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Welcome to a Discussion of Legal Issues Facing North Carolinians

This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You should not rely on this information for advice. If you have a legal question you should contact an attorney.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Tips for dealing with television service rate increases


 


Did you just find out that Directv raised their rates between $4 and $8 per month? While this increase may be affordable, it is my no means acceptable. You may be asking yourself, “if I'm under contract for another year, how can they unilaterally raise rates (to presumably whatever they want)?” By way of background, the FTC sued Directv back in March for this exact issue, so the powers that be have taken notice.
http://dtv.xert.net/…/…/webview.cfm/7zBwXu8d26295281yfONRRdw
 
Nevertheless, Directv's terms and conditions explicitly state that the pricing is subject to change at anytime.
http://dtv.xert.net/…/…/webview.cfm/7zBwXu8d26295281yfONRRdw

So your choices are to either pay the termination fee ($10 or $20 for each month left on your contract) or pay the higher monthly rate.

Contract litigators typically argue that these terms constitute an unconscionable adhesion contract. Unfortunately, a few dollars a month does not warrant filing suit. So what can you do?

With a little patience and about 30-40 minutes of free time, you can call your provider and demand them to lower your rate. When you speak to the initial person, tell them you're disputing your bill and that you'd like to know what the cancellation fee is. He/she may try to sell you on some better services/deals, but be patient and cordial and ask to talk with an account specialist. When you reach the account specialist, find out how many months you have left on your contract. Do some quick crunching of the numbers and you'll discover that it's probably in your best interest to pay the cancellation fee and purchase a new package offered at the crazy low introductory rates (a spouse or roommate could purchase from the same provider or you could choose a new provider). Make the account specialist aware of your economic sense and advise them that either they need to lower your monthly bill or you'd prefer to pay the cancellation fee and purchase a new package at the lower advertised rates.

Once again, you may be pressed to purchase additional channels at reduced prices or to downgrade your service for a minimal monthly reduction. Stay patient but stand firm that you like your current package and that you need a monthly fee reduction. Hopefully, that will do the trick.

Obviously, results are not guaranteed, but if you are not keen on billion dollar companies taking advantage of you, then it's worth a shot.

This blog does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon this blog for legal advice, but instead should consult an attorney experienced in your area of concern.