them are stuck in the two-year deals. The contracts make it less likely that they will leave.

Now the sheer number of defections since 2015 should make AT&T think differently, in my opinion. There are a lot of subscribers who are counting the days to the end of that two-year agreement, and will likely leave when it’s over.

But AT&T has demonstrated little interest in providing extra customer service and features for the existing DIRECTV audience since it took over the satcaster almost five years ago. (That’s not me talking. That’s the consensus of nearly 100 comments posted by DIRECTV subscribers here in the last two weeks.)

So with so many subscribers unable to leave without financial penalties, AT&T probably feels it’s more important to invest in a marketing effort that might attract new subscribers.

Yes, new subscribers who will agree to two-year contracts.

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— Phillip Swann

19 comments on “Why Didn’t DIRECTV Cut Prices For Existing Subs?”

  1. When AT&T shares plummet they will get theirs.

    Thanks for posting this. AT&T has done everything right if they are trying to do everything wrong.

      1. They do and did for me and have every year. Read my previous post. They DO work with existing customers!

    1. DirecTV is s joke and way to expensive and all there calls go to Philippines or India if you want sattelite TV ,look up Obey TV it very inexpensive and you get many channels and local ,it is $40 to $80 a month no matter what and no more cost please look them up they are better then dish or DirecTV

  2. I think we are talking to a BRICK WALL.
    Check out Phillip’s Complaints.
    This is only a small number, compared to ALL the Viewers Problems
    Anyone have any ideas (A Class Action Lawsuit) etc.

    Don’t bother complaining to the FCC, Pai, One of Trump’s Pets,
    will NOT respond, or might make it WORSE

    As for the Stockholders, They must be asleep or Don’t care.

  3. I cancelled my service this week (I was not under contract) after 17 years, and returned my equipment. I’d heard horror stories about how ATT likes to play games with “non-returned” equipment and such. Well, I got an email from them the following day that they received the equipment, much to my relief. However, when I went to re-read that email I noticed that they only listed two of the three pieces I had returned. Grrrr….

    So I got on with Live Chat, and those morons kept talking in circles for over 45 minutes just to supposedly confirm that they received all three pieces. Finally a “supervisor” gets on and assures me that, yes, they did receive all TWO pieces. Grrrrrrr…. at this point I let him have it, and called their Loyalty number, which has gotten me through twice quite easily, and I spoke to someone who put in my account that I sent back three pieces, and included the Fed Ex reference numbers.

    I didn’t get any confirmation email so I’m going to assume that this isn’t the end of it. Grrrrrrrr…..

    1. Yeah, me too! I love Youtube TV. $50 bucks compared to over $100 for Directv. I just hope they don’t add useless stations and raise their price.

  4. I have been with Directv customer for over 15 years. I have always been able to call and get some relief on my bill. I also subscribe to Sunday Ticket and this past year was the first time I had to pay full price. It’s usually 1/2 price or free (if you call in and talk to the right person). Either way I know what DTV was like before the merger and I know what it’s like now. AT&T has been the downfall of what excellent satellite service. I am about to switch to Mediacom (whom I hate) because DTV is that inept and pathetic at customer support. It’s really too bad. I’ve always championed Directv as the best option. If anyone asked my opinion now I would ay it’s the worst. Too Bad…

  5. I have been with Directv customer for over 15 years. I have always been able to call and get some relief on my bill. I also subscribe to Sunday Ticket and this past year was the first time I had to pay full price. It’s usually 1/2 price or free (if you call in and talk to the right person). Either way I know what DTV was like before the merger and I know what it’s like now. AT&T has been the downfall of what excellent satellite service. I am about to switch to Mediacom (whom I hate) because DTV is that inept and pathetic at customer support. It’s really too bad. I’ve always championed Directv as the best option. If anyone asked my opinion now I would ay it’s the worst. Too Bad…

  6. Because they dont care bout regular subscribers Only new ones. The execs got golden parachutes incase directv folds anyhow, no matter what happens. Directv will die if somebody dont get it away from att.

  7. I told DirecTV I was leaving at the end of my contract in January and going to Hulu. They took $60 off of my current $117 bill for 12 months with no contract to get me to stay. Which matched Hulu 60 channel plan. I’m staying because of ease of use for my husband but will drop them if they try to change anything.

    1. I am all in for Direct TV. I have bee since Uverse became active. Digital phone, internet and Direct T V. Any attempt to get a price reduction leaves me frustrated. When I try I get someone in the Philippines who seems to be limited in what they can do. I did get. $10 reduction on one months bill one tome. How exciting. As soon as I can figure out how to satisfy my viewing likes and be able to record, it’s good by Direct TV. Full disclosure. My wife is a retired AT&T employee retiree and we get a discount. I am still not happy.

  8. I respectfully disagree with this take that AT&T/DirecTV doesn’t work with their ‘loyal’ customer. I have been with DirecTV for over four years now. When the increase hits, I contact the Loyalty Team and they ALWAYS make an adjustment that’s always MORE than fair, often times including the current New Subscriber introductory rate! Honestly, I can’t think of a more open minded company when it comes to understanding how important their loyal customers are. In my opinion, their customer service hasn’t been any better, EVER, than it is now. Thank you AT&T and DirecTV!

  9. I work for AT&T I Totally Agree they should cut prices for the long term CX’s(Customers) it really is bullshit but I get calls all day long from customers who been with us for 30 and 40 years and spend over $500 a month on our services and they have to pay more than a customer that’s been with us if you know for one maybe two years it’s not right and eventually AT&T is going to end up losing their DIRECTV customers all together as well as their U-verse customers and I can tell you now they are doing it on purpose because next month the AT&TV It’s going to be going live for everyone and 2 months after that HBOMax is coming out for everyone and then there is AT&TV NOW aka DIRECTV NOW So if you aren’t seeing a pattern here I’ll spell it out for you AT&T is going streaming. So when our customers calling to my department and tell me that they are on Social Security and disability or they are a one income family and it is too expensive to now be able to watch over 300 Channels I have no problem getting you over to retention Which our call-center is going to retention soon anyways So by all means Cancel and Complain But it most likely won’t do any good but, it is too expensive💯% To Expensive!!

  10. I dropped them after 20 yrs. They used to be a great company before At&t got hold of them. I use an over the air antenna now and stream everything else. Never again will I use Direct/Att

  11. I to have been a DirecTV coustmer for aout 16 years and if my bill is going up to what it is now because I just up graded my equipment keeper my package and my second bill has gone up to $ 25.00 dollars higher and if that is what t
    They are going to charge me now. Then I will be leaving after this year that o have committed to o will be leaving as well
    There are other options out there now. So will water and see.

  12. I agree with most here, 22 years with DirecTV and it totally changed after AT&T took over. What bothers me is the fact I can get a lot of the channels I watch on airwave antenna, I just don’t want to mess with a separate DVR hooked up to each TV I wonder if there’s a way to get a whole home one DVR systemTo work? Using 4K UHD Roku premium stick seems great, even the remote that comes with it controls everything. Any suggestions on a quality yet inexpensive one terabyte DVR?
    When I saw the newest generation of Genie II/2 I am disappointed it looks more like a server blade all computerized where is the video in and outputs? And the red fiber optic Dolby digital output /input -I hate the way things have gone who needs another device on the network that’s gonna be a headache?

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