Q. I read your article saying DIRECTV didn’t raise prices for us existing subscribers. That is absolutely not true. My monthly bill was $69 a few months ago and now it’s over $130. How can that be? They just raised prices, didn’t they? — Mary, Corsicana, Texas. 

Mary, no, they didn’t just raise prices for existing subscribers, although you may be getting a higher bill now compared to a few months ago. Let me explain.

On Sunday, AT&T did implement a price increase for new DIRECTV subscribers. (New AT&T TV customers also will now have to pay more.) You can see more about that in my article, ‘DIRECTV, AT&T TV Raise Monthly Prices For New Customers.’

But AT&T did not raise the monthly bill for existing DIRECTV customers. The last time that DIRECTV’s monthly fees for existing subscribers increased was last January. In fact, the satcaster has raised prices for current customers every January for the last several years.

So why did your monthly bill go up recently, you ask?

DIRECTV requires new customers (and some existing ones) to agree to a two-year contract. In year one of that agreement, the prices are relatively low. For example, the Choice plan, which has more than 180 channels, is just $69 a month.

However, in month 13 of the two-year contract, the prices go up. Significantly. Choice subscribers have to pay $115 a month while it’s $131 for Xtra package holders and $142 for Ultimate.

The second-year increase often hits subscribers by surprise because it’s included in the fine print when you sign up. The first-year prices are advertised in big, bold headlines, but you have to click on a link and get your reading glasses out to read the details for year two prices.

This is why many DIRECTV customers often complain that the satcaster has suddenly raised prices when actually it’s just billing people for the second-year rates they agreed to at the beginning of the contract. However, because the second-year prices are in the fine print, many subscribers are not aware they will ever happen.

This may seem deceptive on AT&T’s part, and there’s at least one lawyer who would agree. But the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit to stop the practice was derailed in court in 2018.

This is why I strongly discourage entering a two-year contract with DIRECTV, even if it includes lower first-year prices and other incentives such as free NFL Sunday Ticket. Overall, it’s a bad deal for consumers, and you can learn more about that here in my article, ‘DIRECTV: Why It Requires Two-Year Contracts.’

Mary, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann