How I Got Directv to Cut My Television Bill in Half!

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directv retention strategy

Canceling Directv & Winning!

About 18 months ago I was switching television companies and decided to sign up for Directv. At the time they had the best price and overall package and they were also offering 25,000 AAdvantage miles as a sign up bonus!

Even with the decent price & bonus miles it was a difficult transition since I had been enjoying free cable television for a long time due to being employed by the local cable provider. I do prefer the Directv service to my former employer’s though.

The Move & Cancellation

directv retention strategy

This past weekend my family and I moved across town to a new house and thought it would be a great time to cut the cord. Our son pretty much only watches Netflix and YouTube and we just don’t spend that much time watching cable.

Instead of transferring my Directv service, I decided to cancel. Initially I was surprised that the retention representative didn’t offer me anything to stay, however since I wasn’t bluffing I didn’t really care. I had now cut the cord! Or had I?

Not So Fast – They Sweeten the Deal!

The next day my phone rang from a strange number. I didn’t answer initially, but I looked up the number on Google and found it was a Directv customer winback number. A few hours later the phone rang again from the same number and I picked up.

Once on the line the representative told me it was his job to get me back to Directv. He asked me about my package and mentioned that my already discounted rate before was $71. His new offer for the same package was $64, which didn’t seem too generous to me, but he was about to sweeten the deal.

Mo Money Mo Discounts

directv retention strategy
I’ll take this for free!

In addition to the discount, they would give me the movie channels free for three months, NFL Sunday Ticket free for the upcoming season and a $200 prepaid Visa card. (I love prepaid Visa cards!) I then asked if he could do more and he agreed to issue a one-time $20 credit!

When I cancelled initially my contract had 6 months remaining, meaning I would have had to pay a $120 early termination fee. By transferring the service and taking their deal, my contract was extended by 6 more months,Β to a total of 12 months. Not too bad.

So Does It Make Sense – The Math

directv retention strategy

By keeping Directv I saved $120 and was given $200 plus a $20 credit. Here is how I look at it. My service for the next year will cost $768, but I can subtract out the $120 ETF, $200 Visa card and the $20 credit meaning my cost is $428 for 12 months or about $35.66 per month. (Even if you don’t want to factor in the ETF, my new monthly rate is $45.66.)

I was already paying $71 per month, meaning I just cut my bill in half and I also have a free year of NFL Sunday Ticket (a product I will watch) and the movie channels for three months which I also enjoy. Wow! I should have cancelled before. πŸ˜‰

Conclusion

While I am not advocating that anyone do this, I was shocked at just how much they offered to win me back. Some will argue that I should have paid the ETF in order to get a sign up bonus somewhere else, but that didn’t really make sense.

In the end I only have a 12 month contract meaning I am free to reevaluate in a year. Overall I have been happy with Directv, but $71 a month seemed too high. Luckily my true cost is about half of that for the next year and I can handle that.

I worked in television sales for quite awhile and know a few tricks of the trade. Is anyone interested in a confession of a cable tv salesman piece? Let me know!


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42 COMMENTS

  1. Still cheaper without it unless you watch a lot of sports. I wonder if they would have sweetened the deal with some airline miles instead of the visa card?

  2. I would be interested! I called to try to get our local cable company to lower our bill and told them we were cancelling and got nothing, not even $5 off our bill.

  3. I’m a long-time Directv customer and pretty much call in every year in August to talk to the retention department (you can either ask to talk to them or threaten to “cancel” – and they’ll usually transfer you there). Am I serious about leaving when I call? Sure, if they don’t give me a better deal. But they always do. I feel kind of sorry for people (including friends & family who I’ve tried to educate!) who don’t know to call in annually. It is important to know that if you don’t get a helpful person, you hang up and call back. It’s amazing that different reps apparently have different leeway to help customers. I almost always get the NFL package for free, $10 to $25 or so in monthly discounts (that last for 6, 12, or 24 months), and some free premium channels for some period of time. As long as you aren’t getting new equipment (or moving it sounds like), getting these discounts and freebies does NOT extend your contract. And even if you’re still under contract (you usually have to extend 24 months if/when you do get new equipment), these calls to retention still usually yield some discounts and/or promos (as you can explain that it would be better for you to pay the ETF and jump ship to whatever promo DISH or the cable company is offering). Bottom line, it requires a 20-30 minute phone call each year, but you should never be paying “full price”. The final “tip” I’ll give is to never assume their first offer is the best they can do … keep asking questions … or just be silent for a few moments … and I find that the “good” reps will often keep sweetening the offer. πŸ™‚

    • Definitely good advice and I agree. The main reason my bill didn’t go down much is because I was already on a discounted retention offer. I am assuming that is why the retention rep I spoke to didn’t offer me any more when I was canceling. (She seemed bored and actually yawned at me on the phone.)

      The main surprise for me was the $200 Visa gift card. As for moving, they waive the fee in exchange for a short contract extension. If you are under 12 months left, they extend your contract to 12 months. If your contract has more than 12 months then it remains the same. If you upgrade equipment as you say then they extend it to 24 months.

    • Marshdom, how can I get ahold of a representative that I have talked to previously? They’re saying they don’t know who I talked to, although I know that’s a lie. Does anybody here know how to?

      • I don’t know of any way to get the same rep. They probably log each of your calls and offers that are made. If you get a particularly good (or decent) offer, you might want to ask them to make sure the offer is notated in your account – even if you don’t immediately accept the offer. But, unfortunately, it seems to me (and from some other comments I’ve read) that the retention offers might not be quite as good as in the past … perhaps as a result of the AT&T acquisition.

        • Ok thanks, I know they do log all the calls but I’d like to talk to the guy that promised me that nothing would change except Starz and Encore, when it did affect all my programing and now they’re telling me they don’t know who I talked to, which is BS. If that was the case I could work for them and tell a customer where to stick it and they would have no record that it was me I don’t think that’s the case. Does anyone know how to get the name of the Rep that you talked to??? FYI from now on I’ll get name and ID # so I’ll have a record of it, live and learn… Thanks

          • Where I used to work (at a cable company) everyone who touched an account leaves a trail even if they don’t have the phone call. Have you tried tweeting them?

          • I realize this is an old thread, but there really is no way for anyone to know who you talked to. Yes, calls are monitored for quality, but they are only randomly selected for auditing purposes. There are call centers all over the US and other countries I’m sure. I worked in the Protection Plan department, which is what our call center strictly did. Anytime I handled a call, I notated the account, but the name beside the notation was only JGRAY. There is absolutely no way to transfer back to a particular agent, as any transfer would be answered by the first available CSR. Also, different CSRs can offer different promotions. For example, I could give $10 or $20 off a month for up to 12 months because I handled mostly technical support and billing related calls. I could also give free premium channels for 3 months. The sales department couldn’t give the $20 discounts. If a customer asked to cancel, we transferred to CRG (Customer Retention Group) and they could give up to $50 a month off. Most CSRs would notate the account with an offer given and an expiration. There were often some, however, who didn’t correctly notated the account. I just wanted to inform you a bit.

  4. After my 25,000 United miles bonus and about 8 months in I decided it wasn’t worth it to me. So I “moved” to a friend’s apartment, where it was physically impossible to mount a satellite anywhere. Not just prohibited per lease, mind you, but actually not possible unless they put it on a stand in the middle of the front door and no one ever tried to leave the apartment.
    They waived the ETF entirely and said keep the satellite and the miles. Score!

  5. I was able to lower my DISH Network bill from $116 per month down to $61 in late November, they offered 30-40 off which I declined and then they came back with $55 per month for 12 months. I have been a customer for 6 years and am off contract, the rate credit did not require a contract extension of any kind. I cancelled my service in December, i am moving to Sydney next week, and DISH offered me an additional $10 credit per month….$116 per month would be down $41 out of pocket! I had to cancel this time but thought that was a great deal, wish i called earlier to take advantage of the savings.

  6. I am interested in hearing more about cable tv tricks of the trade. I have to negotiate tomorrow, from $144.89/month.
    Thanks for the offer!

  7. Your advice helped me immensely! Directv suspended my service in the middle of the night (on a Sunday, no less) because they said I needed to make a payment. Since I had just made a payment 13 days ago – in the same month – I thought there must be a mistake! I had to wait until business hours to call, of course, but when I did, I was told that because I had ordered a PayPerView event, it pushed my balance up when my bill rolled over on the 16th, requiring me to make another payment before the month was over. I protested the fairness of this, albeit politely, and essentially begged the agent to reinstate me today, with the promise to pay once I got my once-monthly paycheck in 8 days. To no avail. She claimed she did not have the authority. I asked for a supervisor, and waited the 10 minutes for one to get on the line. After telling her my sob story, she, too, was unaffected, and ‘claimed’ there was nothing she could do! I reiterated with her that I had been a good, regular customer for 6 years, and had spent a lot of money with their company – as recently as just a few weeks ago – and all I was asking for was one more week to make another payment. She not only said no, she basically said “hell no”, talked over me, and spoke to me as if she was enjoying my suffering. I even asked her if Directv would rather lose a customer, than work with them for one week for the mere $60.00 that was required to reinstate my service (it wasn’t disconnected, only suspended). She STILL said “sorry, no dice!” After I hung up, I stewed for a bit, and then found your article. I immediately called back & asked for the Retention Department. The lady who answered seemed aghast at how I was treated, and the fact that the supervisor claimed she could not work with me. Not only did she reinstate my service, immediately, she also gave me $40.00 off, per month, for a year, AND free Sunday Ticket for this year (which we have always gladly paid for in years past) – and she was friendly, apologetic & appreciative of my patronage to boot!! THANK YOU, again, for your article!! You taught me something really valuable, and made my whole day/week/month!! πŸ™‚
    Leah

  8. I just called them today. I have the Xtra package with Showtime/Starz…Got them to give me $40 in credits along with Sunday ticket for free for the year. Dropped Showtime/Starz. Had to agree to stay with them for another year.

  9. Yes we had the service with Direct until that 106.97 bill came for second year of service after all the promos had ended. We called and downgraded service and put one receiver on vacation only saving about 6.99 off bill. Then rep told me he could give me a one time $25.00 discount off bill. Z Great that made bill total due for month at 85.00 and something we could manage. Then next month bill came it was 96.00. We cancel service and got over 378.00 in discounts and credits with Dish to reconnect with them. Ok we understand the early disconnect fee of 187.00 which I paid but why or when does one give a discount to a person then claim it back the next month. DirectV is charging us the $25 more, which is amount of discount from prior paid bill for staying with them 1 more month. Not fair one give discounts one month then expect customers to pay back the discount from bill the next month.

  10. 10 year customer and called last week to lower my bill. $10 off was the most they could do. I was already paying for showtime so they weren’t giving me anything for free. I said ok how about $10 and free Sunday ticket. She said no way. I said ok then cancel my service. Within 5 minutes, to my surprise I was off the phone and had a cancel date of 2 weeks later. That night they cut my service. I called the next day and said wtf? The rep turned it back on, offered me $20 off and Sunday ticket. Since then I called Comcast and had them do an install, called DirecTV back and told them to pretty must shove it. I am delighted with my new Xfinity deal, locked in for 2 years all the premium channels and $100 less than I was paying DirecTV. Signal quality is every bit as good and no more 771 errors when a storm cloud covers the area. Never ever going back to DirecTV. If you have the choice stick with cable.

    • I went to Optimum cable after a fight with DTV over upgrading my old equipment. When they sent the boxes to return the recievers they offered to upgrade my equipment, 3 months of movie channels, the NFL package and a $200 gift card and lowered the price of my package by a third. I switched back to DTV. Thank God because I hate those cable DVRs.

  11. Just got off the phone with DirecTV minutes ago with no offers made to me. Our first year contract just ended and my bill shot up from 55 to 97. I was on the phone for almost 30 minutes and the retention rep literally said “there’s nothing we can offer you at the moment”. Now I’m wondering if I just spoke with a bad rep or are they getting more strict after the merge with ATT?

    Cancel date is set for the 7th … here’s to hoping that a retention rep calls to get us back otherwise probably switching to Dish who has a two year lock-down at 49.99 with all the channels we watch.

    • Unfortunately I think it does have something to do with the AT&T merger. I was able to get some new discounts via my annual call, but not as much as usual … and it took multiple calls.

  12. Hey marshdom was wondering if you can tell me how to talk to the last rep that I did? They’re telling they don’t know who it is which is BS

    Thanks jr

  13. On the phone with Shayla and she gave me two options once I told her I thought about cancelling and going with a Roku or Apple tv internet streaming service. The first option was $20 for 24 months, and the second option was $30 for 12 months. Made the changes and told me to have a good day.

  14. I was wondering if anyone has successfully negotiated the Premier (most $$$) package price down at the end of their contract? I know, most people don’t have the Premier package, but there are some of us out there. We pay more per month, so I am assuming we generate a higher profit for them, hence they have more to negotiate with us? Yes? No?

    • hey I saw your comment, I worked for the retention department. just call say you want to talk to retention department, then you will get transfered. just explain you are paying too much and want to get the best deal.
      now just because you have premier does not mean you get a bigger discount.

      ask of they have a 2yr promotion. remember it’s not the agent making the offer, its the system making it, based on loyalty, years, how often you call to “threaten to call” or get to get “good deals”

      remember alway wait a few months after promotions end to get new ones. dont expect to get the same offer you got before.

  15. You can get a discount of $10 off your bill for the next 10 months. It’s not as big as the ones mentioned above but it is something. It is the friends and families discount through their “refer a friend” program.
    You can give them my info and we’ll both save $10 off our next 10 bills
    Account #: 24142431
    Name: Patrice Smith
    Zip: 20001

    Thanks, and enjoy!

  16. I had a discount which brought my bill down to $84/mo. It expired, now my bill is $118. I called and all they offered me was to change my plan to a cheaper plan and to give me 3 months of STARZ. I said, well, I can’t afford it, so I’m probably just going to have to cancel my service. Reminding him that I was an 8 year customer. He said, sorry nothing I can do.

    I’ve been toying with cutting the cord. In order for me to get what I want, I will have to spend about $365 on equipment (a OTA DVR, antenna, HardDrive). Also spend about $40-$50/mo on streaming services. SO for the first year, the ROI is about even with what I’ve been paying. But there after, I go in saving $35-65/month!!

    I’ll be curious to see what or IF DirecTV offers me when I actually cancel. I’m also an AT&T customer and there’s no discount available to bundle. I really don’t care about unlimited DATA on my AT&T I only use about 500-1000MB a month anyway. I’ll probably dump AT&T too soon.

  17. I just talked to a cancellation rep and he said due to the merger the customer service/ retention reps cannot offer any discounts. I was able to get a $40 discount for a year with a year long extension on the contract. We are running off contract at the moment and the guy was extremely nice and did all that he could do. got my bill down to 70 a month. Just had to wait for almost 40+ mins of wait times. Well worth the negotiation.

  18. Just got off the phone with DirecTV. I’ve been a customer with DirecTV for 15 plus years. Told them that I found a better deal with my local cable company. They offered me $5 off a month, that’s it. My Cancel date is April 4th 2016. We will see if anybody from DirecTV calls me and offers me any deals.

    Kevin

  19. Called today and spoke with the retention department. As folks mentioned above took about 40 minutes, but was able to get $45 bucks off my monthly bill, $100 one time credit, and the NFL package for free. At first they offered $25 off, but after hemming and hawing, got them to come back with $45 off for a year and the one time credit. I then said they have a deal if they throw in the NFL package for free. Done! BTW, I was still under contract for 4 months and they said I had to extend my contract for an additional 8. I was fine with it.

  20. I called this week to cancel and all they offered me was to change my package to a lower one and $5.00 off for 12 months. I been with them since 1999.

  21. I have been with Direct for six years. Added AT&T U-verse and landline when I moved last year. Nightmare experiences with AT&T in past two weeks, so called to cancel. They told me I’d also have to cancel Direct, too, because I was bundled. Was set to cancel 6/18. Got an email from Direct retentions two days ago, called them last night. My bill was $103 for Entertainment package. They cut it to just under $59 for 12 months with upgrade to Choice, gave me 2016 NFL Sunday Ticket for free, three months of free Starz, HBO and Showtime AND are sending me a $200 pre-paid Visa. My original contract wasn’t up until 12/17, but with the new offer — my contract was actually reduced to 6/17. Best deal I’ve ever gotten from them. Still haven’t called AT&T about home phone and internet, but sure they won’t be eager to offer much. Thrilled with Direct though…

  22. Talked to Rachel and got Sunday ticket for free. Didn’t ask for anything else. I have premier package so I get all channels and I was already getting 5 bucks off Starz, HBO, Cinemax and Showtime for 6 months. I call every 6 months and usually get about 65 bucks knocked off for 6 months.

    • I have TV through cable, but have justified keeping DTV because they give me some credits and free Sunday Ticket for free past couple years. Although I get RedZone via cable, I do value Sunday Ticket. But it ain’t worth the $300 they want to charge every year…not with the number of prime time games and other ways to watch.

      Anyway, this year I called to consider options and they would give me NOTHING, except 3 months of free showtime. Would not even discount ST, much less give me $20/month off for a year. Wish I could talk to your Rachel…have tried two other folks in retention department.

  23. Don’t do it. You will max out your discounts and screw your self over. Trust me! You will get to a point where you wont even be able to get transfered to retention. You will be screwed.The button to transfer you will not work. If you can’t afford it just cancel and pay your bills because obviously you cant afford Directv. If you don’t want to pay your bills then get rabbit ears. You can’t beat a 70 dollar bill. Just pay your bill so you wont have to call back and max out of your credits.

  24. I’ve been with Directv since 1999 and still get the discounts every year. In my other post I said I call every 6 months. That was a mistake. I get the discounts for 6 months but I only call once a year.

  25. The longer you wait the better deal you get , they will call every day, I’ve had my service off for a couple weeks until i got what I wanted, just keept saying no and they offered a 200 visa to offset the difference my bill for 4 tv’s if adding visa to discount is now 35 a month for 1 yr

  26. My bill with DIRECTV just went up from $68 to $129. Called once and told them it was unacceptable and they said there was nothing they could do or promotions they could give me. I then did an online chat today and got the same response. What’s the best move here? Cancelling? It appears that cancelling will result in a $220 cancellation fee. I love the service, but don’t think it’s right that they can jack up my bill almost 2x for the same service (minus Sunday Ticket which I had last season).

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