Q. I am angry that we lost our channels but I am really angry that we are paying the same money every month. Shouldn’t we get a refund for not having our channels on DIRECTV? Or can we break our contracts? — Cynthia, Alexandria, Virginia.
Cynthia, as you note, DIRECTV on Tuesday night lost 60 Tegna-owned local channels due to a carriage dispute, and it’s unclear when they will return. The two sides are continuing to engage in a war of words over who’s to blame.
To your question regarding your two-year contract with DIRECTV, the loss of your local channels does not permit you to break it without paying the usual termination fee, which is $20 a month for every month left. The agreement clearly states that your programming and prices could change at any time during the two years. So the lost of any single channel, or a group of channels, is permitted within the language of the contract.
However, I do have some good news for you. On AT&T’s TV Promise page (AT&T owns DIRECTV), the company says you might be eligible for a “temporary pricing adjustment” due to the carriage dispute. There’s a link there so you can sign into your DIRECTV account and see if you are eligible, and if so, discover the temporary reduction in your bill.
I asked AT&T yesterday for more details, such as the exact amount that it’s offering customers affected by the blackout, but the company has not responded. However, based on past experience, my guess is that it’s $10-$20 for every month the dispute lasts. (I have seen some customers online say they received a $20 credit. when they called DIRECTV to complain.)
That may not sound like much, but it’s better than nothing, which AT&T actually would be entitled to offer under that two-year contract.
By the way, U-verse subscribers can also apply for a “temporary price adjustment,” but AT&T TV and AT&T TV Now customers can not. (The blackout is impacting all AT&T-owned pay TV services.)
Cynthia, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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