Beware of “free” offers from DirecTV

Photo of author

By Christopher Elliott

DirecTV promises Glenn Brasch a “free” baseball package. Then it charges him, and when he tries to cancel, it hits him with an early termination fee. Is there any way to untangle this mess?

Question

I recently contacted DirecTV’s customer service about a problem I was having. A representative reviewed my account and offered me a “free” football package.

I have no interest in football, but am a baseball fan, and asked her if I could trade. She said I could, and she asked me to call back in a few months to have the baseball added. It would be in my customer notes, she said. She also told me I had an old DVR and she could upgrade my unit for “free.”

I agreed but emphatically stated I did not want to be on another contract and she said I would not be “as long as you maintain your base protection plan.”

Some time later I called back with a question and, while talking to the rep, asked about the baseball notes. I was told they were still in the file, and to call back in a few months. But in later conversations, I was told there were no such notes.

I was charged for a month’s installment of baseball. I finally gave up in frustration and decided to cancel my contract. An early termination fee was charged. Can you help me persuade DirecTV to do what it promised? — Glenn Brasch, Tucson, Ariz.

Answer

DirecTV should have done what its representative promised — no more, no less. Companies don’t just keep notes of their conversations; they also record the call center conversations. DirecTV should have had a record of your call.

It looks as if most of your interactions with DirecTV happened by phone. That put you at a disadvantage since you couldn’t prove a representative made the promises you claim. Sorry to go off on a tangent, but if a company records you, it should be required to provide you with that recording so that both sides know what was said.

International Citizens Insurance helps expats, travelers and anyone far from home find the right insurance plan. Our knowledgeable agents will help you find the best plan at the right price and be your advocate for the life of your policy.

Your next step was to create a paper trail, which you did. You sent a brief, polite email to DirecTV’s customer service executives listed on my site, and you copied me. We receive many similar complaints about DirecTV.

Of course, my advocacy team and I stood ready to help. But when you explained your problem to the managers, that did the trick. Within two hours of sending your email, you received a response from the office of the president, and $190 was credited to your account. And on a Sunday, no less. (Related: DirecTV Genie upgrade went wrong, and now he’s stuck in a contract.)

If you’re having trouble with a product or service, there is a way out — and you don’t have to hire an expensive lawyer or call the cops to fix your consumer problem. You can do it yourself.

I love a happy ending.

Photo of author

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

Related Posts