A couple of years ago, I got DirecTV. I wanted to get the high definition, and I wanted to have digital recording capability. When I originally got the service, the operator told me that the HD DVR’s were too expensive for them to lease, and if I wanted it, I would have to buy it. I did, for $425. I leased two other receivers, for which I had to sign a one year contract. All was well.

20 months later, I bought a new house and decided to move. In order to transfer the DirecTV, they told me that I would have to pay for the installation. Since my house was wired for CATV and not satellite, this was going to be expensive. My year was up, so I canceled and got CATV instead.

My final bill comes, and lo and behold, they charged me $187 in cancellation fees. They tried to say that the DVR was a lease. I pointed out that I was only billed for two leased receivers. The reason I wasn’t charged the $5 a month for the lease was that the first leased receiver is not billed, according to them. Think about this- $425 plus a $4.99 a month for 20 months, plus a $187 cancellation fee= total cost for the leased receiver of $711.80, AND they wanted me to return the DVR.

The paperwork they gave, the hidden service agreements, referenced in fine print, and the confusing terms made my head spin. Large amounts of double talk and half truths made me feel like I was buying a used car. When you deal with these guys, look for the asterisks and the escape clauses.

When I produced the receipt for the DVR, along with the credit card statement, instead of doing what was right, they sent me to a collection agency. I threatened to sue. Three months later, they finally send me a letter, canceling the fees. I now have a DVR that I can sell, along with a resolve to never try DirecTV again, and I will urge others to do the same.

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