How Hard Can It Be to Cancel a DirecTV Account?

I’ve been waiting for this day for a year and a half. After some bad customer service from DirecTV and some research that led to even more bad customer service stories, I’ve been waiting for my contract to end, so I can cancel my satellite service.

I finally hit the official end of my contract. I did some research as to how to get the best deal on phone, internet and TV. I called DirecTV to make sure my contract was over. In the end I settled on a Charter Cable bundle for all three services. We decided it was important to keep a landline for now, and Charter had the best bundle price for us. When I called Charter to order service, I got an even better deal with no contract, so I’m a pretty happy camper.

That just left one step: calling DirecTV to cancel service.

The First Call

I called DirecTV around 8:00 yesterday morning to cancel my service, as the Charter installer was coming around 10. The guy I talked to was understanding, but he kept badmouthing the cable company. He reminded me that I would only get 100+ channels with cable, whereas I was getting 250+ channels with satellite. I told him I was getting the channels we actually watch, and that’s what matters.

He then asked me if I was aware of the $17 monthly charge Charter would give me for DVR service. I told him that I wasn’t sure of the cost breakdown, but we were getting an HD DVR, and by bundling everything with Charter, we’d be paying $55 less a month than we were currently paying with the variety of services we have now.

Stunned silence.

Then the customer service rep asked if I had looked into bundling phone, DirecTV, and internet through Qwest. I told him I love Qwest internet, but it’s not offered where I live.

He finally conceded, explained the process for shipping the equipment back, and told me I’d be receiving an email confirming my cancellation of services. I thanked him and hung up, thinking it was over. Wrong.

The Second Call

While the Charter installer was here, the phone rang…on my new Charter phone line, I might add. It was an 877 number, but I answered it against my better judgment.

It was DirecTV again! The new customer service rep was sorry to hear that I had decided to discontinue my service. Since I had been such a great customer for two years (they must have forgotten about the little argument we had a year and a half ago), she was willing to offer me a less expensive programming package, with no contract. In addition, she offered me an immediate $150 credit toward my account!

Since I’ll make up the difference in less than three months with my current Charter arrangement, I turned her down. She thanked me. Surely that was the end.

Wrong again.

The Third Call

You have to admire their persistence. The phone rang again around 1:15. Another 877 number. Why do I keep answering these calls? By now my Charter services are all set up and the Charter guy is long gone.

This customer service rep offered me breaks in pricing and a $200 credit toward my account! Woohoo! I still declined and asked them to please send me boxes, so I could return their equipment. The customer service rep assured me that they would arrive in 5-10 business days.

I was beginning to get skeptical that I’d heard the last from DirecTV. Sadly, I was right.

The Fourth Call

Another 877 number. This time I didn’t pick up. They didn’t leave a message. That was around 3:00.

The Fifth Call

When the phone rang again around 4:00, I didn’t even have to look at caller ID to know who it was. I was in the middle of writing this post though, and since I’m always in search of good blog fodder, I answered the phone.

The customer service rep went on and on about what a great customer I have been (again, they apparently don’t remember me), offered me tons of discounts and a free upgrade to an HD receiver.

I declined again and asked about the email I was supposed to be receiving, confirming that I had cancelled my service. She assured me I’d receive an email in the next 24 hours and told me to let her know if I changed my mind about cancelling. I told her my mind was made up.

Hopefully that’s the end of it. My only regret is that they didn’t appreciate me so much as a customer when I actually had a problem.



Author

By , on Sep 23, 2010
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.

Freebies

Popular Articles

{26 Comments}

  1. SSG:

    We canceled DirecTV…we weren’t mad at them, particularly, but now it’s just me & my husband at home. We have an antenna, and between that and Netflix, we have more than enough TV. They said they didn’t want their equipment back, because it was too old, but they did want the cards from the boxes. Ok, fair enough.

    I am now livid. They’ve been making sales calls at least twice a day ever since! They WOKE US UP on a Sunday morning. And every time, they say they are putting us on their “internal” do not call list.

    If I ever do decide to have a TV service again, it certainly won’t be with DirecTV!

  2. Carrie:

    You forget another important factor. Many companies penalize the employees if a customer closes an account and if they get too many in a certain amount of time, then the representative is fired. So of course they try hard to not let you cancel. HSN is like that, when you call their phone reps if they cannot get you to buy a bunch more to go with the item, then West Marketing fires them.

    A lot of what everyone mentioned on here is the current type of customer service. The company just wants to know if you are gullible to fall for their “discount” and if so then they keep your business for three more months, when you call to cancel again. I would never go to that much hassel to keep a customer.

  3. Melissa:

    When I used to have Comcast (now it’s not available where we live) and more time, I used to call them every three months to cancel to switch to Verizon dsl. I didn’t have a contract, so every time I called to cancel they would offer me all sorts of credits and bonuses to stay with them. I’d tell them if they could make my bill at least $50 cheaper (I bundled too) than it would be for me to go with Verizon, and maybe throw in some premium channels, I’d stay. They did it every time, usually as a three month package. So three months later, I’d just call again. It was great. If you don’t have a contract you really have a lot of bargaining power and it’s a great way to save money. These days, I don’t have as much time to go “customer service rep hunting” as I used to call it.

  4. renae:

    We have been a Directtv customer since the beginning in 1993 and am at my wits end with them. The men in the family have to have the football package and that has gotten so expensive. In the past they asked for customers to write their representatives about some FTC thing. We did and what did they do? They raised their fees when the bill passed and they got what they wanted. Then reciever broke and they replaced it, wanting me to pay for shipping to return their broken equipment. They no longer appreciate loyal (and fed up) customers.

  5. jdp:

    I didn’t read through all the responses so someone may have already said this.

    Its not because they didn’t appreciate you as a customer.

    These places have 3 different things set up and some probably aren’t even part of their company but outsourced (in fact I know they are because my brother in law works at some place that does some of their work).

    1. Sales – incentive $ driven
    2. Customer Service – rewards based on keeping call time SHORT
    3. Retention – incentive $ driven (however for each “higher” level they have to offer you to get you to stay there is less incentive for the rep).

    The kind of people drawn to sales (and retention) are very different from the kind of people drawn to customer service (think money driven work horses vs. I’ll just show up and put in my time for a paycheck).

  6. David S:

    I’m willing to bet that you’ll never see the postage-paid boxes in order to return the equipment …

  7. Lisa Morosky:

    When I read this line (That just left one step: calling DirecTV to cancel service.), I literally did “DUN DUN DUUUUUN” in my head. :)

    I’ve been really vocal online about my unhappy Comcast experiences in the last couple years, and while it’s spurred some response, it didn’t do much. Because the truth of the matter is this: they don’t care. I’m just a number. Unfortunately to them, they maybe never got the memo that it’s a lot cheaper to keep a customer than to find a new one.

    If they had provided a great service to you for a good price and had efficient customer support in the first place, you may still be their customer (maybe not, but the odds are higher). The “we want you back so much here’s a bunch of free stuff” mentality is super – but at the end of the day, if you have a crappy product and crappy service, you’re not going to get anywhere.

  8. Jenn R:

    We have Charter bundle and have had for several years. Had an issue with their pricing; and got on instantly with their instant online chat feature…once I mentioned the deals they were giving new customers, rather than existing ones, they gave me the new deal. They are very efficient and quick that way… ***probably easier and less frustrating than solving a problem on phone*** :-)

  9. LA:

    Very frustrating when there has to be that many phone calls to get a simple thing like canceling an account accomplished. I’ve had a similar experience with a phone/internet company and you know I will never do business with them again.

  10. AngelSong:

    We’re facing similar issues (no pun intended) with one of the local newspapers. Customer service keeps calling us to thank us for being their customer in the past. We cancelled the newspaper after a year of delivery issues, missed papers and general aggravation…then we subscribed again for a single month during which we never even opened the newspaper! I finally told them yesterday that they have contacted us at least two dozen times in the past three weeks, and to please stop calling. Nothing today from them, but we shall see what happens next week.

  11. leslie:

    Perhaps JC Penney was doing you a favor asking for the death certificate – after all with a few of the “right” pieces of information I could probably cancel a number of credit card accounts indicating the customer were deceased. I can definitely see that people might do this if they wanted to harass someone!

    on the line of all this pay for television service – what is goodness sakes is the fascination with having 90+ television stations to watch? I guess that I am fortunate that I live somewhere where I at least get three major networks and PBS – and how much tv can I watch? ANd how much tv SHOULD I watch – or should my children watch?

  12. Debbie:

    Living in Ontario, Canada we find that calling the cancellation department of most phone, cable, internet companies is the only way to get any service at all sometimes. We call the cancellation department to get an English speaking person to talk to. We call the cancellation department to fix a bill because we get to talk to real person. We call the cancellation department threatening to move to another provider just to get a lower rate because we like the services of the company we are with but the rates keep going up. Really stupid and a pain in the butt but it’s just become the nature of the beast. Totally dumb if you ask me.

  13. Erika:

    At least they anwered the phone, I recently tried to call and cancel an insurance policy we didn’t need anymore and nobody would answer the phone. When you pushed the button on your phone to surrender your policy nobody ever answered the phone. Finally had to call billing to get a real person.

    • Lynnae:

      Yikes, that’s really bad!

  14. marci357:

    I was trying to cancel credit cards of various kinds (lots of them) after my Mom passed away…. Each call seemed to take 15-20 minutes – literally.
    Except for the time element, it went smoothly for the first 7 cards – until I got to JC Penneys…. THEY, not AmExpress or Visa or MC or BIG cards, said they couldn’t cancel without the death certificate, which we didn’t have yet…. I thought that funny! as in Funny – not !

  15. My parents go through this hassle every two years with Dish Network and Direct TV. When their 2 years is up, they call and say, “I am going to switch to X because they have a better deal.” That’s always true because new customers always get a good deal. The company refuses to offer them a good deal. They cancel. They get new company installed. Old company starts calling and offering them a great deal. Round and round it goes. Why don’t the companies ever figure it out. Give current customers a good deal and they’ll stick with you!

    • Alice Schwartz:

      I just had the urge to change from Comcast to Direct tv.Direct would not give me anything in writing about eaxct prices on service ,installation, DVR.
      Then I go to Comcast and say I might change to Direct. They could care less. I am usually good at getting a Promotion.Then I read Senator John McCain has a new bill Fr Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013 to give us to buy channels AKA “a la carte”
      Then I send him an email.Saying “what took you so long?”
      I am a senior and all my services cost more than what people pay in other developed countries and they are slower,
      We pay more for internet,cable,smartphones, landphones. etc.

  16. Christine:

    We called DirecTV before we canceled and told them the deal we were going to get from Comcast and asked if they could match it, which they could not. However, since we canceled, they keep sending us offers to get us back.

  17. Hmm, we’re actually pretty happy with DirecTV — but this is good to know once our contract runs out. Maybe we can finagle a credit of our very own.

  18. I had a very similar experience with Charter about 4 years ago. I had to do several calls, and within those calls, talk to several people who I swear didn’t have a brain. I got so extremely angry by the end of it because ALL I WANTED TO DO was cancel my account – just like you. They tried to convince me to stay with all kinds of different offers and wouldn’t accept my desire to just cancel ALL services. I finally did it and went to DirecTV and have been happy ever since. Maybe that is just how they all are when you cancel!

  19. MITBeta:

    Odd. I cancelled my DirecTV service recently and it took all of 8 minutes. No cajoling into remaining a customer, no offers for cheaper service, no callbacks. And I’ve been a customer for 10 years…

    • Lynnae:

      I’ll gladly send the callers your way….

  20. Wow, do they actually think those tactics work? Calling five times in one day is a little excessive… Maybe they were just trying to run up your phone bill. ;-)

  21. Rebecca Sparks:

    The loopholes to the do not call list are if you have purchased products from that company (even in the past) or they are a charity.
    Next time they call, request to be taken of the list. They should give you a time frame of when they update the database and they will stop calling you. If they don’t stop, make a list of the times that they called and give it to the FCC and they will be fined & stopped.

    Also, you know that your “landline” with Charter is VoIP, not a traditional landline right?

    • Lynnae:

      So far they haven’t called today, but I’ll definitely ask them to take me off the list next time.

      And yes, I’m aware that it’s VOIP. The important thing for me was that we always had a phone here for kids or the babysitter and that 911 dispatchers would be able to know where we are.

    • ameyer13:

      Every interaction I have had with Dish Network has been wonderful and class act! When I have a concern that demands I call in, I am greeted by a friendly reliable person who wants and knows how to resolve my issue. The feelings I have when I hang up my phone are all positive, this is a huge thing for me. As someone who subscribes and works for Dish, it doesn’t hurt that I am getting so much great programming and my HD programming is free for life. I never feel like I am paying a whole lot more for a package that isn’t coming close to being worth the cost. My satisfaction with this company has been built on years of experience and I’m still getting surprised, I just got hold of a Sling Adapter which is giving me “TV everywhere”. What more could a girl ask for!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Disclaimer and Legal Mumbo Jumbo

I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.

In accordance with FTC guidelines, I state that I have a financial relationship with companies mentioned in this website. This may include receiving access to free products and services for product and service reviews and giveaways.

Any references to third party products, rates, or websites are subject to change without notice. I do my best to maintain current information, but due to the rapidly changing environment, some information may have changed since it was published. Please do the appropriate research before participating in any third party offers.

For additional information, please review our legal disclaimers and privacy policy.