I worked as a technical support agent for DirecTV for two years, learning the ins and outs of all things associated with DirecTV.
Is Your DirecTV Bill Too Much to Handle?
I am writing this in hopes that those frustrated with the cost of their DirecTV bill will be able to flip the script on DirecTV and come away with a better deal. If you are familiar with my article "Insider Secrets of DirecTV," you are aware that there are many different promotions that one can take advantage of in order to reduce their bill. But, what do you do if you can't get one of these offers? This article answers that question.
Why Cancel Your Service?
More and more people are choosing to cancel their service due to rude customer service reps or simply because they feel that they are not appreciated by DirecTV. I will agree that some customer service reps are rude and not as professional as they should be. That is the case with all major companies, though.
My goal is to encourage you not to hold one or two bad experiences against the entire company. I don't condone any rudeness from a large company such as AT&T, but if you think that you will not have the same experiences with other companies, you are living in a dream world.
Customer dissatisfaction happens within each company. It is unavoidable. Instead of putting yourself in a financial predicament or having to change your television viewing experience based on the actions of one or two employees, consider the following information.
I Want to Cancel My DirecTV Service
Maybe you have just got off the phone with a customer service rep. If you are reading this in the first place, you are probably upset with the level of customer service you have been given. Your mind races over to that "Cancel DirecTV" button. Take a moment and read the following before taking actions you cannot undo.
If you are under contract with DirecTV/AT&T, you will be fined $20 for each month that you did not honor your contract. If you still have 12 months left on your contract, you will be stuck with a $240 bill on top of whatever your last bill costs.
Once you cancel your DirecTV service, you will be considered a new customer again. It won't matter if you have been a 20-year customer in the past. Once that cancellation is processed, the slate is wiped clean. Tenure and loyalty mean a lot to some of you, but in today's world, it doesn't count for much. We live in a society of "what have you done for me lately" kind of people.
Unfortunately, this has spread to the business world. Large companies are now calling their customers' bluffs. "So you want to cancel, sir? I'm sorry to hear that. I'll transfer you." That's about the way it goes more often than not now. So, what do we do when a company calls our bluff? We show them we aren't bluffing and take them for all they've got.
How to Cancel DirecTV and Get a Better Deal
If you are still with me, congratulations. I am done rambling and am about to show you how you can undercut DirecTV and save money. DirecTV has scaled back on the number of offers and discounts they are doling out to customers because they think that those customers won't cancel. They have overlooked one thing, though: Once you cancel, you can sign back up for DirecTV and get a better price.
As I stated before, once you cancel, you are considered a new customer should you choose to sign back up for service. Why does this matter? New customers get the best price on programming packages. In fact, programming costs are almost half of what existing customers have to pay. While new customer offers change on a monthly basis, consider the current offers below.
Price Comparisons of DirecTV Competitors
|Package||New Customer Cost||Existing Customer Cost|
As you can see, there is a pretty large price gap between new and existing customer costs, so this is when the cancellation fines come into play. As stated before, a $20 penalty will be added for each month of service that is not honored in your contract. If you are not under contract, hooray for you.
You are in the best position to save a ton of money. You are probably already aware that a 24-month contract is required when signing up for DirecTV. This is where DirecTV thinks they get you, but you can throw off the entire balance with this trick.
How to Save Money: Cancel Your DirecTV and Sign Up Again
The first 12 months of your service will be for the promotional price. Months 13-24 will be for the current cost for existing customers. Let's say that you signed up for the lowest package available, which is "Choice." The current promotion for that package is $40 per month for the first 12 months. If you cancel after the first 12 months, even after paying the $20 per month fine, you only end up paying $60 per month for programming.
That is still $18 cheaper than the existing customer cost. If you choose to get the Premier package, the current promotion is $115 per month for the first 12 months. Cancel after the 12th month, and you only end up paying $135 per month, which is almost $50 less per month than the cost for an existing customer.
In other words, don't think of the cancellation fee as a bad thing. It is just an extra $20 per month on your bill. It is still cheaper than continuing your service and paying full price.
If this seems underhanded to some of you, fret not. This is not illegal. This is a loophole that has gone unnoticed. If you would like to confirm this information as true, go to DirecTV's website and start a live chat with a representative. Tell them you canceled your service a month ago. Ask them if you would be eligible as a new customer. They will say yes.
Now that I have gone over how you can save money by renewing your contract each year and simply paying the penalty fee, let me sweeten the pot. Usually, DirecTV offers a $200-300 Visa gift card for signing up. Of course, this is based on an approved credit score, but if you are approved for service, you'll be approved for the gift card as well. This means that you now have the money to pay for the cancellation penalty fees. You are now back to paying only the promotional new customer price and potentially have an additional $60 after covering your penalty fees.
Try It Yourself
Schedule your installation online, and your activation and installation fees are waived. Still thinking of canceling? It may be the best thing you can do.
As a reminder, make sure your credit is in good standing before using this technique. You don't want to cancel and then not be able to get your service back. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments section.
David on February 08, 2020:
Interesting stories and tactics discussed here. At the current time, February of 2020, I just resumed a 20+ year long relationship I'd had with DTV, one that I'd temporarily cancelled due to continual pricing increases and diminishing 12 month credits, 'Loyalty' or other, ones I had to renew every year; not that big a deal but...This last year, those 'credits' were cut way back; that combined with subscription price increases, it was Bye-Bye. Not so short story not too much shorter, just before discarding my DTV equipment; dish, cables, DVR, etc., I thought I'd give DTV on last shot. After several conversations and many minutes with everyone from 'WinBack' to 'Loyalty' departments and others, used to be called 'Retention', FINALLY was able to arrive at a 1 year (not the usual 2-year) agreement; one that in the end put in position of just about where I was in terms of overall monthly costs for pretty much the same channels as a couple years back. In other words, I'm 'giving' DTV another year. Can't wait till the 12 months runs out and needing to renegotiate yed one again (NOT!). BTW, had been off contract for many years prior to re-upping this time around. A one year agreement in this case? Ain't too bad... ‘till next time.
Christine on July 11, 2019:
'Select' is the cheapest package. If you would like to get this promotions again after the 12months of contract. Cancel and call the Winback Dept. Don't return the receivers yet. Usually, supervisors can only give what the agent has offered to you. You don't need to hassle them out. And please don't give survey just to complain about the entire company process.
Jesse James (author) from Crooked Letter State on June 06, 2019:
Yes. You will have to return all the equipment required. This takes only a couple weeks, in my experience, to be processed. I know two or three weeks seems like a long time to go without television, but the savings far outweigh the time without entertainment.
Jesse James (author) from Crooked Letter State on June 06, 2019:
Retention agents have different offers available than supervisors. Supervisors, in most cases, are just tenured customer support reps, so they don't have the choices that retention agents do. The only other department that has better offers are the call back agents. Honestly, call back agents have been working their tails off lately because of the competition. It sounds like your bill doubled after your first year of service. This is how they get you. That first year is nice and cheap. The second year, they make up for all that money they weren't charging you.
Lisa on May 22, 2019:
Do you have to return boxes before signing back up?
Anna911 on March 25, 2019:
My bill doubled and when I spoke with retention they would only take off a small portion. I kept asking to speak to a supervisor but they said they couldn't help anymore than the agent. Is that true? It seems the supervisor would have more authority?
Krissy on March 25, 2019:
My bill doubled and when I spoke retention they were only bring my bill down by a small portion. I asked several times to speak to a supervisor but the agent kept saying they can't do anything more than they can. Is this true?
Gary b Lewinski on February 08, 2019:
Been direct tv customer over 30 years!! Had equipment upgraded last May. Never offered any loyalty promos in 30 years. I am 70, wife 68. Moving in with daughter due to recent strokes. My cancellation fees will be over $300! Anyway out of this? Thanks
Lee on June 19, 2018: