We are all aware that this current recession was caused largely by greedy corporate bankers, and dubious business practices.
It is bad enough that we have to suffer the consequences of this, but other corporations are still ripping off ordinary people who are already struggling to get by.
I moved house in November 2008. The cable company I was using for TV and the Internet did not service the new address.
As I had to switch I looked for ways to save money. I had seen advertisements for DirecTV’s Satellite Service; $29.99 for 150 channels, with a 12 month contract. This sounded like the cheapest way to go, so I ordered it.
A man came to install it, put a small satellite dish out back, and ran a cable into the house. He then told me he didn’t have a receiver box for the basic service, but he would install an upgrade at no extra charge. I agreed, which was my first mistake.
When the bills started to arrive a month or so later it was for $78.24. a month. I called to ask about the $29.99 a month service.
I was told, “You have the upgraded service.” I explained the man who installed it said I could have it at the same price.
“No, he meant you could have it installed at no extra cost.” What installation? You carry the box in from your van, remove it from its package and plug it in.
My attitude at the time was, “Oh well, I have been screwed. Now I am paying about the same as I was previously paying for cable, but I am getting more channel choices."
However, I made up my mind at that moment I would honor the 12 month contract I had agreed to, and that was it; I would then look for an alternative.
A year later in November 2009 I cancelled my service with DirecTV, and found a combined package for TV, Internet, and Phone service, with a local cable company. In total the three services combined, saved me over $70 a month.
Now DirecTV is billing me $225 cancellation fee, which I refuse to pay. They immediately handed the matter over to a collections agency, who start in with the harassing phone calls saying if this amount is not paid it will show up as an unpaid debt on my credit report.
I lodged a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and discovered (A little late.) there are tens of thousands of complaints against DirecTV mostly for the charging of this cancellation fee. Some customers who had been with DirecTV for as much as eight years were sometimes charged over $480 cancellation fee.
As a result of my contacting the BBB, DirecTV sent me a copy of a letter they claim to have sent me back at the end of 2008. (I don’t recall getting it.) The four page letter has tiny type about 8 point, and buried somewhere in it is a clause that the upgraded service is not only more money, but the contract is for two years, not twelve months as widely advertised.
My failure to respond to this letter, which I dispute that I ever received, meant by default I agreed to its terms. This is illegal. Not just my view but those of various class action law suits against DirecTV, currently pending across the country.
Why does DirecTV resort to these shady tactics and downright trickery? They are already the biggest Satellite TV Company in the US. Could they not make enough profit by being honest?
No, it seems DirecTV knows they are wrong, and will eventually settle these law suits, and still come out billions ahead in terms of profit. If the ordinary man on the street behaved in the manner he would be thrown into jail.
My apologies for using my blog for a personal rant, but just maybe it will save someone else the grief I am going through.