What's the deal with DirecTv's lease?

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iwc5893

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 1, 2007
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The desert of WA, zip code EIEIO
I know this is an old post and likely this topic has been talked to death but I just wanted to vent...

From DIRECTV Themselves: "Any reciever not purchased directly through us is leased equipment." I have no idea how they can unilaterally claim ownership of something that is not theirs but they do. They will continue to bill you the $4.99 leased reciever fee until you return the reciever that you never leased from them in the first place. (Maybe they don't actually want the old ones back but...) Beware - anything bought from anywhere (ie: Best Buy, E-Bay, Online stores) is leased equipment which you MUST return to them when you cancel your service. I have no idea how they can legally do that but they say it is all laid out in the Equipment Lease agreement - which interestingly enough you never see because you never agreed to (or entered into ) a lease with them. These guys have a lot of nerve but... The short answer is - anything you buy anywhere doesn't belong to you - it is a leased unit.... (Unless you buy it direct from them and pay the big $$$ Fee...) I never saw or was told anything even remotely like this when I activated a Tivo unit I bought on e-Bay. I even looked over the original contracts I have with them and nothing like this is mentioned (I have been a customer for many, many years). I have multiple units and have been happy so far but this has me really 'miffed' to say the least... I guess I just got burned and bought something that I can't own... Thanks for letting me vent...

They can do that because the receivers that they shipped to those retailers were leased equipment. There was an issue with the retailers failing to tell the customers that the equipment was leased, so D* has now gone to putting "Leased Equipment" stickers on the boxes. We could debate all day if it is the D*'s or the retailers responsibility to tell the customer the equipment is leased, but it won't solve anything.

In addition, even if you did own the receivers, you do not own the entire thing. The access cards have always been the property of D* and need to be returned when you no longer have service. If you read the instructions on the card wrapper, you'll see that it is very much like a software license (if you open it you agree to be bound by the terms).
 

arquest

New Member
Feb 4, 2008
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I understand what you are saying but here are some further details...

1) It was a used unit - it was not considered a leased unit by Directv on the previous owner's account (prioir to 1996). Obviously there is no labeling indicating otherwise...

2) I did get a new access card - however, it did not have anything on it indicating "by opening and using this card you agree to be bound..." or anything of the sort. It actually had nothing on it at all (I know - I checked for it as I was expecting that they might try to lock me in for another 2 years)...

I realize that there is nothing I can do - I just wanted to vent. Maybe this might help others realize that when they think they are buying something - they are not... Especially the newer more expensive HD units being sold at Best Buy, Online Vendors (weaknees, etc), E-Bay and so on...
 

arquest

New Member
Feb 4, 2008
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No,

It came in a sealed plastic wrapper with NO writing on it of any kind at all... No sticker - no disclaimer - no you promise to give us your first born - nothing... Just a return envelope to send back an old card... I know because I checked it BEFORE I opened it. I was very careful as I didn't want to commit to a further 2 years with them. I know they (and others) usually have verbage indicating "By opening this xxxx you consent / agree to yyyy". I am actually the rare kind of guy that reads all the contracts / terms & conditions, etc before I sign, open, or even click "I agree".

I know for a fact that:

1) There was no such wording (or any wording at all) on the new access card package or included with the card.

2) The service contract that I have says nothing at all about leased equipment (I have been with them for 6 or 7 years and have an old agreement - prioir to their 2006 "change in policy" regarding these units).

3) Nowhere on their main website links do they have information about equipment leases / access card terms.

4) I am going to have a look at the "terms of service" carefully - I bet there is something hidden deep down there. And I bet if I dig up an old bill from 2006 there was an insert saying something about "important changes to your account" mixed in with the other junk contained in the bill.

I know how this stuff works - I know how they get you... This is corporate America status quo - I am not surprised or anything... Just really ticked off. I mean you think you bought something and then you find out by making a few calls and raising cain that "We don't accept that you own this thing you bought second hand - it is ours / not yours".

I can even understand it if the original owners of the equipment were subject to leasing agreement on the receiver - but they weren't (hence they had the receiver in their possesion over a year after cancelling service and Directv didn't ask for the receiver back nor did they continue to charge them the $4.99 fee). It suddenly became a "leased" unit ONLY because I activated it after they unilaterally changed the definitation of ownership in 2006. The equipment was originally placed in service before Directv became a "Leasing Only" entity. I have no idea how this is legal or anything - but they are very insistant that this is the case. I am going to spend some time tonight digging through the terms of service to find the actual legaleeze...

Just wanted to share my frustrations - I am sure most of the forum users here are more enlightened than the average person on these subjects but it is interesting to see all these receivers / DVRs/ TIVOs, etc being sold online (and at Best Buy) and the people buying them have no idea (especially from ebay, etc) that they are only paying for the "right to use this piece of equipment for a while" not buying it outright with the option of recovering some of the original cost by reselling it after you use it...

Especially with the more expensive HD units...

Enough of my 'venting'... Thanks for listening...
 
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mikedz4

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 15, 2004
714
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ok, If I go to ebay and buy a receiver for $500 is it still leased or will I then in fact own it?
 

iwc5893

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 1, 2007
2,178
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The desert of WA, zip code EIEIO
ok, If I go to ebay and buy a receiver for $500 is it still leased or will I then in fact own it?

It depends upon whether or not the seller owned or leased it. Get the serial number, RID and access card # from the seller then call DirecTV and ask them if the receiver is leased or owned, and if there is a balance on the receiver.
 

GregLee

SatelliteGuys Family
Apr 1, 2005
41
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Waimanalo, HI
If it seems to you that you own your equipment, how can you find out for sure? Ask DirecTV? That's not ideal, because even if they thought you owned it, why would they tell you that? If there came to be a legal issue and their agents ever told any customer that he owned anything, that might be used against them in court. It's in D*'s interest to claim ownership, whether they have it or not. Just because they say they own the equipment, that doesn't make it true -- that's what you'd expect them to say. Just because it seems to you that you should own the stuff, it doesn't mean you do -- but you might. It's potentially a legal issue. I don't think it makes sense to ask D* about this and take their answer seriously.
 

Cincyray

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 20, 2005
180
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Reading Pa
Depends on who you talk to. I upgraded to the hr21-200 after 1 month and went through retension and got it for $99.00


I agree with some who cares aboout the lease since wether you own or lease the access caed is d's So what good would the reciever be without that if yo cancle it.
 

arquest

New Member
Feb 4, 2008
4
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From Directv Themsleves: ANY unit not purchsed directly through us that is activated on an account after 2006 (Don't remeber which month) is a leased unit.

Doesn't matter if it wasn't a leased unit before - for example, in my case the unit WAS NOT leased before - but since I bought it on eBay and then activated it - now it is a leased unit... Messed up isn't it...

So to answer your question - if you buy a Unit on eBay for $500 then activate it - it is considered a leased unit and must be returned to Directv when you cancel service. You can't then sell it again on eBay to recoup your initial costs or anything.

I know from first hand experience of what I speak - although I haven't cancelled my service. This is what I was told by 4 different Customer Service Reps (2 of which were supervisors).
 

Weezknight

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 10, 2006
628
0
Philly 'Burbs, PA
From Directv Themsleves: ANY unit not purchsed directly through us that is activated on an account after 2006 (Don't remeber which month) is a leased unit.

The funny thing is that someone at D* told my Dad that he could go to Best Buy and purchase a new DVR from them and that he would own it. Obviously this wasn't the case, but he went anyway since it was a D* CSR who told him it was fine. After a trip to BB totalling 1+ hour of his time, he ended up back home ordering the "new" unit from D*, since the manager at BB couldn't find a SKU for the outright purchase of the DVR. The icing on the cake is that the "new" DVR he purchased through D* came with a nice "refurbished" sticker right on it. :eek:
 

BryanSat88

Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Jan 13, 2008
32
0
Albany, NY
I have a very old Hughes receiver that D*tv didn't want back when I cancelled service long after fulfilling my service contract. My question is "Are they forced by the language in their contract to take it back???" My trash disposal company will no longer accept electronic waste and the fuel cost and hassle to "recycle" it through the town's once/year system is a pain. I would actually like to box it up and send it back. Anybody know if they MUST take it back???
 
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