DirecTV charged $160 early-termination fee after woman died at age 102

How heartless and grubbing can a business be.

Isabel Albright was born on September 11, 1916 in Oakland, California. She lived through 18 presidents and two world wars, and left behind a huge family.

When she died last December at the remarkable age of 102, her family was shocked when satellite television provider DirecTV charged her an “early termination” fee of $160.

KGO ABC7 reports, Oct. 1, 2019, that Albright’s family was repairing her house in San Leandro for sale, sifting through her belongings in a life that spanned an entire century. Then they discovered that DirecTV actually billed the dead woman an “early termination fee”.

Albright’s son in law, John Manrique of Hayward, said: “Everything was fine until we went to disconnect [her DirectTV] and that’s when all the surprises happened. They told us… we’re going to charge you $160 for an early termination fee. She’s gone. Nobody’s living (here). We’re selling the house. You’re going to tell us we have to keep the service at a house that’s not ours?”

Toward the end of Albright’s life, a caregiver moved in, and her daughter stayed often. So the family added a DirecTV box in a back room for caregivers.
Little did they know that adding the service started a whole new two-year agreement with DirecTV.

Manrique said: “Nobody told us that. And in fact we made it clear when we added the TV in the extra room that it was a temporary thing…. We’re saying my mother in law’s on hospice, we’re not gonna pay, you know, two year contract.”

DirecTV said the family had to pay — even though Albright had died — because the bill was in the name of her daughter, Linda Manrique. John says his wife was paying all of her mother’s bills “because her mother couldn’t do it anymore…. We were trying to make sure that all the bills got paid. ”

The Manriques kept calling DirecTV asking for proof they’d signed a two year agreement. John Manrique said: “They had no proof other than you started this new service on this date…and that starts a new contract whether you signed it or not. Every time you hiccup they start you on a new two-year agreement basically. It’ll run the rest of your life if you accept some other feature or other. They got you.”

Manrique contacted ABC7 On Your Side. The TV station reached out to DirecTV and soon after, Manrique received a letter of apology from DirecTV’s parent company, AT&T. It agreed to waive the early termination fee and said, “We have apologized to the family and resolved this.”

Manrique said, “This never would have resolved if I hadn’t contacted 7 On Your Side. It turned out to be fantastic, thanks to you.”

According to Newsweek, forcing families to pay cancellation fees after a death has been a point of contention, but some state governments are working to change that.

In 2018, New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that barred any cable or telecommunications companies from charging termination penalties after the primary customer on the account passed away. New York now imposes a $1000 fine on any company found charging fees after a customer dies.

~Eowyn

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kjf
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kjf

Even in death (((they))) screw you.

TERRY W ROLLINS
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TERRY W ROLLINS

My Dad passed away the Fri. before last. I spoke to my MiL this morning and she told me she had to fill out paperwork from the VA in re-guards to my Dad VA compensation. My family was extremely dysfunctional while I was growing up and we never discussed our parent’s history. Anyway, the VA wanted to know the history of my Dad’s two previous marriages. Why does the VA need this information, my Dad divorced both my Mother (over 50 yrs ago) and his 2nd wife (over 25 yrs ago), plus both have passed away? Just another overreach!!!

Kelleigh
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Kelleigh

Find out who the CEO is and write them and tell them how unconscionable this is. Often times, going to the top gets the problem resolved.

Michael Garrison
Guest
Michael Garrison

I installed for DirecTV in Omaha years ago.
Trust me, this company screws over its employees just as bad.
DirecTV is a typical, Commie operation.

William
Member
William

At this level it’s not humans who make these heartless decisions. it’s machines, systems. Not that humans can’t be just as cold and heartless, aspiring to cold calculating machine “consciousness” seems to be the new ideal. My lady companion just lost her brother after a lingering and painful illness. On the day he died the guy who owned the property where his mobile home was came looking for his lot fee/rent. I intercepted him. He said , Is R..here? I said well, he’s dying. Oh, that’s too bad, but we’re going to the bank now. When do you think he’ll… Read more »

Truckjunkie
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Truckjunkie

My Sister managed to make it through her 2 year contract,even though during that time the more than doubled her monthly payment,pretty hard for a 77 year old Woman who lived on $760 per month at that time. She dug out all her receipts and figured out the day her 2 years were up,and we went in to cancel her service. Turns out the 2 years isn’t the 2 years of service,but two years of their billing cycle,so they said she owed another $200 before they could cancel her service. PLUS,they wouldn’t even come and get their components-they told her… Read more »

Judy JJ Smith
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Judy JJ Smith

ROKU….simple installation with a streaming stick. $30 at walmart.
Free streaming stations and any subscriptions you choose.

Lana
Guest
Lana

Doesn’t using ROKU mean that you have to have WiFi and have in on constantly?

DCG
Admin

Bast@rds!

I’ve not heard one good thing about Direct TV. Not one thing. Stay far, far away from them.

Alma
Member

I am sure Miss Albright is resting peacefully in heaven. Direct TV, another “blood sucking” octopus, should do all in their “power” to search for Miss Albright to collect their $160. plus late fees. Good luck, hahahaha.

txfella
Guest
txfella

Yeah, they lied to you. It’s a pattern. We bought a new house, had dtv in the old house, wanted to move service to new house. No problem, right? (After all the commercials saying so…..) This coincided with att acquiring dtv, so the lady at dtv suggested we ‘cancel’ old service, start new service at new house with the “NEW AT&T Directv!”………only she never told the OLD dtv, who not only wanted an “early cancellation fee”, but 2 months service that was already payed for. We stream everything now, with 20 X the content at less than half the price.

MarkyMark
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MarkyMark

I remember when my mom died in 2012 and we were wrapping up her affairs. The house taxes ended up being late because of the confusion and all (tracking down papers, sorting them out, etc.), so we asked for a waiver of the late fee; the bastards didn’t give it to us! They didn’t care about the fact that our mom died or why we were late getting the taxes in; they just wanted their money, and that was that…

DCG
Admin

Bast@rds, for sure. Stay far, far away!

TrailDust
Admin

After the recent death of a loved one in San Diego we had to deal with some things like this, too. The vultures are always looking for opportunities.