DirecTV Charges Woman Early Termination Fee After She Dies at 102

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by SledgeHammer, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. Oct 2, 2019 #1 of 32
    SledgeHammer

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  2. Oct 2, 2019 #2 of 32
    MysteryMan

    MysteryMan Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    AT&T: Always Taking & Taking.
     
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  3. Oct 2, 2019 #3 of 32
    techguy88

    techguy88 Well-Known Member

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    Legally and technically the charge was valid because and I quote from the article "The company argued that because the account was in the name of Albright's daughter Linda, adding the second box mandated a two-year contract extension. While the family argued that Linda had been paying her mother's bills for quite some time, DirecTV stood firm."

    Of course DirecTV will stand firm on this otherwise anyone wanting out of a contract could call in and claim "this account was for my mother" or an "in-law" and try to defraud D* to get out of an ETF. If the account was in the name of the mother the ETF would have been waive no issue. Looking at the video the bill was in the AT&T system so anyone with the 4 digit passcode can call in and access the account no reason to put it into someone else name.

    I personally handle my mother's D* account for her in all aspects however I put the account in her name for this very specific reason because it initially required a 24 month agreement as a new customer and I know if she wants an extra box or accepts a discount that comes with an agreement the account holder is responsible.

    In the unfortunate event she passes away as long as she is the account holder any agreements/etfs on this account would be waived. When her account was in the legacy D* system I was an authorized user, when it converted to AT&T billing system I now have the 4 digit passcode so I always have full control. Its the same with her Verizon cell phone account its in her name but I have her passcode for full control.

    I understand where the family was coming from and its sad but to be fair the account was in a living person's name not a reason to demonize any company as the people were just following policy here.
     
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  4. Oct 2, 2019 #4 of 32
    compnurd

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    Agreed That is the slight issue here... It was in someone elses name Not the person who died
     
  5. Oct 2, 2019 #5 of 32
    slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    If it had been in the 102 year old's name I'm not sure how they planned to collect. You (i.e. children of the deceased) could just ignore the bill and they'd give up. If they sell the debt to a collection agency and it dings her credit, who cares, she's dead!

    There really isn't any way for a collection agency to collect something small like an ETF from a dead person who has no surviving spouse. Basically they'd have to 1) find out she's dead 2) navigate the probate process so they could file a claim with the executor 3) have the executor approve the claim (unlikely, unless you've chosen your executor poorly) 4) sue to force approval of the claim 5) be lucky enough to have a judge willing to approve a claim against a dead woman for an early termination fee. No collection agency would go to all that trouble over a few hundred dollars - once they find out she's dead, they'd write it off. And I doubt they'd even find that out, they'd just keep calling her number and sending letters to her address
     
  6. Oct 2, 2019 #6 of 32
    SledgeHammer

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    Besides, I wouldn't consider 102 to be "early termination" anyways :D.
     
  7. Oct 2, 2019 #7 of 32
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    The two year agreement for adding a receiver is the root problem. I can understand that practice when there is a major upgrade (SD to HD or something on that level) but adding a receiver? AT&T|DIRECTV is too eager to extend commitments.

    I applaud DIRECTV for writing off the ETF. They still get blasted in the media, but the customer's family didn't pay.
     
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  8. Oct 2, 2019 #8 of 32
    WestDC

    WestDC Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    As well that they should not had to pay
     
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  9. Oct 2, 2019 #9 of 32
    raott

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    Yep...”Buy” a receiver that’s already been “Sold” numerous times and get hit with a contract. I guess when you can’t rely on your good service to keep your customers, then resort to locking them in with ridiculous contracts.

     
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  10. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Yada Yada Yada DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I wonder if they have 8k where she is yet...
     
  11. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    Do you know that "a curiosity killed the cat" ? So don't follow this and you'll meet your new 8K TV soon :) … here, with us !
     
  12. b4pjoe

    b4pjoe New Member

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    I'd bet a lot of families would just pay the bill when settling their deceased ones affairs and not even question it. AT&T wins more often than not.
     
  13. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Yada Yada Yada DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Debts do not necessarily go away when you pass on to the big satellite in the sky.

    Most types of debt, handled by the executor, are paid from the estate. There are even a few types of debts that still must be paid by the heirs even if the estate does not have enough to satisfy the deceased debts.
     
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  14. compnurd

    compnurd Hall Of Fame

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    The account WAS NOT in the deceased name.. While I understand the circumstances ATT did nothing wrong
     
  15. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Yada Yada Yada DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Then it was a fake news headline :eek:
     
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  16. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    There's a difference between an actual debt, like if you were making payments on a house or car, or owed $500 for fixing your air conditioner last month, and a fee instituted for cancellation of the account in the form of an ETF.

    I really doubt any executor (or judge if it is challenged) would consider that a debt which should be paid out of the estate. Big companies like AT&T don't bother to chase down uncollected debt, they give up and sell it to a collection agency. A collection agency isn't going to navigate the probate process for a couple hundred dollar ETF. So no I think you would be perfectly justified in not paying an ETF from a deceased parent's estate, and have no concerns either legal or moral with that.
     
  17. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Yada Yada Yada DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I agree. It's why i said 'not necessarily' and 'most types of debts'. Even without headlines, AT&T would likely not chase after the estate of the person on the account if deceased.
     
  18. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I agree. They may make a minimal effort if the named account holder is deceased. It wouldn't help the family in this thread as the named account holder is not deceased, but they know what debts are worth collecting and what debts are not worth the hassle. The higher the debt the more value there would be in pursuing a claim.
     
  19. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    Debts that aren't legally dischargeable like credit card or student loan debt, or have or can have liens placed against assets like mortgages, car loans or work done on your home (i.e. mechanic's lien) are easy to collect. Most everything else would be very difficult. If you die and leave unpaid electric and water bills then morally your heirs should pay those bills out of the estate since they are legitimate for services received, but if you don't they don't really have a good way to collect. At least I'm pretty sure a utility can't file a lien against a property like a handyman who fixes your roof can.
     
  20. satcrazy

    satcrazy Icon

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    Great...
    I think utilities can tack it on to the property, so if and when property is sold, it gets satisfied. and yes, if your deceased received those services, the heirs should pay it. If no money is left, it may be written off.
    an ETF is contractual only. future services were NOT received. so that is a bite, and if forced I would file a complaint to the state attorney generals office.
    It wouldn't be the first time direct had to deal with the AG's office.
    Adding a receiver that extends your contract is an OLD direct tv scam. They were doing that years ago when I had them.

    I bet Dish would NOT make a dead person's relatives pay an ETF.
     

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