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.
We 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, all of the terms and conditions of your purchase weren’t disclosed, and they couldn’t have been disclosed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.