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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 20233
Experience:  13 years hanlding consumer protection matters.
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How to get out of a DirecTV contract?

Resolved Question:

Any way to get out of a DirecTV contract?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 5 years ago.

Do you have your written DirecTV contract in front you right now?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

yes. It says "if you do not maintain your base level of programming for the full term, we will charge you an early cancellation fee. The maximum fee is $480 for new customers, $480 for existing customers with DVR, HD and/or HD-DVR boxes, or $240 for existing customers with only standard boxes. We prorate the fee, so for each month you've fulfilled your programming term agreement, we deduct $20 from the fee (i.e. if you have fulfilled 14 mos. of a 24 mo. agreement, your ECF would be $480 minus $20 x 14, or $200. We reserve the right to charge this fee to the credit or debit card you have on file with us.

The problem is, they misrepresented their service - especially On Demand programming.

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 5 years ago.
Thank you. And what's happened when you followed up with customer services to express your displeasure?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

They try to tell me it's the same and refer me to the "retention department". They keep telling me in order to get out of the contract, I'm responsible for the Early Termination Fee. They try to be helpful by telling me they have the same service as Comcast, but in the end, it's always the same story. Pay the ETF. Their service is NOT the same, no matter what they try to tell me.

We have other issues, such as the programming. They tell you you're getting x number of channels. The truth is, many many of the channels are duplicates, and even more of the channels are all paid commercials.

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 5 years ago.
Thank you. Does your written contract include language or a paragraph about alternative dispute resolution? Something that says that, in the event of a dispute, you can't sue, the matter has to go to arbitration or mediation, etc.........does your agreement say anything about that?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Yes, it does:

Arbitration. You and DIRECTV agree that both parties will resolve any dispute under this ELA, the DIRECTV Customer Agreement, or regarding your DIRECTV service, through binding arbitration as fully set forth in the DIRECTV customer agreement.

I tried to insert the entire agreement, but I think the file is more than 5MB.

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 5 years ago.

Then your sole recourse is to follow those instructions to request and resolve your dispute through binding arbitration. Courts have previously ruled that you do not have independent grounds to sue DirecTV. See e.g., Jones v. DirecTV, INC., Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit 2011

In arbitration, you will have the chance to explain to the arbitrator the types of problems you've been having and how the package was misrepresented. It will be for the arbitrator to decide if you will get out of the contract or not.

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