Help! DirecTV is charging $235 for my move

Question: I have a problem with DirecTV that I’m hoping you can help me with. The building I live in has been sold and all leases have been terminated, including mine. Just a month before, I signed up for DirecTV. I have lived there for five years and intended to remain. So it came as a huge blow to suddenly get that dropped on me.

I have found a new place to live. One of my requirements was being allowed to keep my DirectTV and when I found a place that allowed it, I was happy. I called today to set up a service transfer, only to be informed that I must pay $238 for it.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners. Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

A representative said because I was moving within the first year of my contract that was the best he could do, and that was discounted from $500. That seems excessive to me.

DirecTV’s advertising makes it seem like you needn’t do anything or pay anything. There is no mention of such a thing when you sign up. I asked if they could waive the fee or break it up over several bills. Nope. Either I pay the moving fee or a $340 cancellation fee.

I am stuck! This is making an already very costly move even more costly and even more stressful. Can you help me? — Heather Amaral, Los Angeles

Answer: I feel your pain. Not only do you have to move, but your TV options appear to be either bad or worse — pay a $238 fee that was poorly disclosed when you signed up for the service or a $340 cancellation fee.

I spent some quality time on the DirecTV site to find out how well the moving fees were disclosed. They’re not, it turns out. Its customer agreement, the contract between you and the company, is altogether vague about your moving costs.

The charge applies if you move within a year, and the reasons for the move don’t matter. If you move, you pay.

I can understand the reason for having such a fee. Installing a system isn’t free to DirecTV, even if it’s for the same customer. DirecTV should be able to cover its expenses. But $500 for a move that you didn’t initiate seems a little high. DirecTV was correct to discount the fee for you, but I’m still troubled by the disclosure. When you had your system installed, a representative told you that moving would “not be a problem” — which left you with the impression that DirecTV would let you take the service with you for free if you had to relocate. That’s not true.

You could have appealed this to someone higher up. Here’s a list of current executives. The email convention is [email protected]

But before you do, I wanted to give the company a chance to review your case one more time. Had it clearly disclosed the fee, and had this been a voluntary move, I might have let this one go. But I think this one deserved another look.

I contacted DirecTV on your behalf. A representative called you and explained that DirecTV would incur a cost to move you, no matter what the reason. The company offered you a $100 credit, bringing the total cost of your move down to $138.

Should moving fees be included in the cost of your subscription TV service?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

74 thoughts on “Help! DirecTV is charging $235 for my move

  1. This isn’t a great poll question. You ask about cable, but DirecTV is actually satellite and it isn’t quite the same. With satellite, even if you take all of your equipment with you someone has to actually mount the device and run at least some wire to connect the dish to the house. These days, most apartments have cable already run, and while they may still have to send a tech to get you turned on, unless you are putting a device somewhere that is nowhere near the actual cable outlet, it often takes as little as 15 minutes to get you turned on. The last time I had cable installed all the guy did was plug in my cable box and call the company with the serial number and my address, something I could have done myself if I had been allowed to stop by an office and pick up the equipment. So I would say that a satellite provider has some justification for charging for moving service, whereas a cable company probably doesn’t. Since the article is about a satellite provider and not cable, the question should probably be about satellite service, at least in my opinion.

    For this reason, I voted yes in the poll. Although if it had been about satellite dishes, I likely would have voted no.

    1. I will add to that in that satellite providers don’t move the dish or the LNB connector (the signal received on the dish arm.). They have the customer pack the receiver, and remote. Everything else stays at the address so the next customer can call and they will have to only set up a receiver.

      With that said, that means that the provider has the cost of a new dish, the mounting, a LNB, and the time for a technician to come out

      1. That seems highly unlikely. How can the Satellite provider leave a satellite dish on a building after their customer has left? Suppose the new tenant doesn’t want satellite? Does the dish stay forever? What’s to prevent theft? Destruction? Suppose the new tenant wants a different satellite provider?

        I don’t have any specific knowledge, but that is difficult to believe..

        EDITED. To clarify. I’m sure they install a new dish, I’m just questioning the leaving the old dish at the former location.

        1. Well, considering I have been using satellite TV for many years now, and considering that I have spent several years as an installer, you probably ould believe it. If it is a pole mounted dish in the yard, and the customer is moving the service theirselves, the customer can remove it, if it is a roof mounted dish, it is frequently illegal to remove it from a rented structure as it is affixed to the building which makes it the property of the building owner, not the customer/renter.

          If the next renter for not want service, it sits there unused, if it is stolen/damaged, they will replace it when a new customer signs up. In reality the dish is RARELY ever stolen/damaged, but this fact is why none of the major satellite providers will charge a fee for the initial installation. The receiver is leased, and the dish is going to be there and save money in the long run.

          1. Yup, can attest to that. We had to leave the dish setup, but take the receiver and remote when we moved.

          2. True – my neighbors lost their home a couple of months ago, and it is up for sale right now – with the dish still sitting there.

        2. I bought a house in 2005 that had a dish and LNB on the roof. They were from the previous owners. No one ever came and picked it up, but DirectTV sure hounded me with mail about how they can activate my service at a discount since I already have the equipment. I still went with cable because at that time there were companies other than Comcast in the area and it was much cheaper.

          1. I did better yet and went with HD free TV that seems to have better picture quality.. Direct TV was costing way to much and had to many garbage channels.

        3. Yeah, trust them on that. The rental house next to me has a pile in the back yard of probably three dishes in addition to the one still mounted to the house, all from providers being changed over the past few years plus maybe some equipment changes in there.

        4. It happens all the time. When I switched from Dish to DirecTV, Dish only had me return a part of the dish itself; the rest of it remains on the roof of my building.

          If/when I move from my current building, provided I still have satellite service, I’m hoping to get somebody to take down the old and the current dishes because, yeah, I do think it’s pretty tacky to just leave them behind.

        5. Directv is helping its market share grow that way. Now all the new people need to do is get the boxes, hook them up and off they go. It’s such a smart way to go. New people see the dish and order the service. I love the directv service and the layout. Not a huge fan of the remote. I give them an 8 in total satisfaction. It would be higher but no one is that good. It’s great compared to comcast. They get a 2. Verizon Fios is also in my area. I give them a 5 for the tv service. I thought the dvr was very weak in every way.

  2. I don’t think it’s DirectTV’s responsibility to move the service for free – there is a very real cost to this as a technician has to physically install the dish, run a new cable, recalibrate it to point it exactly at the satellite, etc. It’s not their fault that the customer is moving unexpectedly. I think some attention should be paid for the reason for the lease termination, and if that should/could cover moving costs. If the lease was terminated in advance of the agreed period, whoever wants the tenants moved out should be responsible for paying their moving costs, including the satellite reconnection. However, if the tenant was on a month-to-month lease, the risk of having to move unexpectedly is unfortunately part of the deal… so this may just need to be chalked up as a lesson learned and a reason to have savings for a rainy day.

    1. True, but their policies are what “invited” me to quit them within 24 hours of my contract expiration.

      1. Just moved… and restoring service with direct TV WOULD have cost me $49 plus another 1 year contract… I say ‘would have’ because… I went to the top!!! no contract /no fee…. I will be set up in two days with a new dish on the roof… and the same programing as what I already had.. NO BUNDLES… nothing extra!! It pays to bypass customer service because most are talking to you from Call centers.. and persistence counts!!!

  3. I don’t see how the fact she didn’t initiate the move makes any difference. The contract was between her and DirectTV, not DirectTV and her landlord.

  4. The problem isn’t DirectTV…the problem is that the OP failed to find out the costs of moving from her apartment. The OP should have asked the owner of the building to pay for the cost since she is incurring the cost since the building was sold and the OP hasn’t met the terms of the agreement with DirectTV. DirectTV is incurring real costs as it was commented by another poster.

    1. I think having a fee is fair, you don’t know all the work & time dtv Have To Take & spend to install services at a new location. When you first get services installed it is free. Standard professional installation. I had to pay the fee of 235 myself bit I also understand dtv policy it’s off of payments history account qualifications & tenure with dtv as well. Yes I paid my bill on time but I am moving in my 1st year, my services haves only been active at this location for 3 months & now I am moving again & need a whole new installation at a new location. Dtv can not waive a 500 dollar installation cost again for one account In less than one year, everybody wants fee things yes free is good. But try to understand the policy & procedure as well. Dtv wouldn’t be able to stay in business if all they did was give out free things

  5. “Should moving fees be included in the cost of your subscription TV service?” No… but reasonable installation fees should be charged. Maybe $50 or $75 for the first move? $500 is extremely excessive, and the “discounted” $238 is still excessive. Is this something the person can do themselves? I haven’t had satellite (or cable) for years but in the past did the installation work myself. It was just getting a mounting pole vertical then twisting the dish until the signal strength was maximized. And running the cable from the dish to the receiver and receiver to the TV.

      1. So you are saying renters are poor low income people? Why just renters? I know many home owners who don’t have an extra $300 or more to move their dish.

        Sorry, but that comment just struck me the wrong way I guess. I am a renter but also own a house (completely paid for even) that will be my retirement home. I rent because I move often for my job (every 6 mo to a year) and have worked in some countries where I am not allowed to buy a house because I am not a resident, only a worker.

    1. I have installed my own DirecTV dish several times. It is something an individual can do on their own. However, since the person was a renter, a lot of places require “professional” installation because of insurance and liability reasons.

    2. They don’t tell you but all you need to do as a customer take the dish with you and hook it up yourself and then there is no fee to move. I had customers all the time that would do that and call to change the address on the account to get the correct locals. The movers fee is based on length of time connected credit history and an internal rating called Heart value. The heart value takes in account what plan the customer is on etc. Once the dish is installed the person then OWNS the dish and can move it anywhere you want. If you move the dish to your new home yourself and something happens you would be charged a $49 fee for a tech to come out to fix it. Just don’t tell them you moved.

  6. I had to vote no to the question. I do not like paying for something that I might never use. If I decide to move I will pay whatever charges are required. This would be quite a windfall for the companies that provide these services.

    If this was an optional service I might consider it if I moved often.

    1. Agreed. The company should offer “Relocation Waivers” which covered the cost of moving the service and disclose it upfront. People could then make an informed choice as to which risk they preferred

      1. But as we alreadly know, people will still go for the higher risk price and then write a consumer advocate for help knowing rules are meant to be bent or broken.

  7. I’ll have to remember to complain to the media whenever a company does something I don’t like, because the average Joe Six Pack would never get a $100 credit out of this and nor do I think they should. Was the fee not clearly disclosed? Quite probably. Does it cost DirecTV money to pay to have someone re-install equipment if someone moves? Quite certainly. If someone has had their service for less than a year and asks DirecTV to put it somewhere else, $238 is not unreasonable IMO. They’re a cable company, not general contractors and it would severly eat away at their bottom line if they had to re-install everyone’s gear every six months for free. OP could have re installed the equipment themselves if they didn’t want to pay.

      1. I concur, but there is a difference between ‘not clearly’ and ‘not at all’. If they are not disclosed at all that would be a problem for DirectTV and foolish on their part, but I don’t think it would compel them to move equipment for free or at less than their cost. If it exists but isn’t clear, it may just say ‘if you move, a fee may apply’ which means there is some kind of fee. The amount should have been specified but most people would read the agreement and think it would be a ‘reasonable fee’, which in my opinion $238 is reasonable.

  8. I really hate these services (telephone, TV etc.) where you’re obligated to enter into a long term agreement and get penalized when you want/need to cancel. Is it any wonder sites like Hulu and “no contract” phone services are becoming so attractive? We’re a mobile society, just the way it is. I say, find an easier way to install/maintain your product because if you don’t, your competition will (already has).

    1. You’re rarely obligated to enter into a long term contract. All you have to do is pay for the full cost of the equipment that you’re buying. Pay the $800 or so for the iPhone and you don’t have to worry about being stuck in a contract.

      Of course, if you anticipate being with the carrier for the contract period, why not take the discount. Even consumer reports suggests that you may as well upgrade since you aren’t getting a discount by foregoing the contract.

      Curiously though, I think Satellite contracts may be actually a weird rental.

      1. I can understand cellphone carriers having the long term contract because they are subsidizing a phone. However, it makes no sense to me, other than to lock you in so they don’t have to provide quality service, for cable and satellite service to do it when you don’t get to keep the equipment.

        But then again, you need to watch out with the cellphone providers too. I added a new line to my family plan and provided my own phone and they tried putting me into a two year contract! They tried slipping that by me by quick talking over the terms.

        1. When I signed up for satellite a few years back I asked about not being tied into a contract and was told I could buy the dish and LNB for $400 and pay $50 for installation and then go month to month. They were very clear that regardless of what I did, I had to rent the receivers and that they were part of the monthly fee and that I had to return them in the end. So I think the contract subsidy is only covering the dish and installation, and after my contract I was stuck with a useless dish. But it was mine to keep.

          1. “I could buy the dish and LNB for $400”

            That is a bit excessive for just a dish and lnb. A few years back I purchased a complete set up, dish, lnb, and receive, from a reseller for under $200. From my recent dealings with DirecTV, $400 is the purchase price for their HD DVR receiver.

          2. As of the new year of 2013 Directv no longer sells receivers to customers They do however allow no contract for a higher cost on receivers.

          3. make sure to ask them as most are leased not sold. I had many customers that did not read that part.

          4. After I posted that message, I went and looked up some. I found several with bold lettering saying it was not a lease.

          5. Im sorry where did I say all were? I said Directv does not sell them. And i said to read the paperwork. As an FYI even if you own them you pay $6 a month per box.

          6. Huh? Say all were what?

            In regards to the $6/month, that is the access fee for an extra receiver. You either pay the $6/month or you open a separate account at a much higher rate.

          7. When I signed up for Cable a few years ago, Best Buy had a deal where you got the self install package for FREE and they gave you a $150 gift card. Even the install from the cable company was free since where I was living was already wired and all they had to do was flip the switch on. No luck with anything similar now that I want satellite.

    2. Thanks for the feedback folks! I hear what you all are saying but personally, I’m downsizing. That’s how aggravated I’ve become with it all! I’ve asked myself how badly do I really need to pay exorbitant prices for…connectivity. Do I REALLY need to have a “phone” that’s not a phone but connects me to everything, everywhere at all times? At what price? No I really need 500 channels and my whole house connected? I’m tellin ya, I’m rethinking the whole thing, researching….

      1. As much as I hate all of the companies, I think I worked out a good deal with ComCast. I have a high speed internet package and my own cable modem, then for $10 a month more they added economy cable. I get ~30 channels which includes the local ones. Its a fixed price, not a promotional price, so it doesn’t double every 6 months requiring me to sign up for a new promotion.

  9. She does not mention what kind of new place she’s moving to. Since she is currently in a “building”, not specifically a home, she is probably moving into another building where there are multiple residents. Installations are far different on a building where there are multiple residents. Who knows what kind of wiring the installers will have to run, or how far they will have to run it? Who knows just where on this building they will have to install the dish? With these unknowns, it’s hard to say if the fee is actually unreasonable or not.

    However, DirecTV should clearly disclose the moving fees. It should be on the document that the customer signs at time of installation, and should have a place for the customer to initial that the fee is disclosed and understood. I always read any place on any document where they want my initials.

  10. The building buyer is the one responsible for paying for the move. The beatdown ought have been with the owner, not the subscriber or DirecTV

  11. I don’t know how to vote on this one. My parents had DirectTV and when I helped them sign up for the service, the rep on the phone and the one in person both made sure we understood that there was a $250 fee if they had to move their service. That fee was even in the promotional paperwork and initial snail mails they received. Granted, this was in 2003, so I don’t know how much things have changed since then, but sure enough, we all moved not long after that, and they were prepared with the $250 fee.

    I’m hearing that DirectTV and Dish Network are not disclosing a lot when people sign up, so I’m not sure what to think of it. The prices are competitive here in our area, but the only reason we don’t sign up is because of the Internet access… cable is much faster than what either satellite service is offering.

  12. I am inclined to want to go after the new property owner who terminated the lease. Did the lease allow for termination? If so, did it say who would be responsible or fees as a result? Unless they are a month-to-month renter, then I think the property owner should be responsible for the fee as it was a direct result of them terminating the lease. If they re month-to-month, then I would be inclined to believe the OP should have been aware of the risk when signing a 2 year contract and they should have to pay.

    I remember looking at condo’s and so many of them had leases, and the sellers disclosed that if I bought the property the lease was valid through a certain date, and I could not take possession of the property until the lease period ended. Also, when I rented out my place, the lease agreement stated that the lease could only be terminated under certain reasons, and both parties had to agree, and the initiator of the termination would be responsible for the other parties expenses. The attorney that helped us said that was standard verbiage for all leases.

    As far as the poll, I voted no. I sort of like how Direct TV does it now. After a year of service you get 1 free move. That seams like a compromise between both poll answers. That way you don’t have every costumer paying more to subsidize people who move every few months, but there is still some subsidy for people who move occasionally.

    1. “I sort of like how Direct TV does it now.”

      Just be aware that under their current mover deal, they put you under a two year contract if you take advantage of the offer. That was one reason I dropped them when I last moved.

      1. Oh that stinks! So if I move after 1.5 years, I essentially have a 3.5 year contract? Sneaky jerks. Can I call direct TV jerks?

        I dropped them a long time ago after I moved and the new building did not have light of sight. My contract stated that if I moved for employment related reasons and was unable to have service in the new location that they would waive the termination fee. After I sent in my lay off letter, and my new job letter that was 1,200 miles away, they told me that the contract also states “The terms and conditions may change at any time without notice.” And they said that they no longer waive the fee due to a change in the contract. They agreed to downgrade my service to the cheapest plan and I paid out my last few months and then canceled. Then the jerks charged me for 1 additional month after the contract ended. I fought it, and was sent to a collection agency. I finally paid it to get them off my back. I wish I knew about Chris back then, but its beyond the statute of limitations now and I have not and will not use satellite again.

        1. If they do it like Sprint does with their upgrade contracts then what happens is the current contract is terminated and a new two year contract is started. So the contract date would be two years from the date of the move and not two and a half years (2 years for move plus remaining 6 months based on your example).

          That “terms may change without notice” got me recently. Personally, I don’t feel that type of clause is or should be legal. DirecTV added a new fee and increased one on my service and used that excuse. I posed them a simple question of, “based on that clause, you could add a new fee of $1000/month and the customer would have no choice but to pay it?” There response was, “We would never do that.” Yeah. But according to that clause you could if you wanted to.

          1. My employer tried to add such a clause in my employment contract! I objected by crossing it out before signing it. They of course wanted to know why I crossed it out, and I explained that it was a violation of “due process” to change a contract without both parties agreeing (I have no idea whether that’s a true legal term for this situation, but it sounded cool). They agreed to let the contract stand with my “modification,” however I doubt DirectTV/etc lets you modify their contracts like this.

    2. If the tenant had to move, then it probably wasn’t a breach of the lease agreement. Some early terminations include sale of the entire building, foreclosure, bankruptcy, etc. Either way, neither the former owner nor the new owners would be liable under those circumstances.

      1. This depends on where you live. In many areas, even if the entire building (or property if it is a multi building apartment complex) is sold, the new owner cannot terminate the lease unless there there is a clause in the lease specifically including sale as an allowable reason for termination.

        1. True. The sale of a building doesn’t necessarily terminate a lease. However, since the OP was forced to move, we can infer the existence of a termination upon sale clause in the lease.

          1. Not necessarily. The OP may not know their rights and just accepted their word the lease was terminated. Since they are in Los Angeles, they may have been in a rent controlled area which gives them protection from just this type of situation. California law also provides some protection. If they were on a month to month however, all they have to get is a 30 day notice. Hard to know exactly without more information.

  13. Voted yes but the fee is excessive and should have been disclosed.
    Don’t know LA law but most leases, at least all I have been involved with go with the owner. The new owner must let tenants stay for the full term of the lease.

    1. Is it really excessive? That covers a dish being left at the old location (granted that’s the company’s decision, but still they’re still out a dish) and somebody coming out and installing a brand new dish at the new place. All for $238.

      And odds are the renter would still be in this same predicament even if they’d stayed through their whole lease. Lease starts on Day 1, they call DirecTV on Day 2 to start service…they’d still end up having to move before hitting the 1-year mark that DirecTV required. The only way they might have avoided that is if they’d signed up for DirecTV near the tail end of their previous lease. That’s possible, I suppose, but a really risky move for a renter.

  14. Not waiving the fee is fine, but they could have split it over more than one bill as the OP asked. No, they’re not a bank, but a little goodwill can go a long way.

    1. Then you aren’t aware of the the cost to install and run wire. We do this with our business and what you think to be reasonable isn’t. It wouldn’t even cover our costs for the time, gas and mileage let alone the actual installation costs.

  15. DirectTV should be more than willing to discount or waive the fee. She’s keeping their service, which will inevitably go up in price during her contract. These companies don’t lose money no matter what type of fight thy put up!

  16. I find the poll question not to make sense. The cost of your installation is calculated in the fee you pay monthly based on the minimum requirement needed to cover their costs. If you need to cancel, you aren’t completing your contract, thus you have to pay to cover the cost of the installation. We had our DirectTV satellite installed over a year ago and it took the installer a couple of hours to handle the installion and the pulling of the wire. We also do this for the equipment we sell to clients and there is a cost involved that isn’t free to the client. You are going to pay it one way or another.

  17. satellite tv is expensive and so are the xxtra taxes on it… and u do not even get to pick ur channels just the bundled things they offer so that little channels( which no one would want) are included to keep them alive i ‘m been told by DTV it is a federal regulation that u cannot pick the channels but must have what is packaged so u get a gizillion foreign channels and music(100 of them) no one needs or wants to pay for… sucks but what is left the 3 local channels…fun

  18. Maybe Chris can call the phone company, the power company, the gas company, etc. and get the fees reduced or waived there too.
    Millions of people move a year. If it were “free” then everyone who didn’t move would be subsidizing it. The money comes from somewhere. I sympathize with the person whose lease got terminated, but that happens. I don’t think the $238 fee was unreasonable at all. Would you drive to someone’s home, pick up their satellite dish, move it to a new location, set it up, and then configure and test it for $238? I wouldn’t.

  19. I can understand all the comments about the fee for moving should not be waived because of costs. However, there has been no discussion about the early termination fee. If the OP wanted to keep the service, they probably should pay something for the cost to install at the new location. But given the situation, I think DirecTV should have waived the early termination fee.

  20. This person had no idea they were going to have to move? Come on. Squatters can stay longer. This person,1, shoulda known and not had directv installed until they moved, or 2, prolonged their stay. Lets assume all of the story is true. It costs money to have satellite installed. If I move every month, do I expect them to move me free each time? No! They are trying to retain good standing customers that happen to be moving. It can cost couple hundred dollars to install. Either drop to the cheapest tier they have and wait out the year, or find a guy to install it on the side cheap. I would’ve done it for about $100 if it were a straight forward job. Suck it up and pay the freight

    1. Go back and reread the story. First paragraph…

      “The building I live in has been sold and all leases have been terminated, including mine.”

      This was not a planned move. There is a good chance the tenets had no prior notice that the building was going to be sold. So how could this person, 1, known and not had DirecTV installed or 2, prolonged their stay? They were being evicted.

      In this case, the tenet needed to present the new owner the bill for the costs of moving.

  21. I ran into this exact issue today. We are a month shy of our 1 year mark. Same scenario except not an apt but a lease to own property that we were notified was being foreclosed on. That left us scrambling to find a new home. Last thing I expected was to be hit with moving fees from DirecTV. I called as was basically told I was SOL and was given the option to cancel service since the termination fee was pretty much the same as the move fee. I was also advised that had I been a customer that had a higher priced subscription package or purchased more pay per view options I may have been able to get a more reduced move rate. Wow…talk about making a customer feel unimportant. I guess my husband and I will have talk that over.

    1. Pay the cancelation fee and get Dish. 🙂 Their packages are less expensive and you aren’t forced to pay for sports packages you don’t want.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: