3 On Your Side: DIRECTV Complaints
By Jim Donovan, CBS-TV3 (Philadelphia, PA)
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
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.
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