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Extremely upset over "DVR Fee"

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by Mark L, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. Mark L

    Mark L Godfather

    Oct 23, 2006
    Hello everyone, this thread will be detailing my arising frustrations with DirecTV and the billing department.


    I have been a DTV customer since October 2002, in which time I have held Premiere package and HD access every month with not 1 single late payment.

    I currently have 8 boxes: (1) HR20, (2) HR21s, (1) H21, (1) H20, and (3) Tivo units.


    I am being charged the DVR service fee of $5.99 since July of this year.

    This all started July 2008 when I replaced my H20 receiver in my living room with a new HR21 receiver. I've upgraded boxes numerous times before with no problems. For some reason, the CSR turned off my DVR service when they activated my new HR21 on July 16th, 2008. I soon found this out when I went to test the new HR21 and the recording functions didn't work. So I called in and talked with another CSR regarding the matter, at which time they informed me my DVR service wasn't active. Little did I know the hell this would cause me to this day :mad:

    So after they turned my DVR service back on, I noticed the Tivo DVRs weren't functioning! At which time I called back and again spoke with a different CSR. They informed me that Tivo and the HR** units operate on different services and that they would activate my "Tivo DVR" service. So after 3 phone calls, all my boxes were working as they should be.

    Now comes the fun part, I get my bill the next month and notice I'm being charged a "DVR Service fee" of $5.99 :mad: :mad:

    I am not happy about this, so I call again and speak to retention (since this is the only department that seems to know what to do). I tell them of my problem, and how I'm "grandfathered" in and have never paid a DVR fee in the entire time I've been with DirecTV. She checks my account and agrees with me. I tell her I'd like that taken off, to which she says she cannot do because the computer won't let her! She agrees to issue me (12) $5.99 credits over the next year to counteract the DVR Service charges. Now as long as they actually post and wipe out the charge, what difference does it make to me right? Well, since July everything has been ok, except I get my bill this month and not only is my DVR credit not there, but my $10 receiver credit (negotiated (12) $10 credits for my HR21, after paying $120 up front in July) is not there either.

    Now granted I just added an 8th box (H21) into the master bedroom, which I had to pay $99 + $20 S&H for. So due to the fact my bill is usually around $142 with my credits, I am shocked to see a bill for $287.49!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Here is what the bill shows:


    $104.99 Premiere Package
    $9.99 HD Access
    $5.99 DVR charge
    $5.99 Protection Plan
    $4.99 Primary Receiver
    $34.93 for extra boxes: $4.99 x 7= (of which, 4 are leased....... adding taxes of $0.40x4)=
    $1.60 taxes on boxes


    $99 H21 box charge (box 8 of 8)
    $19.95 S&H
    $9.52 taxes


    $3.99 Anniversary Credit (supposed to be 3 free PPV movie credits, this is #3 of 3)

    * Missing $10 Receiver credit
    * Missing $5.99 DVR credit
    $3.99 (should total $19.98 in credits)

    Now, we take the charges and subtract the credits:

    $163.49+$128.47= $291.96- $3.99= $287.97 (give or take a few cents)

    Now, just disregarding my huge bill this month, can someone please tell me what I should do regarding this matter? Do grandfathered Premiere customers actually have to pay the DVR service fee or not?

    I am at my wits end with DirecTV and feel like calling the corporate offices to rectify this situation. I am tired of being told "sorry the computer won't let us do that". I want this taken care of. There has to be someone at DirecTV that can take this damn DVR charge off my account for good! I mean seriously, is a computer running the business there or what? :nono2:

    So please please if there is anyone out there who can suggest something, I'd really appreciate it. If there is any written documentation online, regarding grandfathered Premiere customers not paying the DVR fee, I'd appreciate it. I'm tired of calling in time after time having to deal with this.

    I thank you for your time and patience with my problem.

    God help me!
  2. Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

    Sep 16, 2006
    You should have a credit on there for your primary leased receiver also...The first one is free, although for tax rip off purposes, they always charge you, and then credit you back.

    No idea on grandfather status for dvr's.
  3. or270

    or270 Icon

    Feb 12, 2006
    I was told by a CSR(you know how that goes) that the system will only allow 1 credit per month.

    You should try emailing to this address: ellen.filipiak@directv.com

    It worked for me and others having billing problems.
  4. bobnielsen

    bobnielsen Éminence grise

    Jun 29, 2006
    They don't always do that for leased receivers. I don't have a charge/credit for my first receiver, so WA doesn't tax it (yes, it is leased).
  5. Grentz

    Grentz New Member

    Jan 10, 2007
    Well, I will just say remember we are lucky compared to some other services.

    The local cable company in the town near me charges $15/mo per HD-DVR and $10/mo per DVR.

    Directv's $5 per box + one $5.99 DVR fee per account looks like a steal in comparison.
  6. say-what

    say-what Active Member

    Dec 14, 2006
    New Orleans
    I had Premier prior to the dvr fee being removed and I'm still not being charged a dvr fee.
  7. Struff

    Struff AllStar

    Dec 23, 2008
    We've had a TiVo since 2003 and have always had to pay a DVR fee.
  8. Mark L

    Mark L Godfather

    Oct 23, 2006
    Thanks, appreciate that.

    I'll email her.

    And the point being made by me is:

    If grandfathered premiere customers aren't supposed to pay a DVR fee, then it was their screwup in July that caused my billing nightmare. Due to the fact they shut off my DVR service, then reactivated it, the computer now wants to charge me a $5.99 fee.
  9. ToiletKitty

    ToiletKitty Legend

    Aug 15, 2007
    My guess is that the receiver that was upgraded in july was the (as they call it) "primary receiver", which holds the programming information. After they removed the receiver and activated the new one, the system wouldn't let them/csr forgot to reinstate the grandfathered premier package.

    Unfortunately, since this was back in july, there is no way that the grandfathered package can be put back on your account. About the missing discounts, sometimes those take a couple weeks (within the same service cycle) to kick in, they should appear later this week.
  10. narrod

    narrod Godfather

    Jul 26, 2007
    Did you purchase lifetime service from TiVo? If you didn't you are subject to the fee. If you did you shouldn't be charged but you need proof that you purchased lifetime service.
  11. RDH416

    RDH416 Legend

    Oct 24, 2007
    unfortunately, I recently had a somewhat similar experience. I have had Premier since opening account over 4 years ago. Never a DVR fee.
    A few weeks ago I learned that D* had extended my commitment by 2 years for the replacement of H20-600 unit done under the Protection Plan. After finally getting to Retention (after being told by both a CSR and Supervisor that the change was absolutely correct), I was able to get the commitment date restored to the correct one. As a good faith gesture, the Retention CSR added 30 days of Game Lounge for free.
    When my next monthly bill came in, it contained the DVR charge. I called D* again and was told that my package had changed and that their computer had added the charge and that they could not reverse it. Explaining that I had changed nothing other than getting a 30 day perk was to no avail. The CSR did give me 12 months of credits toward the DVR charge. This leaves me with a problem which I did not create when the 12 months is over.
    I had the Premier package and still have Premier package but D* says my package changed??????
    Since I also live in a market which still does not have HD Lil's and D* continually says they do not have capacity to add our market, this "package change" pricing gouge adds even more fuel to the fire for me to consider other (cable, E*) alternatives. I have always honored my end of our agreement, D* and it's "computer" should do the same!
  12. Mark L

    Mark L Godfather

    Oct 23, 2006


    That is exactly what I am angry about. Sure the programming credits to counteract that DVR are fine, but what happens in a years time (in my case I got them for 5 months and now it didn't show up this month), am I supposed to just pay it??? I say screw that, it wasn't my fault they screwed up. I am so upset over this, I really feel like cancelling. I will be calling tomorrow and speaking to retention, if they give me the same "I'm sorry the computer can't change that"............. I will be calling corporate headquarters in El Segundo, CA everyday until I get a response. Surely there must be someone who can change this and put my grandfathered status back onto the account. If not, then I'm done with DTV
  13. Struff

    Struff AllStar

    Dec 23, 2008
    Lifetime sub wasn't available at the time.
  14. Mark L

    Mark L Godfather

    Oct 23, 2006
    Irrelevant from what I understand, since Tivo DVR users didn't pay a fee with Premiere package, prior to the release of the DTV HR** units.
  15. narrod

    narrod Godfather

    Jul 26, 2007
    Oh, it's relevant. I still don't pay a DVR fee. Never have. But I did buy a lifetime TiVo agreement in 2000.
  16. JLucPicard

    JLucPicard Hall Of Fame

    Apr 27, 2004

    You could use 'search' to look for other threads in which this was reported and see what some of those may say that can be helpful.

    There was another thread that had discussed that some of the 'grandfathered' features may be disappearing at some point. I don't believe that point has happened yet, though. The thing is, though, that grandfathering isn't guaranteed for the life of the account, either.

    Unfortunately, as DirecTV changes/tweaks some of the packages (necessitating the idea of 'grandfathering' anyway), they remove the old packages from the packages that are available to the CSRs on their computer system. So when a CSR monkeys with the 'base packages', they cannot necessarily revert back to the older packages. Some within DirecTV DO have the ability to do that, it's just a matter of finding them and getting them to do it. Not easy, as is evident from other threads discussing that.

    I understand your frustration and that it may be enough to think of cancelling, but when you activated the 8th receiver, it started another 24 month commitment period. Cancelling would require paying an ETF in the mid $300 range at thius point.

    I hope you get this worked out. I think e-mailing the address given will be a good start.

    Good luck!
  17. Mark L

    Mark L Godfather

    Oct 23, 2006

    Yeah, I tried searching regarding this subject and didn't find anything :whatdidid

    Ok, so I got a PM with the phone to the "Vice President Office of customer service"

    I spoke with the person there and explained everything from the beginning.

    He said he could see my frustration, however, he said that as of July this year, EVERYONE PAYS THE DVR FEE....... regardless of Grandfather status or not.

    News to me! He claims that DTV inserted fliers into billing statements earlier this year regarding these new changes taking place. I know I never got one. I always read everything in my monthly bills.

    So I mentioned I know people (for a fact) who are grandfathered with Premiere pacakge 6 yrs or more (like I am) who do not pay a DVR fee. He said quote: "Each case is different and is based on case by case status". Ok, so didn't he just contradict himself there? Cause it sure seems like it to me. He says everyone must pay the DVR fee, then says each case is different :rolleyes:

    So he claims there is nothing that can be done regarding this matter and that I'd have to pay the DVR fee :mad:

    So I then mention the fact I didn't receive my $10 receiver credit this billing cycle, to which he replies "Only 1 Service credit is allowed per billing cycle". Wow, news to me, especially since my November billing statement shows:

    $3.99 Anniversary Credit (#1 of 3)
    $10.00 "12 Month Programming credit" (for HR21)
    $5.99 DVR Service Credit
    $4.99 Primary Leased Receiver Credit

    Looks like 4 to me :nono:

    So then we dive into the H21 dilemma.
    Remember, I just got a new H21 this past November for my Master Bedroom. I had to pay $99 + $19.95 S&H for this, however, instead of the computer deducting the $265 or so on December 3rd, it took my usual ~$145

    thus creating a "past balance" in the computers eyes. So because of this, my credits were frozen in essence, according to the guy from the Vice President's office :flaiming:flaiming

    So I expressed my anger regarding this and he said the credits would be issued on my next billing cycle (January bill). So I asked him, what about my $5.99 DVR credit as well as my $10 Receiver credit for my December bill? He said they would post as of January 12th or so. Well that means I get screwed out of my $16 in credits for my December bill!!! So he claims that because I was "skipped" over for my December bill credits, I would just see them go an extra month, into August 09 instead of July 09 :nono:

    I was getting nowhere regarding these issues, so I have a decision to make. I'm leaning towards just canceling my service all together with DirecTV. I've about had it with their nickel and diming us. I mean, I guess $104.99 a month for Premier package isn't enough for them to continue including the DVR fee as they always have. Many of you will probably say, why do you need 8 boxes? Well, I have a big family and I need that many. However, this isn't the point. The point being made is, why should I have to start paying a DVR fee when I never have in the past, since October 2002? Especially when a ton of you out there who are grandfathered in with Premiere aren't paying it still? You would think in economic times such as these, a large corporation like DirecTV would be helping it's longtime customers out and relying on the nickel and dime fees for new customers. I guess not. Perhaps we'll see Sprint 2009 and millions will leave DirecTV and force them to change their nickel and diming ways.
  18. narrod

    narrod Godfather

    Jul 26, 2007
    They did announce there would be a sunset date for the DVR fee being included in the Premier package. I don't recall the date.

    The only exceptions, I'm aware of, are those who paid for lifetime Tivo service. There may be others.

    If you are that fed up with them it makes sense to cancel the service. After all, it's only television. Good luck.
  19. Mark L

    Mark L Godfather

    Oct 23, 2006
    What kills me is the fact we pay $105 a month for the package alone (which keeps going up and up) and they still want to charge a $5.99 DVR fee. This is complete crap IMO

    I wish they'd make Premiere $110 a month and include DVR fee and HD fee. That would be worth it to me.

    I hate all the charges and having to decipher which is which.
  20. Rakul

    Rakul Slacker

    Sep 3, 2007
    I have the grandfathered plan and to this day I have not paid a DVR fee. I did not buy the lifetime TIVO plan either. That's actually the only thing keeping me at premier since I won't save all that much if a drop the the next plan and add the channels my wife wants. Your right though, bring on the all access plan with it all included.

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