By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, I am a DIRECTV subscriber and we have been without our NBC station here for about a month because of a fight with the station. We are in a two-year contract with DIRECTV because we signed up last year. Do you know if we can break the contract because they are not giving us the channels they said they would? It doesn’t seem fair because we would not have signed up if we knew that we wouldn’t have NBC. — Crystal, Tampa.

Crystal, DIRECTV has been without 159 Nexstar-owned local stations since July 2 due to a fee dispute between the two companies. The stations include network affiliates for CBS, ABC, Fox, The CW and ABC. DIRECTV Stream and U-verse are also affected by the blackout. Some DIRECTV subscribers might like to cancel their satellite TV service and sign up with a pay TV provider or live streaming service that carries the blacked-out channels. However, many DIRECTV customers are enrolled in two-year plans that include stiff termination fees ($20 a month for every month left in the agreement) if you cancel prior to the end of the agreement. (The two-year offers come with attractive and exclusive benefits such as free premium channels and/or two-year price locks.)

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But I have received several e-mails from DIRECTV subscribers saying they can sue the satcaster for breach of contract. By their thinking, they should be allowed to cancel now without penalty because DIRECTV no longer provides all the channels that were available when their two-year agreement first began.

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I can understand why they would feel that way. They are angry about the blackout of a favorite channel. But I have to inform everyone that you probably can’t sue DIRECTV for breach to get out of the two-year deal. The satcaster has included language in the agreement that enables it to drop channels, or raise prices, at any time during the two years.

“All offers, packages, programming, promotions, features, terms, restrictions & conditions and all prices and fees not included in price guarantee are subject to change or discontinuation without notice,” DIRECTV’s terms of agreement states.

So if you want to cancel DIRECTV, you probably won’t have any success doing it by filing a lawsuit. Note that DIRECTV Stream customers are not under two-year agreements. The streamer does not require a contract or cancellation fee.

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— Phillip Swann