DirecTV Inc Informative - Replacing Defective Equipment - New Service Contract?
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI -- I have been a loyal Direct TV customer for over 6 years. When I signed up for new service, I knowingly undertook the terms of their service contract and fulfilled my obligation. When I upgraded to a DVR a couple years later, I also knowingly (although begrudgingly) undertook the terms of another service contract. I still can’t figure out how upgrading my service and paying higher monthly fees hooks me into a new contract, but such is life.
But here is my latest source of contract frustration. A couple weeks ago, my DVR stopped operating. The service technician on the phone told me it was simply old and defective and needed to be replaced. He took my info down and arranged for a new one to be delivered. After it arrived was activated, all seemed well. Until I got a letter from Direct TV a week later confirming my new DVR order and informing me it came with a shiny new 2 year contract. I was utterly frustrated to learn that the replacement of LEASED defective equipment forced me into another new contract. Apparently, any change in service, regardless of the circumstances, is an opportunity to hook customers in for a new contract. But this one was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I called Direct TV and told them I was unwilling to accept their new contract terms, and they said they couldn’t waive them. So I decided then and there to drop the service and asked them to cancel, agreeing to send their new DVR back. She told me I would still be held accountable for the contract that started the day I activated the new DVR, regardless of the fact that the contract informing me of my new obligation didn’t come to me until a week later. And I would now have to pay an early termination fee of $260. I’m livid, how can they unilaterally institute a new contract on my account without my consent? If I cancel now (I asked them to let me think about it), should I expect Direct TV will automatically take money from my checking account without authorization? Is there anyway I can prevent this with the bank or is it likely I’ll be successful disputing the charge?