Oct 8, 2010

How To of the Week: Cancel DIRECTV?


How To of the Week: Cancel DIRECTV?

Alright. So I decided to cancel DIRECTV. Right in the middle of football season. I don't watch TV aside from football, but I can just watch it somewhere else. I signed up for DIRECTV back in 2008 and have passed my two-year agreement. I leased two receivers and bought an additional one. The only extra service I have subscribed to in the past with them is the NFL Sunday Ticket. There was a little cancellation fiasco that followed. I have not actually canceled my contract with them yet, but I want to cancel it. I'm done. I hope to God that this process goes smoothly, but I have my doubts.

Q: How does one go about cancelling DIRECTV?
A: I have no idea.

Well, I have a good guess, I suppose. After Googling "cancel DIRECTV" and reading through a few dozen forums, I am left with a gloomy feeling that I have a better chance of winning the lottery than picking up the phone, canceling the TV, and having it all go according to plan. To my amazement (but not really) there is no way to cancel a DIRECTV subscription on their website. You actually have to call them. That means dealing with their shithole automated attendant. I was thinking about doing this during my hour long lunch break, but the success rate of pulling this off is looking pretty dim.

I usually don't read the fine print of stuff I sign up for. I'm on of those people. I dug into this a little bit though, and here are some interesting tidbits:

  • You agree to pay for 24 consecutive months of a $29.99/month or greater programming package.
  • Cancellation Fee: If you do not fulfill your Programming Agreements, DIRECTV may charge you a pro-rated fee of up to $480.
  • Deactivation Fee: If you deactivate your service, or we deactivate your service, we may charge you a deactivation fee of $15.
  • You agree to return leased equipment to DIRECTV upon disconnecting your service. If you do not return the equipment, DIRECTV may charge fees from $45 to $250 per receiver.

1) I've had the service for longer than 24 consecutive months. Moving on.
2) More fine print stuff. Hopefully this doesn't apply to me.
3) Deactivation fee? Wait... Doesn't this fall under the cancellation fee? What's the difference? Apparently, crapping my pants and shitting my pants are two different things.
4) It does not go into detail here, but if you cancel the service, you have a particular 7 to 21 day window to return the equipment that you leased. It is unclear how this is applicable to receivers that were purchased from a 3rd party vendor.

On the surface, if I am reading this correctly, I could get hit with an unknown cancellation fee, up to $480, a $15 deactivation fee, and $250 per receiver x 2 = $500 if I can't return the boxes in the given time frame. I'm not a math expert, but if this all fails, I think this adds up to over a grand. Then we have to take into consideration the hassle from their sales people in regard to keeping the service. I read multiple reviews online that depicted scenarios where an individual that canceled their subscription received several phone calls a day about staying with DIRECTV. The last thing I want is more phone calls and emails. See Gym Membership Renewel Rant.

All I know is I have my Account #, their customer service hotline 1-800-531-5000, and an impatient, hopeless, angry demeanor towards getting this shit done. We'll see how this goes...