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3 On Your Side: DIRECTV Complaints

The nation's largest satellite TV service is getting some static. Consumers have now logged more than 40,000 complaints against DIRECTV on the Better Business Bureau's website. DIRECTV offers promotions like five months free or $29.99 a month. But some customers complain they're then surprised when charged extra fees for leasing equipment, special features and programming packages. Todd Foreman of the group Consumer Watchdog says to get out of DIRECTV's standard two year contract is expensive saying, "DIRECTV is charging up to $480 dollars for a cancellation fee."The nation's largest satellite TV service is getting some static. Consumers have now logged more than 40,000 complaints against DIRECTV on the Better Business Bureau's website.

3-On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan tells us that some customers say they sign up expecting to pay one price, but when the bill shows up, it can be much more.

DIRECTV offers promotions like five months free or $29.99 a month. But some customers complain they're then surprised when charged extra fees for leasing equipment, special features and programming packages.

Todd Foreman of the group Consumer Watchdog says to get out of DIRECTV's standard two year contract is expensive saying, "DIRECTV is charging up to $480 dollars for a cancellation fee."

It's not only the fee, Foreman is concerned how DIRECTV gets the money.

He says, "All charges can be billed to your credit card or debit card on file at any time and so people cancel and 5 to 10 days later they get something in the mail that says 'hey you owe us $300 dollars' and if they don't pay in a couple more days it's pulled out of their bank account."

Those cancellation policies have prompted several class action lawsuits now winding their way through the courts and DIRECTV's pricing may also be a problem. Officials in Florida are suing the company, claiming ads that quote prices as low as $29-dollars a month are misleading."

DIRECTV says customers are "fully informed" of prices and policies before they sign their contracts. The company also says the 24-month agreements enable DIRECTV to give customers better prices.

The moral of the story? Before signing up for any satellite or cable deal, be sure to get a full accounting in writing of the promotion you are being offered, including all the charges.