Many people subscribe to satellite TV because it often offers more channels for less money than cable. In some cases, it is even cheaper than streaming nowadays.
But it comes with a catch that can be costly if you are not aware of it.
Mark Gray of Green Township, Ohio, signed up for DirecTV two years ago for its $59 a month promo rate, less than half the price of his old cable package.
He says a rep at his local AT&T store warned him the rate would double after a year, but suggested that Gray renegotiate when his contract ended.
Equipment change resets contract
But last fall he made a little change that would come back to bite him.
"My daughter decided she wanted a TV in her room," Gray said.
So a technician came by and added a receiver.
"They said it would be $10 more a month for having the extra TV," Gray said. "And that's all I heard."
But when Gray called at the end of his contract to get his now $140-a-month plan reduced, he was shocked at what the DirecTV phone rep told him.
"The lady said, 'We can't give you any other plans right now, because you still have 18 months left on your plan.' And I said, 'How can that be?'"
That's when he learned that adding an extra receiver reset his two-year contract.
"She told me that their policy is anytime you add any piece off equipment, that starts your contract over," Gray said.
Redit and AT&T blogs are filled with questions and complaints about equipment upgrades automatically renewing contracts.
Company trying to recoup its investment
AT&T (which owns DirecTV) has said this is because it is making an additional investment in your home, and it need to recoup the extra expense. It says simply making an adjustment in your channel lineup should not affect your contract.
But Gray, like so many other customers hit by this surprise, says he wishes he had known in advance.
"That kind of irritates me," Gray said. " I would never have done that with less than six months to go on a contract."
We contacted AT&T, where a spokesman promised to look into Gray's specific case and see if they could make any adjustments.
But Gray just wants to warn all DirecTV customers about adding equipment so late in their contract, so you don't waste your money.
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