Free TV – but what’s the catch?

You’ve seen the attention-grabbing ads. Get DIRECTV’s satellite TV packages for as little as $19.99 a month for a year! Throw in HBO and Showtime – “free for 3 months.” It’s enough to make you “ditch cable now” and head straight into orbit with satellite TV. But before you pop the corn and head to the couch, listen to this. The FTC says DIRECTV didn’t give consumers the whole scoop and their viewers got stuck with charges they didn’t know about or approve.

The FTC has charged DIRECTV with deceptive advertising for claiming consumers could sign up for a discounted 12-month service contract but never revealing some key conditions: DIRECTV required consumers to commit to a two-year contract – and during the second year, they hiked up the monthly fee. If you wanted to cancel before the end of the contract, you faced some pretty big cancellation fees, up to $480.                                               

Adding insult to injury, that “free for 3 months” offer for HBO or other premium channels was really a negative option. If you didn’t remember to cancel before the end of the trial period, DIRECTV signed you up and billed you for the premium channels – which cost around $48 per month. According to the FTC, DIRECTV typically enrolled consumers into the promotion without clearly telling them that they needed to cancel before the end of the trial to avoid being charged. 

Whether or not you ditch cable now, you should check out the details of any deal. When it comes to free offers, do some research.

  • What’s the buzz? See what other people are saying about a company's free trials — and its service. Complaints from other customers can tip you off to "catches" that might come with the trial. Search the name of the company and “complaint” or “review.”
  • What are you getting? Find the terms and conditions. If you can’t find them, or if you can’t understand exactly what you're agreeing to, don't sign up.
  • Watch out for pre-checked boxes. If you sign up for a free trial online, look for already-checked boxes. That checkmark may give the company the green light to continue the offer past the free trial or sign you up for more products — only this time you have to pay.
  • Mark your calendar. Your free trial probably has a time limit. Once it passes without you telling the company to cancel your "order," you may be on the hook for more products.
  • What’s your exit strategy? Look for info on how you can cancel future shipments or services. If you don't want them, do you have to pay? Do you have a limited time to respond?
  • Read your credit and debit card statements. That way you'll know right away if you're being charged for something you didn't order.


Tagged with: advertising, free trial
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


I signed up for one of their "free trials" for a channel package and marked my calendar. I called that date to cancel and only received a partial credit because it was in the middle of the billing cycle. The free trials to not align with the billing cycles so it will never be "free".

Everyone (not just you) needs to know that there's no reason to mark your calendar to cancel sometime near the end of the deal. Call back the next day and cancel (give it a day for their systems to be caught up).

The agreement is for X days of free whatever. Canceling early doesn't negate that agreement. There's no advantage to you for waiting to cancel. There's always an advantage for the company.

It's a game. They are out for themselves and we, the consumer, are out for ourselves. But they've played it so long they are the experts. I've encountered the first-year discounted offer but it clearly was with the understanding (and the store rep made sure I understood) that it would be higher the 2nd year. The free channels, NFL SUnday ticket, etc. all have to be accounted for. I'd just say listen, listen, listen and read the things they ask you to sign. It's all there......somewhere :)

This is the biggest rip off Co. I have been involved in in my life. They lie to you about everything. I never signed any agreement because the installer tore up our TV cabinet ripping out the old box and cords . He was so rude and careless. He left trash all over the house. When he gave me something to sign when he was done I refused ! He then called his supervisor. Then a little while later he tried to hand me another r thing to sign and I also refused to sign that one too. He again called his supervisor. I told him to hit the road and take all his trash with him. It was the worst service I have ever had from any Co.

IF YOU LOOK AT YOUR ORDER IT GIVES DETAILS BEFORE YOU HAVE SERVICE INSTALLED with complete information and you can't just pick the parts you want to see.

My order only asked that someone be there that is over 18.

Great. Now how about putting an end to a 35 year FRAUD called Herbalife?

So much for the gullible Rob Lowes out there!

Please also add to the charges that Directv arbitrarily increase programming package price during the promotion period, and equipment lease charge wherein the terms and condition do not specify that they can do so.

I agree with Thang Luu because it has happened to me as well. They increase the bills without prior notification and nothing that I can remember reading says that they can do that. Also, I've been stuck in a two year contract with no knowledge beforehand. So now I ask when I make changes if its going to extend my contract because I don't want to be committed to one company like that. I should be allowed to price match and go where it's cheaper for me. And By the way, please do something to stop these companies from charging so much to people who have limited fixed incomes. If I could get a picture on free TV I wouldn't have to pay!

If you are on a fixed income why dont you get internet and use Hulu or something. Cable and satellite are both luxuries not necessities.

That implies that Internet services in your area are even fast enough to do internet streaming and also implies that Hulu would even have the programs you want to see.

A luxury? Not if you live where there is no television service without it. If I had my cable disconnected I could not even watch my local news to find out when and where tornadoes are hitting in my area. Things I need to know to stay alive, especially since I live in a mobile home that has to be evacuated in these situations.

Same thing here, Thang Luu. I have to call every month because my bill is never the same. We have no movie channels at all and every bill is different. And, they also raised prices during the 1st year. I called and called, always some different excuse and they would credit me and add it back the next month. We are out in the country so we don't have many choices.

The exact thing happened to me. I was with DirecTV for 2 years and I had at least 18 different amounts billed in the 24 months. They will not credit bogus charges if they are over one billing period old while you are still under contract, but once you are past 24 months, they will give credit for past 6 months. I just "served" my 24 months and called them, got credit for a lot of them and next day called them and cancelled.

I agree with you directv billed me double of what I was supposed to. I found a legal way to cancel services. Now I just hope the ftc can get some of my money back.

We just signed up with directv not even 30 days ago. The bill already came and the charges were about $ 100.00 more then expected for only about 3 weeks of service. But that's not even the only reason we want out. The 1st remote didn't work and we had to wait days to get a new one. There's still problems with the new one. Every other time I turn on the TV, it tells me I've lost connection, and to try to reboot. When it rains or is windy, we lose the picture totally or the picture scrambles. I shudder to think what would happen in an ice or snow storm! There was no way for us to know this in a 24 hour period. After this happened a few times, we tried to cancel because the picture is so bad, we couldn't imagine paying for this for 2 years. Of course, they said too bad. Would you mind sharing how you got out legally?

I just had the same problem yesterday AND today - the picture froze then stopped & was in a continual cycle of "connecting" & "failed to find server"
The tech was out today & replaced the box in my bedroom & tested the one in the living room & said all was well. The main box won't even turn on so naturally, all TV's are out ....Twice in 24 hours ....Im definitely ready to cancel them

I agree Direct TV just assumes I feel you won't notice. Told them from day 1 no Sunday NFL what do I get charges for NFL Sunday Football. Seems charges are always adding up on the bill. My contract expires and then they are gone. They are 100 times worse than DISH TV, They know how to get your money and they just keep on going,

Direct TV was bought by AT&T after my husband unexpectedly passed. They didn't want to honor "his" Acct & required me to apply for a new Acct, buut continued to bill his AMX credit card which I could not cancel since he had died. AMX told me to apply for my own Acct, same with my AT&T phone when they refused to owner our Family Plan rates since 2001; yet all would Aceppt Payment from me on his Accts! I switched to Verizon, but they continued to be billed by AT&T . I started my own Direct TV via a mailer "2yr contract speacial Sept 2016. $31.99 month. They tagged on extra fees, maintenance contract thatI refused, etc. and continued billing my dead husband's card which was in collections, so I got billed late fees when Pmnt was denied! After 5 months of hours of disputing the bills every month for added fees with foreign bill Depts the bill iOS better but still >$50! They clearly have false advertising with clever bait & switch during installation & billing. NEVER authorize an AUTO pay credit card for Pmnt because they will add service, rental & rate increases with deceptive billing & Ad Offers. FCC & FTC needs to put a stop to this since prior complains have not changeged & its unfair biz practice w/AT&T new schemes. They tell you one thing but the fine print is cleverly worded to mislead!

I totally agree with all this about Direct Tv especially since they merged with AT&T. They got me hook, line, & sinker! Now im stuck with hidden charges going on my excellent credit record i didnt even know about the $480.00 and then some with a total of $607.57 they still can't explain to me what the charges are for!!!!! I even sent their reciever back and they did take off a pitiful $45.00 . Direct Tv i use to think you guys wasda bomb now you blow!!!! Sweetcherrypie

That's a fact! My DirecTV bill has doubled since AT&T took over. Before that DirecTV had friendly, helpful customer service reps that would always have a promotional credit, or credits to apply to my account. March's DirectTV bill is my last.

Yes, I believe that direc rips customers off you should look into them charging us customers like me for not sending equipment back an being charged $ 300 when I sent it threw our local post office because ups doesn't do that anymore I even went back to talk to our post office people an they told me we send these back all the time put in cage an send back so I told directv... so what are you saying the us post office is lie ing an I hung up with them I hear this happen to a lot of people an friends all the time .. concerned consumer please look into this matter , Thank you

Their billing system is questionable to say the least.

Try signing up for consumer cellular for $10 a month and see what you get charged even if you don't use your phone for the whole month.

TracPhone, no shenanegans, ever.

I've been hit by Directv's deceptive advertising so many times I am ready to give them up for good. On top of all that, we are also paying good money for shop at home tv we NEVER watch or even like, same with Spanish tv, ethnic programming and the many many music channels we have no interest in.

I agree, I was on the phone with these idiots for two hours about this crap. I signed up about seven months ago and am now paying twice as much than I agreed to. Told them, if I want to shop I will go to the mall. If I want to listen to music, I will play a CD. If I want the word of God, I know where my church is. And please don't even get me started on all the sports channels. I was told that I get the football package for free just because I signed up. It's funny how I have a charge on my bill for it. Direct TV calls it a service charge.

I have experienced similar scenarios with Direct TV's hidden charges! It's about time FTC stopped this company from denying a consumer's right of cancelation without penalty, when a consumer's rights are violated!

I appreciate the FTC looking out for consumers but as far as I'm concerned this one is 100% in the consumers' court. DirecTV's ads and brochures contain all the information about what the charges will be. The $19.99 says "with 24 month commitment" and the $19.99 specifies it's only for 12 months. How is it the fault or responsibility of DirecTV if consumers don't bother to read the terms of the offer? Presumably these are adults we're talking about. Again, I'm all for consumer protection which I believe is a very necessary safeguard, but I also believe that if adults want to participate in the marketplace and purchase goods and services, they need to acknowledge their RESPONSIBILITIES as well as their rights. It's not that much to ask that they simply READ the offer, nor is it that difficult either to read or understand.

Well congratulations, Marcie. I will refer to someone like you next time I need to grab a cup of coffee and lunch, and a half hour that I could waste somewhere else, to read through 18 pages of small print to make sure I know every detail pertaining to the contract I'm about to sign.
We're all people, we have our faults, and of millions of Americans we have only a few people like myself that have fallen into the "I don't have to time to read all this" trap.
Next time I download an app, "agree to the following terms" or some such thing, I'll make sure and remember to send it to you because you have the time to do so.

do you often sign contracts without reading them?

You should always read every contract you sign. That's called being an adult 101.

That's kind of a silly over-exaggeration. The phrases are right there in short, plain english. Even on the graphic attached to this article. "[price] for 12 mo." and "All directv offers require 24-month agreement."  Forget your ridiculous "18 page" nonsense drama. It's right there on the ad.

So Boilermaker, if you buy a house i guess you won't be reading the 100's of paper you'll be signing either?...

Marcie, Direct TV should not offer good deals that are not deals at all once you look at the fine print. Some older people and less educated people are unable to read or understand the fine print. Long story short, Direct TV is praying on these individuals, talk about UNFAIR!

some speak about agreements in writing, my deal was offered on the phone. I told the International rep if he was telling me things that weren't true I'd track him down since I'm tired of scammers. He gave me what is said to be an employee number. He told me I got HBO and movie channels, no mention about 3 mos. He told me I'd receive a $300 visa card to use on the bill or for shopping but when I finally saw my online set up it is for $100. I asked him specifically if this was for 12 mos and he said yes so I said that sounds fair since I'd be getting the visa, he never said anything about 24 mos. Promises and more but when the time comes I believe they say anything to get a person to sign up. So then when I call AT&T the lady is all about taking care of me and will get the $200 credit towards my bill. I also explained to her that I received a letter from Direct TV explaining the various charges and services, however it came AFTER the instal. This also included the equipment for two rooms which wasn't told to me, I was given an exact amount per month. I said to a lady at Direct TV so this is how it goes, the Direct TV rep tells people anything they choose to get a person to sign up and then you try to "fix" things if someone catches it? I told her I would be reporting to the Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau. Why AT&T who is supposed to be a reputable company would buy out Direct TV and allow this is beyond me! I've not gotten my first bill but I've had Internet problems and when wanting to start at the beginning of the program it says my speed isn't good enough. I had Uverse prior but it was time for a new contract and although I enjoy the tv choices I believe I was scammed when initially signing up. Oh yes one rep told me I could continue on with HBO for $5 a month, truly? It all seems like a scam to me and again I had no brochure or ad to read, this was all done on the phone with a guy who said he's in the Philippines. Seems to me too many companies are relying on overseas resources such as Petco, Sears, and others.

I agree with BoilerMaker, and that would be when it's in writing. There are times when DirecTV calls us to our home phone to inform us that we are eligible for a free 3-month trial of HBO, Starz and Encore (or whatever) and when I get the bill, I've been charged. I immediately call them to complain, but then they explain it in a totally different way. I insist that it is not the way it was offered to me and that I want it cancelled and the charge removed from my bill. In all fairness, I will say that they do make the correction every time I've had an issue. Now, the one major issue I have with DirecTV, is that they want to charge for service on their equipment when we call with a problem, unless we enroll in their Protection Plan for $10.00 per month! I refuse to pay for service or a protection plan for equipment that is not ours. If we pay for usage of a company's equipment on a monthly basis for whatever length of time that we have, then the service to fix THEIR FAULTY equipment should be fixed at NO CHARGE. I have not purchased the equipment; they rent it. When we moved to Georgia, DirecTV installed faulty equipment, so we had problems since day one and it took over a year before the problem was finally corrected. Why should we pay for a protection plan or for them to fix THEIR faulty equipment? I actually had Cingular for my cell phone, but unfortunately they got bought out by AT&T. I never had an issue with Cingular.

Unfortunately, I do have to say that DirecTV is not the only company with unfair issues; I used to have cable TV with Comcast and cancelled them because of issues with them too, but they just didn't care! My sister tried Dish because they offered her a "good deal", but they lied. She quickly switched back to DirecTV.

I also have had my share of problems with AT&T with the Cellphone Division. I order a particular family plan that fits our needs at a reasonable rate, but then someone at their office changes our plan to a much more expensive plan that we don't even need, without our knowledge! This has happened moe than once, including just recently. I used to call the local customer service and they would fix it within one or two calls. For this most recent issue, I had to call their corporate office to complain and threaten to go with another company because the manager of the local office would not budge and would only give me a $25.00 credit for an approximate $250.00 mistake on my bill!!! I also filed a consumer complaint with the FTC.

i totally agree with u,this is one the consumer,i get ads/pamphlets/letters from dtv at leas 3 times a week in my mail,unlike most people i dont just jump at something because it is a good deal,like the old saying goes if it sounds too good to be true it probably isnt,i bother to take the extra few minutes to read the fine print and terms and conditions,the ads clearly state what you get and how you will be penalized if you dont keep up your end of the contract,if a consumer doesnt bother reading all the information then they have no one to blame but themselves.having said that i would never subscribe to their(or any other companys)services when you can get the exact same content on the web for free

"It's a bedrock principle that the key terms of an offer to a consumer must be clear and conspicuous, not hidden in fine print."

That's the catch -- the terms weren't clear and/or conspicuous.

I agree with Marcie, Although I do believe Directv along with all other Cable/TV/Internet providers, will come up with as many excuses as possible to get your money. People have to READ... The responsibility is yours not the provider to READ... At no time ever did I not realize before signing up that 1. It was a two year contract. 2. That my rates would go up after the first 12 months. 3. That after nine months HBO and other movie channels would cost extra. 4. That if I decided to break my contract with them that I would be charged an extraordinary price for doing so. The majority of that information is not in the "fine print" at the bottom of the add it is within the add with and * next to the promotional price. Take responsibility for your own actions, its not the governments job to protect you from yourself.

Marcie, what happens if you call to sign up, without even seeing an advertisement, and the rep says, hey, we have this special going on right now? Then what would you say to that? Eh, probably still in the consumers court, is what you're most likely thinking, lets see what happens if you don't read the fine print on your cell phone contract, and get hit with an extra charges that you never authorized. Take care.

I agree With you. People have to look at what they are getting into. I love directv

I agree with Marcie. I don't condone the practice, however, I agree that it is the consumer's responsibility to read the fine print of all contracts. It is not a new marketing concept, I believe it has been used since the early 1950's.

According to merriam-webster: "Full Definition of FINE PRINT: something thoroughly and often deliberately obscure; especially : a part of an agreement or document spelling out restrictions and limitations often in small type or obscure language"

It appears as though you may be making an overarching assumption. Not everyone who signs up with any service provider, whether it be cable, satellite, internet, mobile, etc, does so based on a print ad.

Amen Marcie!! I love the people that stated.... I should not have to read the contract I am signing.... grow up.. a contract is legal and binding - if you did not read it... how is that their fault....??? YOUR fault! Now grow up and learn from your mistakes.

I agree with Marcie. If you don't have time to read the fine print, don't sign up. If you are "old or uneducated" like another commenter said, have someone who isn't "old or uneducated" read it for you. There's nothing wrong with being old or uneducated, but there is something wrong with blaming your mistake on being old and uneducated. No excuses, read the fine print. If you choose to believe the ads (yes, it is a conscious choice), you inherit consequences, good and bad. "Poor me, I'm old and uneducated and they tricked me" is a statement for those who shun responsibility. Don't want to risk getting tricked? Don't put yourself in a position to get tricked. TV isn't necessity.

Time Warner Cable is offering the same promotion, for free Showtime for a year. I have a subscription to HBO for the last six years. I will heed your warning, and make sure to cancel Showtime before the one year offer expires.


Dish is doing the same thing. But they tell you the channel that don't get.

they did the same thing to me, and they have wreck my credit

It wouldn't surprise me if all the cable carriers offer free HBO, and other premiums channels at no cost for the first 3 months. The key is that after the 3 months are up, they don't stop showing those stations automatically. You have call to cancel. I found that out when my parents switched over to DISH a couple of years ago, and you can bet that when the 2 year contract was up they left DISH.

The thing is, you are told up front, with the cable companies, that if you don't want the movie and/or premium channels, you need to call up before the end of the free period. According to the article, it does not say that in the advertisements, and when you call, the Reps are not advising it, like the Cable Comapnies do.

This is true of TWC as well. I cannot imagine that any of the cable providers who terminate that service automatically. These companies are "for profit" so they will exploit any human weaknesses to generate money.


yes and we (my wife and i) gotted stuck in more than one promotionsand it is about time someone done something about these companys that do this

YEP! Exactly what happened to us. In short, where our monthly bill was around $75/month, now 14 months or so into the 1 year contract (that somehow turned into 2 years) we're paying $144/month with basic channels and no frills TV. When this is over, I'm sending them back everything that belongs to them and going elsewhere, even if it's just antenna tv.
How can anyone in their right mind, just raise the monthly payment but give up nothing else in return?

Dish does the same thing are you also looking into it?

Comcast does the same thing. I will not comment to a contact no more. My contact run out in October of last year. Directv said I owned 275.00 and I didn't they nicely took it out of my checking account so beware.

I too sent back my room receiver and was told they never received it...still have not credited back my $45 either. So, what is the FCC going to do?

The FTC filed a complaint in court against DIRECTV, asking for a court order that permanently bars DIRECTV from engaging in the allegedly illegal conduct, and for a monetary judgment that could be used to provide refunds to people who were affected. Find out more in the DIRECTV press release.

At&t also charge if u cancel a contract before time u pay $450.00 or more ?

They sent me a bill. I asked them "What period was that for?" She couldn't answer. And hung up on me.

We had got the diect TV NFL promo. Which called to stop by the next season. They said they would tkae it off but didn't we called back & was told the season had strated & they could not do it. Finally after we complianed more they removed it.Other family member had same problem & switched carriers because they refused to take the NFL off.Glad FTC got them.

Marcie's right on Wake up consumers and quit blaming someone else for your mistakes ...Direct is not alone Dish did it to me Cable One jack their prices sky high after losing ViaComm... You have to read everything. Ask questions... Recommend getting a local independent provider you can walk up and talk to ..

DirecTV did this to me- my bill increased by more than $45 a month suddenly and when I called to complain, they said all my discounts had "expired" and I was locked in to that higher price for another year. This was despite them telling me when I signed up that I was only signed up for a year and that at the end of the year I could sign up for any discount programs they had going as a "new" customer. Hopefully this ruling by the FCC will "unlock" me from this mess.

We got a package deal directv,Verizon phone and internet in the first 2 months we were getting bills from Verizon and directv they each said we had to call the other one. Finally we got fed and cancelled they went into our checking account and took $600 I tried but never got it back, apparently in their small print it said they could do this. NEVER AGAIN!!!!

Direct Tv AND Dishlatino they do The same THING The costumer...I'm passed tru this companies ...I'M cancel. The services before the 24 months and they charge me over $804..36 , because Im cancela contract before time..FOR me no dishlatino , no DirectTv and also no cómcast ...everything is the same...(donot trust this companys ) .

Direct TV was great in the past, but since AT&T took it over, we have had several problems with them. We have started calling them the AOL of Satellite TV.
We are switching to Dish when our time is up.

I actually used their box and shipping label and they say they never received it. So there is a bad report on the credit report.

why cant we just pay for the channels we want to watch?

I thought this was standard practice. They all seem to have vicious terms. If you're in an area with no options, it borders on extortion.

I was a customer for 13 kids grew up and moved out...after the last one left ,I sent the unused boxes back...a week later my son was flooded out of his apartment by a hurricane and had to move I called and wanted one of my boxes back...they wanted a 2 year commitment from me!...I told them my house was on the market and I may be moving ...when that happened they wanted to charge me 400 dollars!.....I'll use an antenna before I ever use their service again....

Direct Tv tells you the terms ,that will charge more the 2nd year and keep movie channels on if you dont call and cancel.Comcast does the same thing but charges more.

The main reason I am using Directv is NFL Sunday for a team that is not local. However, last year my team was on broadcast, or ESPN 9 times during the regular season and I am not paying an entire season rate for 7 games.

I moved after 4 months and was transferring my service, however i was then told that the city i was moving to there were no local channels available, then the "local channel" (Casper, Wyoming) would not give a waiver, so i was unable to get CBS, ABC, NBC or Fox, told them without the major channels i really didn't need the service, cost me 480.00 to cancel the service because they could not give me the channels i wanted

Amazing that so many customers are unable to understand the new customer process used by all major television providers: Little to no cost up front for equipment and installation. Two year agreements from the date of activation, with the first year discounted more heavily than the second. (It's not hidden in fine print...the basic information is included in all advertising, it's explained during the sales process, and you receive a copy of the agreement in advance of the installation.)

And, if those portions of the agreement are so well "hidden" from consumers, how is it that so many customers play a rotating game of changing providers every two years to accept more, new customer offers? In many cases, the drill is no different than how the cell phone companies get customers to sign up for "free" smart phones. Low cost equipment in exchange for two years of service.

Are you really buying any of what you just laid on us kurt? I was one of those ppl. A.sub contractor came by with an offer of for $20 cash today, we would get the first month of a 2 year contract with Directv for the $20, thereafter,$24.99 a month, after the 2 years, it would become full price. I even called directv when it had been 11 months, because now all of a sudden, the discount portion on my bill said 'for first 12 months. Do you kow what I was told? Oh, don't worry about that, Ms. N- it will just.start all over again next, when I next bill, it didn't reflect the discount, at which time they told me there was no discount after the first 12 months! If any paperwork had stated that, I sure didn't have it because I went through all the papers I got from the subcontractor, and the installation guy (also a sub contractor).Nada.Now, my nice $24.99 a month directv bill is 32.99, and little by little, they kept jacking my bill, I complained, they told me they notified me on my previous months bill, etc..... These corporate fat cats need to have to give us a refund ,but WITH AN APOLOGY! THEY OUGHT TO BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES!

Shame on them because that's another strike against them added to two others. 1. Some local channels, but not all, blocked out on only one receiver and 2. an extra charge they say has always been included but is now beginning to list it separated and two workers said it's a tax or a charge from the FCC. A quick phone call to the FCC and they have no fees to satellite companies at all. But thankfully after four phone calls they are crediting us $10 a month for a year and changed our box at no charge so we now receive all local channels. They ended by making it right.

I have a charge of $5.64 Regional Sport Fee which I didn't order...I renewed my package for 2 years and this charge appeared. They will not remove it either. I don't watch college basketball or local baseball games. They said I would have to go to a smaller package and lose most channels that I currently watch...nothing I can do..

This is not new. They have been doing this type of promo for years. Read the fine print! There's always fine print with stuff that sounds too good to be true!

when this contract is up, I am going back to Comcast...

They also charge for HD when you have an older TV that doesn't have that capability. I argued for months and finally canceled only to have them continue to bill me.

After signing up for ATT Uverse and getting DirecTV, I tried getting straight answers about what I was being charged and was told ask ATT and vice versa. And what about DirecTV dropping our local Lexington, KY station the very day of the NFL playoffs on network TV after having spent hundreds of dollars paying for NFL Sunday ticket to ensure I could watch games???? And what about that dispute going on for weeks with no automatic compensation?

They make the disclaimers 20 miles long in fine print so that the consumer will cave and sign up. People sign up for things every day all willy nilly thinking that the term "The customer is always right" will hold water. Wake up and smell your stack of bills dummys

What about the dish they leave on your house when you cancel? They just leave it there! I am going to invest in my own Satellite dish and never pay another cable or dish company again!

Sorry folks, I check my statement each month. I was upset that when I got My first tv with HDR in only one room, I had to pay for the full house. BUT a I have been with them 7 years. When I find the price goes up or just for no reason, I call talk about canceling. I get money off for 6-12 months. Sometimes they throw in a free premium channel for 3-4 months. They always tell me if it will automatically drop off or If I have to call in. If I call in a day late they just prorate for the time. Every consumer company has customer complaints. It is all how you talk to the rep on the phone OR say " can I speak to a manage?!

I've had DTV for 15yrs now and never had a problem. I have upgraded to the genie and still only pay $78 a month and that's a choice package. People need to read before they sign on the dotted line. Seriously if you can't read and understand then don't complain after you've signed!

I love my Directv programming however, I do think a class action law suit should be filed against them because they offer better deals to "NEW" customers than the customers who have been loyal to them for YEARS!!!!!

And did you not get great deals when you were a new customer ?

Abstinence from any TV is the solution! We have had no TV for 2.5 yrs now - it's liberating and think how much you would save in dollars and irritation!

We've had direct for years now,with no issues or problems. But I'm one to read the small print, and I don't mind to ask questions instead of just assuming I have a good deal. Wake up people, pay attention to what you are responsible for!

They also did this with their moving deal.

I was a customer for two years ... after the first 18 months I added a box for a TV in my office; that was a enough to retrigger the contract time, so when I cancelled I had to pay a fee to get out of the contract. To add insult to injury, they didn't even want the box I added back with the rest of the equipment returns

I guess they use the money they get from all these hidden charges to pay Rob Lowe.

I was told that if I called directv at the end of the one year they would give me a promotion and this ended up being a lie. When my bill jumped from $45 to $90 all they could tell me was sorry we cannot give you any offers right now call again next month. I guess you can't trust anything you don't get in writing.

Well, how about Dish Networks? After I finished my contract which by the way, more or less it’s the same as Direct Tv, I was approached with a hostile customer service after I told them to cancel my contract after 3 years. Moreover, they told me that I needed to return the equipment to include the electronic device on top of my roof. I asked them how I will do that because they were the one who used a professional who installed that equipment?. Furthermore, I was replied that if I did not return the complete equipment to include the LNB’s I was going to be charged $148.00. Well, I had to pay $75.00 to a professional installer to disconnect this equipment and not only that, they are charging me with the UPS shipping which they sent to me supposedly free of charge. I would have disconnected the equipment, but I am a disabled Veteran and my house roof, it’s about 40’ high since is two floors. I don’t think that I can climb the ladder with the prosthesis on my right leg. Finally, to make matters worse, in Puerto Rico, where I reside, their customer service is located either the Dominican Republic or Main land in the USA so I cannot go there in person and make a claim or punch someone for their abusive practices.

was charged extra for has taken 3 months to remove

DirectTV pulled the same scheme on us except it was with a "free" promotional sports programing package which not only did we not want but also never even knew we had until they started billing us for it after the "free" period elapsed. When I called to complain and ask that it be removed from our bill and programing package the DTV sales person started offering it to us at progressively increasing percentage discounts. Each time I said "no thank you" the more persistent the salesperson became and the bigger the discount got. It took probably the better part of an hour of mostly listening to their rehearsed sales spiel on the phone including being put on hold a couple of times but eventually I was able to get the sports package removed and our bill adjusted.

I avoided the trap on the HBO channels by calling in EARLY to cancel them. There was nothing worthwhile on them. When I tried to CANCEL the trial, it was like pulling teeth! I had to call several times and went through multiple reps who kept trying to UPSELL me. I finally got it canceled and was not charged, but their billing and advertising practices are really, really deceptive!

We recently moved from a rental home into housing that doesn't allow satellite dishes w/o a $10K liability insurance policy. We set up a payment plan w/DTV to resolve a past due balance and made the payment the rep asked for. The next thing we know is that our bank account was hit first with a double charge on the payment we ok'd and then a 2nd UNAUTHORIZED payment of over $200. When we called DTV, we found that our account had been turned over to an in-house collections agency and that the credit card you MUST provide at the time you set up the account was what they used to get into our account. Our bank has reversed the charges, but there is no promise that it will be anything but temporary. We were given NO CHOICE about providing a credit/debit card at teh time of establishing the account and to be told by DTV that they can take money from it any time your account becomes past due is simply not right.

Yes it's happened to me ... We needed service so in order to do that you have to give a cemredit card number. They said you're service is for one year... So everything was going fine .. Until one day we moved to a apartment second floor in a court yard.. Man came to hook up service .he said lady you can't get service here .. So I called customer service several of times and also put on hold forever .. Then I explained to the person that the man they sent to my new home what he said ... I told them They are going to have to let me out of my contract if I can't get you're service .. The very next day I saw they took unauthorized funds from my account. I then called them and also made my checks that I wrote bounce ... They related my account plus my bounced check fees.. Or I was going to call my lawyer and police

Yes it's happened to me ... We needed service so in order to do that you have to give a credit card number. They said you're service is for one year... So everything was going fine .. Until one day we moved to a apartment second floor in a court yard.. Man came to hook up service .he said lady you can't get service here .. So I called customer service several of times and also put on hold forever .. Then I explained to the person that the man they sent to my new home what he said ... I told them They are going to have to let me out of my contract if I can't get you're service .. The very next day I saw they took unauthorized funds from my account. I then called them and also made my checks that I wrote bounce ... They related my account plus my bounced check fees.. Or I was going to call my lawyer and police

I particularly love Time Warner Cable because you can talk to 2 or 3 different people and get different prices from each for the same things that you just got a letter from TV stating new rate that is totally different from the price you got from a phone contact. Heck they Confuse their consumers a day their employees at the same time. That's fraud somewhere. Aa

Early termination fees should be considered an unlawful penalty. Contract terms that indicate extreme one-sidedness in favor of the seller include provisions that limit damages against the seller, limit the rights of the consumer to seek court relief against the seller, or impose punitive penalties or fees on the consumer. An unfair contract term puts the consumer at a disadvantage that is not subject to negotiation. There really ought to be a law against fine print!

Satellite television has ALWAYS done this, Dish network does the same practices of required agreements unless you want to PURCHASE the receivers outright you HAVE to sign a 2 year agreement (very much like a cell phone, and the 480 is for early cancellation of the contract), and had those people READ the fine print they'd have seen the price hikes after the first year etc.

I don't work for either company, as I don't really care for them, but I have had satellite service with both of them and BOTH have these practices, the FCC needs to start looking at Dish Network too.

I started out with a discounted monthly plan of $69.00, 3 yrs later I am paying $110.00 per month. When this contract is over I am cutting the cable cord.

I was a loyal customer, but their unscrupulous ways caused me to take my business elsewhere. How can I get them to stop sending me junk mail twice a week?

This article explains how to Stop Unsolicited Mail, Phone Calls, and Email  from companies that you don't do business with.

If you're a customer of a business and you want them to stop sending you promotional mailings, contact them directly.

So this site only post want it want the people to see. Now who is calling the kettle black

The first 2 year contract, the bill was never right and I had to keep waiting until the following month for the error to be correct, but on that bill was another charge I did not agree to. A month before my contract ended, I called to cancell since I could not afford 100.00 for just tv. I was transferred to someone in Promotions and he said He could reduce the bill in half so I said OK. BIG mistake, the bill is back to $98.10. They will lie any time you call and promise that the error will be fixed. Just called and it will cost $440 due in 40 days to cancel early. What a rip off.

You are not alone. I had the very same problem with them and in the first year, they overcharged me 10 out of 12 months! Finally, I had enough and went to town. Every email ,every phone number provided, I was on it. I kept emailing, kept calling, until I finally got hold of someone who actually did his job. He even went the extra mile.for me. I was so sick of everybody telling me what I wanted to hear, yet not really doing it and this man helped me out sweet. Overall was it worth all the BS that to this guy? He - double toothpick no it was not !!!

essica Rich I just dealt with this today with Direct TV in Owasso,Oklahoma. from skyrocketing bills and not telling me anything.. and cancellation fees ..I want to know how to get on the list against them to get refund check..They are deceiving!

The FTC recently filed a complaint in court against DIRECTV. At this time, the FTC is asking for a court order that permanently bars DIRECTV from engaging in the allegedly illegal conduct, and for a monetary judgment that could be used to provide refunds to people who were affected.

Plus, One or the other (dish or directv) makes you pay to ship their equipment back to them. Next, time this is one thing I am going to verify prior to buying. Plus, make sure prices are jacked at midway point.

All the companies are the same. I been w directv for yrs been shopping around for better rates, the dish rep was extremely rude and hung up on me before I did just bc I was asking Qs about rates and contracts-for this same reason. I ended up calling directv to see if I could get better rates and I was back to square one. Screw the loyal/ stuck customers like me! the good plans is how they sucker everyone else in. Have to stay w directv for now just downgraded my plan. They play around w channel lineups, I noticed and the cheapest plan has all the same channels I wanted minus the ones I don't watch and was paying $$ for. They know ppl want and need their tv so they prey on your ignorance.

D same here Bic. Been w/ them since 2012 and called for better rates, to no avail. Am considering ordering "new service" in my hubby's name just to get a better deal. I mean, it's not like they appreciate your loyalty, or offer a similar promo to the 2 or more year customers. They make it almost concience free

Looks like Dish Net has just done something similar to Direct TV and I have just filed a complaint. They offer a price of $39.99/mo for internet bundled with TV in 60 point type with no asterix linking to 5 point type elsewhere on the ad requiring a 24 month commitment and a mandatory $10.00/mo. equipment fee. When I called and asked if there was anyway I could get the bundled price shown by equipment pre-purchase, etc., I was informed that there was no way and the bundled price is really $49.99. This is misleading and deceptive advertising, leading a consumer to believe that $39.99 might buy something when in fact it buys nothing.

We signed up for direct tv with a two year contract in 2011. Our contract ended in 2013. We kept direct tv and we not under any contract then we moved to a new home and added one box in July 2014 and I just found out this month (march 2015) that because we added a box we are now obligated to direct tv for two years. They call it an upgrade and said whenever you upgrade it obligates you to a two year contract. I demanded any documentation they have of this contract and still have not received anything. I tried to cancel and they said we would have to pay $330 to cancel. I feel like this is a definite fraudulent act on their part to force me to stay with their company.

Thank you Carol I think I will wait afterwords when i made my payment on my own property land i can buy . After i get settled down i will be happy to setup my new entertainment room . Thank you again !2015 1st of April

Thank you for the information, never heard such type of terms and conditions. I too stream telugu tv channels on my smart tv using yupptv but never heard about contract like this. Glad that FTC has charges that service

I am a direct tv customer and signed up for a year with them and this month is my year, I called to let them know I would not be staying with them and they told me I was signed up for a two year agreement, when in fact I know what was said to me and that was you have a year contract with us and I stated ok, that's fine. Direct tv is miss leading their customers and when they have approached their year and want to leave we are told they will be charging us a 250.00 early consolation fee and with that they state we will go in to your checking account and get this. I truly feel they are using bullying tactics with their customers and this is not fair. something need to done about this type of bullying coming from direct tv, they should not be allowed to treat their customer like this and what is the money being used for, but to line their own pockets. Please stop this.

my 2 years is almost up.. My bill has never been the same month to month ... Cable sucks but not as bad a crook as direct TV... Hows dish ???

Dish is the same. you are on the phone for almost 2 hrs, you agreed to $56.99 for 2 yrs for 2 hoppers one hd & one not. you agreed to this with 3 different customer reps to get you set up. then you get home & read your email contract. of course it doesn't match to what you agreed upon. then you call Dish back & say wait this isn't what I agreed to, they said this is the package. I said , well since you have me recorded, I also recorded you , now listen to what I was told & agreed to. then your told that package does not exit. I said but this is what 3 of your customer service people said , they are trained by your company . you ran my credit, & was lied to. rep by dish said yes. we ran your credit & we lied to you because we can. I said so I am pretty much sol. they said yes we can do that to you. I said you are not even in my house & I haven't even gotten the first bill. so please cancel my order. now that is not nice & isn't right.

May 1,2016 I received a call from Direct TV on March 28,2016. They were offering me SHOWTIME FOR Free for 30 days,I asked what was the catch and the guy I spoke to said No catch just make sure I cancel before the 30 day trial period. Well on April 22,2016 I called to cancel since I knew I would be out of the state the following week and did not want to forget. Well when I looked at my bill on line my payment went from $118 a month to $131.22 that was scheduled to come out.I called them and these turkeys said since I cancelled before the 30 day offer expired that they had to charge me a fee. Are you kidding me? I told them how can they charge me for a channel that was offered for free? Well supposedly they said they would credit my account before the money comes out of my account and my bill would still be $118,Yeah right on May 1,2016 I looked at what was to come out automatically of my account and to my surprise it went up to $142. Oh hell no, back on the phone I go and the woman I talked to could hardly speak English and could not understand what I was going through. Finally I told her to get me her super on the line and she refused to, well by now I'm getting ready to lose it and told her I was done trying to explain what has happened and hung up on her.I figured I would call back and talk with someone else, well just as I was going to call, my phone rings and guess who it is, yup it's her calling me back and saying she finally got what I told her and that all what was going to come out was $118. I said ok and got her name. Then she asked if there was anything else that she could help me with, I asked when was my billing cycle end date for the month,so she told me and asked why I wanted to know, I told her I was just curious and did not tell her that was when i am going to drop their lousy service after two and a half years.

On May 18,2016 Directv calls and says we would have a free month of starz for being a valued customer of 9 years! Just remember to cancel before 30 days are up to avoid charging. On May 31, 2016 I get the bill and am charged $13.99 plus a proration day charge of $.47 on my bill! I call and they say I will be charged a $10 cancellation fee if I cancel something that I did not ok in the first place! I was called by them. I was told 30 days free trial and then charged as if I'd called and asked them to add starz! Then told if I cancelled they would still find a way to get some money by making me (so called valued customer of 9 years) pay a $10 cancellation fee! Finally I got on social media and they did remedy it but beware do not accept any free trials! I can't stand AT&T and since they took over dtv has went downhill. I got away from them when they took over my cell service I loved and had nothing but problems post takeover. Got land line thru bell south no problems then AT&T takes over and nothing but problems so I disconnect. Now the same with Directv!!

I've had nothing but grief since I added directv. For the first 3 months I spent arguing with their people. Then I was having trouble with the picture being all screwy just to be told I'd have to pay x amount of dollars so they can fix the problem that was with the satellite that was outside. It goes on and on. As soon as I can find a company that truly respects and has their customers come first and foremost I'm moving my service to them. Directv charges you for something you for something you don't want. I'm disgusted with these companies. I looked into cable and they're just as high. Anyone have the scoop on a decent provider I'd like very much to hear about it.

I signed up with direct tv, (before AT&T ). Was supposed to get bundle deal internet, phone and cable t.v.
Price quoted was about same as Comcast bundle. They came and hooked up t.v., packed up to go. I asked about internet and phone, was told to call their "partner company" for installation. The partner company wanted to charge 70.00 MORE A MONTH!
The cable package tier I chose was from a brochure dated with the same month of installation, but the channels listed had many MOVED TO A HIGHER TIER, (and cost more).
My 2 year contract (which they NEVER HONORED with the services I signed for) has just ended. I STILL HAVE NO HOME PHONE OR INTERNET!
Anytime you talk to a person from the company you are talking to someone in a forein country! (The MAIN REASON I LEFT COMCAST!)

I called after my 90 day free HBO showtime was up to cancel. Checked several days later and my channels we disabled. Great, no I called 6 months later to add HBO and was told I never cancelled! Checked my bills and saw the had been charging me that entire time. I cancelled my contract that they failed when they put back the service without my permission. I want my fees back.

Has anyone had Directv steal over $600 from their debit card? Months after leaving their services? I have.

If a business took money without your permission, contact your bank. You can also report to the FTC at

I would like to know if my local channels are free why does dish network get to charge me for them?

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