Utility Watchdog in San Diego

UCAN has received many complaints about DirecTV from disgruntled consumers. If you're a victim of DirecTV, please complete a  Request for Assistance form with UCAN. If you signed up for a bundled AT&T / DirecTV package in California, you may also want to file a complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission at https://ia.cpuc.ca.gov/cimsapp/

Among the abuses reported to UCAN and elsewhere on the Internet are:

Misleading advertising - DirecTV entices new viewers with ads for low prices in big print while hiding a multitude of fees, planned rate changes and other terms in print too small to read.

ETF - DirecTV locks consumers into a two-year contract with a $480 early termination fee without disclosing the terms or even its existence. DirecTV, often without notice or authorization, then charges the consumer's credit card or debit card (tied to a checking account) for the ETF plus hundreds more in equipment fees when the consumer cancels DirecTV.

Rebate confusion - In order to obtain a promotional rate, customers sometimes have to submit a rebate. Customers who submit the rebate form after installation may be charged full price for their service for up to two months. Those who fail to return the rebate within 60 days of an order are charged the full price indefinitely – even if DirecTV failed to adequately inform them of the need to mail the form.

Charging for "free" services, installation and upgrades - The company advertises “free” installation and upgrades such as an HD receiver, DVR receiver or premium channels such as HBO and Starzz. In fact, customers may be required to pay monthly fees for the equipment. The premium channels are offered as a free trial that automatically converts into a paid subscription.

Contract extensions - DirecTV not only requires customers to agree to an extended contract at the beginning of service, but attempts to extend those terms even further. The company extends the length of contracts when customers require equipment repairs, upgrade equipment or move.

Undisclosed financing requirements - DirecTV fails to disclose that the company’s least expensive package of $29.99 per month is only available to customers who meet certain financing conditions and agree to have the costs automatically charged or debited.

Protection plan - Many customers are not aware they have been signed up a $5.99 monthly "protection plan" which DirecTV may charge $10 to cancel.

Non-return of deposit - DirecTV requests a customer's Social Security Number to run a credit check. Those who do not provide their SSN or those who do not pass the credit check may be required to pay a $200-$300 deposit to get service.  Those who cancel service prior to the end of their contract lose part of the deposit and may also be charged cancellation fees.

Misleading promises of cash back - DirecTV ads show promises of cash back from $50 to $200 for referrals or moving, but consumers do not get any cash. Instead, they may get a $5 or $10 bill credit over several months.