On December 22, I signed up for DirecTv Now, the new streaming TV service offered by AT&T. I signed up for the “Go Big” package, normally $70 per month, but currently $35 per month for as long as I keep my DirecTv Now account. I also paid $5 extra a month for HBO. My monthly total was $40. The package also came with a 7-day free trial.
When you sign up, it presents you with different options. If you agree to pay for three months upfront, they will send you a free Apple TV. I chose this option because if I decided to keep it after the 7-day free trial, I most likely be keeping it well beyond three months.
That was a huge mistake.
The DirecTv Now service is terrible. The picture quality is awful. It’s heavily pixelated, and it always buffers. Switching from one channel to another is time-consuming. It takes far longer than it should, far longer than it does on similar streaming services. The buffering at times makes whatever you’re watching truly unwatchable. It reminded me of watching Netflix six years ago on DSL.
They should change the name from DirecTv Now to DirecTv QP1502. That’s the error you constantly get while trying to watch content.
The channel lineup is also terrible. I’ve never heard of some of the channels they include. Justice Network? What’s that? They also don’t provide ABC or NBC, even though they claim to on their website.
DirecTv Now also doesn’t include any on demand features. If you want to watch a show, you have to watch it when the network streams it. Having a DirecTV Now account doesn’t allow you to sign into network apps to watch on demand content there like you can if you are a DirecTv, Dish, or cable subscriber.
DirecTv Now is also a bandwidth hog. After using it for a few days, our cable Internet provider contacted us to inform us we’ve already used 70% of our monthly data. I can only imagine what would happen if we watched DirecTv Now for a full month.
Taking all this into consideration, I decided to cancel my DirecTv Now account. I thought that since I was still on the 7-day free trial, I was covered. It turns out I was not. After logging into DirecTv Now and going through the process of canceling my account, I was informed that my account would remain active until April 1st. I then noticed that they had already charged my credit card the $120 for the three months. They weren’t supposed to do that. According to their website, I wouldn’t be billed until after the free trial. It says so in the fine print.
The Apple TV they promised I would receive for signing up for three months would not be sent our for another two to three weeks. I assumed that was because I was still under the 7-day trial. No, it turns out they’re just slow and they don’t care about customer satisfaction.
I contacted DirecTv Now customer support. They said because I already paid for three months, there was nothing they could do. I told them that I didn’t know I was charged the $120. I explained I thought my credit card would not be charged until after the 7-day free trial because that’s what it said on their website. They said that the 7-day free trial was added to the end of my subscription. That’s why my subscription doesn’t end after exactly three months. It’s active until April 1st.
They also said DirecTv Now does not issue refunds.
I don’t understand how what DirecTv Now is doing is even legal. They are selling a service that’s buggy and doesn’t work correctly and they have a no-refund policy. I also didn’t understand how my 7-day free trial would be tacked on to the backend of my three-month subscription. How can that even be considered a trial?
I will be contacting my bank and disputing the $120 charge. I will also be contacting the Maryland Attorney General. If enough people do this, maybe AT&T, will be forced to change their ways.