Q. I lost my job due to the Covid virus and we have DIRECTV. We are trying to tighten our finances in the next few months in case I can’t go back to work soon. Is there a way to suspend my DIRECTV account until I go back to work? We want to keep DIRECTV, but we just need to cut spending right now. — Harley, Nashville. 

Harley, before I answer your question, please note that AT&T yesterday said it would not impose late fees on its customers until June 30 due to the Coronavirus outbreak. (AT&T owns DIRECTV.) So if you have trouble paying your DIRECTV bill now, you will not be charged a late fee.

But to your question: Can you suspend your account until you return to work?

The satcaster says you can temporarily suspend your account by calling 1-855-977-8384. You can say, ‘suspend service,’ at the prompt and the automated system will handle your request. However, note that there’s a $7 a month charge for each month of suspended service, but that beats paying $100 a month, or more. (Note: You will not be able to watch DIRECTV during the time your account is suspended.)

There are other rules as well:

* You can’t suspend service if you agreed to subscribe to a certain level of programming to get a special offer or lower equipment price. That means subscribers who agreed to those two-year contracts to get special deals such as free NFL Sunday Ticket or lower first-year pricing would not be eligible.

* If you are eligible, you must suspend your account for at least 30 days and no longer than six months. (So if you get your job back within six months, you could suspend your account for the entire time you are unemployed.)

* You must have no balance due on your account.

* If you only have one DIRECTV account, you can suspend it two times in a 12-month period. If you have two or more accounts, you can suspend each one a maximum of four times in a 12-month period.

Also worth noting: DIRECTV will extend your service agreement for the amount of time you suspend your account. For example, if you are in a two-year contract, and your contract is scheduled to end in June, it will end in October if you suspend the account for four months.

The satcaster also won’t extend any promotional credits. For instance, if you have a six-month, $10 a month credit for some past issue, you will lose the credit during the suspension months. For instance, if you suspend for three months, you would only get the credit for the three months after you end the suspension.

Non-DIRECTV subscribers will be happy to know that other TV providers offer ‘suspend account’ options as well. The operators may charge you as well so I suggest calling your cable or satellite service for current details and rules.

Harley, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay well!

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