Is DirecTV guilty of “false advertising”?

Photo of author

By Christopher Elliott

Caren Rickert orders DirecTV service after a rep promises the reception will be as good or better than Comcast. But it isn’t.

Question

We recently ordered DirectTV service based on information received from the company’s sales team that turned out to be wrong. We think DirecTV is guilty of false advertising.

A representative told us our reception would be good, if not better, than Comcast Cable. This is not true. We had Comcast before we got DirectTV, so we know this for sure. We have a high-end television for which we paid $5,000. Our picture quality was greatly reduced with DirectTV.

I was also told we would have all the same HD channels I had with cable. Not true. We couldn’t get certain channels, including WCCO.

I canceled our service immediately. We were not informed during any of our conversations that we didn’t have a right to cancel our service if we were dissatisfied. Yet now we are being charged a $460 Early Cancellation Fee. Under the circumstances, I don’t believe the fee is fair. Can you help? — Caren Rickert, Osseo, Minn.

Answer

You switched to DirecTV after talking with a company representative. In that conversation, they didn’t disclose all the terms and conditions of your purchase, and they couldn’t have disclosed them. This reminds me of a similar case.

DirecTV sent you a confirmation letter after you placed your order. The letter explained the Early Cancellation Fee, which is a penalty for not completing a 24 month agreement. DirecTV agreed to credit you $20 for your first month, but billed you for the rest. That’s a steep price to pay.

I canceled my DirecTV service, but they still charged me

To avoid an unpleasant surprise like this, you might have done a little research before placing your order. DirecTV’s terms are clearly disclosed on its website. The $480 fee is revealed in its equipment lease addendum. Neither of these documents are light reading or even easy to find on the DirecTV site. It wouldn’t surprise me if your agreement letter glossed over this little fee, too. (Related: Help! DirecTV is charging $235 for my move.)

Minnesota state law has a three-day cooling off period for home solicitation sales, but even if this had qualified as a home solicitation, you were past the three-day mark. A check with DirecTV reveals no record of any technical support call to the company, so the first time it says it heard from you was when you phoned it to cancel your service. (Here’s our guide to resolving your consumer problem.)

Insubuy is the premier online marketplace for travel insurance, visitors insurance, international travel medical insurance, international student health insurance, and exchange visitors insurance for individuals, groups, multinational companies, international workers, and others. Visit insubuy.com to get instant quotes, make side-by-side comparisons, and make an instant purchase of most insurance plans.

The only leg you had to stand on was the fact that DirecTV promised you a service it couldn’t deliver, and that’s gotta count for something.

My advocacy team and I contacted the company on your behalf and relayed your disappointment with its service. A representative circled back with you and agreed to credit half the cost of the Early Cancellation Fee. Even though DirecTV believes its cancellation fee is valid, it agreed to “close the book” on your concerns and meet you halfway. You accepted the refund.

Is DirecTV guilty of "false advertising"?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
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. He is based in Panamá City.

Related Posts