DirecTV’s Disappearing-Channels Scam

Thinking of subscribing to DirecTV? Think again. DirecTV pulls a fast one on subscribers to push them into more expensive packages after they sign up. Here’s how it works: Like all cable and satellite TV providers, DirecTV offers different levels of programming that include specific channels. New subscribers select the package with the channels they want — or so they think. A few months after you subscribe to their service, DirecTV pulls some of the channels originally included in your package. All of a sudden when you try to watch those channels, you get a “Channel Not Purchased” message on your screen. When you call DirecTV to tell them about the suddenly-missing channels, they say they’ve taken them out of your package and you’ll need to upgrade to a pricier package to get them back. DirecTV makes little effort to notify subscribers in advance of this change. They don’t announce the changes, for example, in any of the regular emails they send customers announcing special deals and “free” weekends of premium channels. They don’t add any more channels to your package to make up for the ones they’ve removed, and they don’t compensate customers financially for the loss by adjusting your bill for the channels you no longer get. On their website, they explain the loss by saying they took the channels away to help “manage rising programming costs.” Their website also says, “At DIRECTV, we strive to bring you the best entertainment experience available.” All you have to do is subscribe, or peruse the comments at to find out that DirecTV pulls this scam with relative frequency. DirecTV also charges you $10.00/month extra to get a high-definition receiver, where most other pay TV services provide HD to all customers as part of the deal.

  2 comments for “DirecTV’s Disappearing-Channels Scam

  1. Wouldn’t this constitute some sort of breach in our contract and allow the customer to void their contract since it is not being fulfilled at the price that was agreed when we first signed on?

    • I hear you. As with the credit card company, the big banks, health insurance companies and other corporate entities, the DirecTV people hold all the cards and we have no recourse short of a class-action lawsuit. They can screw you all they want. Right now DirecTV is fighting with Viacom and the result is that they have pulled about a dozen more channels we are currently paying for. Also, check out how many of the “channels” we get are purely for advertising products. Pay TV is a scam, pure and simple. It’s about time to figure out how to get the programming we want directly off the Internet.

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