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Easily Cancel DIRECTV: Tips and Tricks for Ending Your Subscription Hassle-Free

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Before there was streaming, people signed up for cable or satellite TV services. One of those services is DIRECTV, sometimes incorrectly spelled as DIRECTTV, sometimes abbreviated as DTV. You’d sign a contract for service and a technician would set up your satellite dish and allow you to watch hundreds of channels.

The TV service works fine enough, though the price has always been an issue for most people. Especially now, when there are cheaper options available, DIRECTV subscribers might be interested in dissolving their contract, and trying something new — like cord-cutting.

If you need to know how to cancel DIRECTV now, this article is for you!

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  • Sling TV: Probably the best streaming service in terms of customization with a super low price and 50% discount your first month!

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This article will tell you how to cancel DIRECTV. This process will only work for the satellite customers. While there are streaming service providers including DIRECTV STREAM (formerly AT&T TV NOW or DIRECTV NOW), cancelling those services are easier because they don’t come with contracts.

It’s not terribly difficult to cancel DIRECTV’s satellite service, but it is a process. All the steps you need to follow to cancel DIRECTV are listed below!

Step by Step: How to Cancel DIRECTV

It’s important to realize that when you call to cancel DIRECTV, you will likely receive some resistance from the customer service agents that you speak with. You’ll eventually be able to get them to understand that you just don’t want your service anymore, but you will have to pay an early termination fee. More on that below.

Now let’s look at the specific steps required to cancel DIRECTV:

#1 – Prepare for talking to DIRECTV

Like most things, a little preparation can go a long way toward saving you time, effort, and stress in the long run. Here are a few things you should consider before you pick up the phone:

  • Have your account information, including your account number, handy, as well as any PINs you’ve set up.
  • Make sure your name is on the bill. If the bill is under someone else’s name, you’ll need to get them to authorize you to do it; it may be easier to just have them cancel it.
  • Know if you are or aren’t under contract (you probably are) and, if you are, when your contract began (and ends). You can find this information online on your account page.
  • Choose your time to call wisely. If possible, call during regular working hours (weekdays 9 to 5), because that’s when the hold times will be shortest. Allow plenty of time for the call, and try to get it out of the way early in the day when you (and your patience) are the least worn out.

#2 – Contact DIRECTV’s “Retention Department”

Unfortunately, DIRECTV won’t allow you to contact them online or to just click cancel in your online account. Instead, you have to call them. You can reach them through their customer service department at 1-800-531-5000. Customer service reps are available every day from 8 am to 1 am ET. Keep the phone number handy, you’ll need it again.

When you call, input your account details when prompted. As you are going through the various customer service options, state that you want to cancel your DIRECTV contract. Listen through the prompts until you hear the option to cancel and then you can go from there. If nothing fits, you can offer the verbal prompt “cancel DIRECTV” and that should get you sent to a live customer service representative. Some have reported that selecting “Other” is the fastest way to talk to a live person.

You can assume that whoever you speak to first won’t be able to help you cancel DIRECTV. For this reason, to speed things along, when they ask why you’re calling, tell them that you want to cancel DIRECTV. Asking for the retention department will help get you to the people that can help you cancel your account.

Bottom line: only someone from the Retention Department can cancel your account. Talking to anyone else is a waste of everyone’s time.

#3 Be polite, firm, and as repetitive as it takes to get your account closed

If you’ve ever cancelled a cable TV contract, you probably already know what to expect. Once you tell them that you want to cancel, they will try to talk you out of it. They might even lie to you to try to get you to stay. Just stick to your guns, thank them for the information, and keep repeating “I want to cancel my DIRECTV account” as often as it takes.

Once they realize that you mean business and you’re going to cancel they will likely tell you that you’re going to have to pay a cancellation fee (more on that in a bit).

#4 Send back your equipment

On the phone they will explain how to return your equipment. They will send you a box with a paid postage label so that you can return your receiver and remote. Anything else (mainly the dish and some cords) is yours to keep. As soon as you receive the box, you should pack up your DIRECTV equipment and send it back. The equipment needs to be returned within 3 weeks otherwise you will be charged for what is not returned.

If you don’t receive the box to return your items within five business days, call back and have them send another box. It’s better to get two boxes than not get any at all and risk being charged for the equipment (it’s not cheap).

When you mail the box, you should receive tracking information. You’ll want to hold onto that in case DIRECTV says they don’t receive your equipment. If you drop it off at a store, make sure to get a receipt.

Once you’ve checked your tracking information and it states that the equipment has been returned, give DIRECTV another phone call to make sure they have it. Not only will this clear your mind, it will allow you to verify that your contract has been dissolved and that you’re going to receive your final bill.

#5 Make your last DIRECTV payment

When you get your bill, you’ll need to pay it. On the plus side, it should be the last bill that you receive from DIRECTV. Keep in mind that cable/satellite bills are known for being a little hard to read. More than anything you’ll want to keep track of the day you officially cancelled, so you know when your contract ended for the cancellation fee, but also for the prorated cost of your monthly bill.

If you are confused about the costs and end up calling the billing department, be aware that they will try to convince you to resign up for DIRECTV. Obviously, if you’ve come this far that isn’t what you want, but they will try anyway.

Early Cancellation Fees: What Will I Have to Pay?

While some have gotten out of it, short of the account holder dying or deciding to move to a country that doesn’t have DIRECTV, you can assume that you will have to pay something. On the bright side, when you cancel DIRECTV, that will free you up to try out less expensive services that are contract-free.

The important thing to realize is that the cancellation fee isn’t as bad as you think it’s going to be. Actually, when you consider the money you’ll save when you cancel DIRECTV, the fee, while annoying, is worth the cost you’ll pay.

You should talk cancellation fees with the retention representative. The price you should pay is a $15 deactivation fee, plus $20 per month for each of the remaining months on your DIRECTV contract. So, if you cancel DIRECTV and have 5 months on your account, you’d pay $115 ($20 per month for 5 months and the $15 deactivation fee). That said, the total is prorated, so if you had 5 ½ months on your account, you’d pay a little more. It’s meant to be worked out to the day. This is why it’s so important that you know the exact date that you cancel your service.

Wrapping Up

You shouldn’t have any real trouble when you cancel DIRECTV. Granted, there will be some hassles, and a few extra fees. Of course, you’ll save more money cancelling your account than you will by keeping it. $20 per month only sounds steep until you consider what you’d be paying per month for your DIRECTV service.

If you have questions about how to cancel your DIRECTV subscription, feel free to let us know in the comments!


What are the benefits of canceling DIRECTV?

Oh gosh, where to start? First, you don’t have that stupid contract looming over you, waiting to auto-renew and lock you into another two years of ridiculous prices. Second, you’re now free to look into alternatives to satellite TV — and there’s more than even just a few years ago. Third, you’re no longer subject to the whims of weather for your entertainment (unless you’re leaving DIRECTV for Dish Network?).

What can I do if I’m switching to a different live TV provider?

Sometimes competitors will run deals where they offer to buy out your current contract if you switch to them. Spectrum, for instance, advertises that it will cover your current contract up to $500 (conditions apply). Comcast/Xfinity does not generally offer this, but you can always ask.

Short of that, you’ll just have to comfort yourself with all the money you’re saving by switching. Also, telling the DIRECTV retention specialists that you’ve already switched (note the past tense) will help convince them you can’t be won back.

What happens when you cancel your DIRECTV?

Mostly you just lose access to DIRECTV. This means any premium channels you were accessing through DIRECTV, like HBO Max, are also canceled. You will also, unfortunately, lose all your cloud DVR recordings. You will have to send back any equipment that you are leasing from DIRECTV, such as your receiver box. And, if you are leaving before the end of your contract, you will have to pay an early termination fee.

The bright side is that any decent premium channel these days has a stand-alone subscription. Also, almost all TV providers have cloud DVR, so just set your recordings back up and you’ll be good to go. DIRECTV pays postage on the equipment returns. And early termination fees suck, but they’re way less than you’d be paying for service. Think of them as a “never have to be hassled by DTV again” tax.

What does it cost to cancel DIRECTV?

At a minimum, a $15 disconnection fee. You will also be charged a pro-rated $20 per month left on your contract. “Pro-rated” means that if you cancel in the middle of a month, you’ll only be charged for the part that you had service. In other words, DIRECTV will work out what you owe to the day of your cancellation and charge you that.

Can I avoid DIRECTV cancellation fees?

It’s possible, but honestly, if you want to cancel DIRECTV, it’s easier just to pay the fee. Otherwise, you’re going to have to have an exceptional reason why you want to avoid those fees. Assuming the account holder isn’t dead and you’re not moving to a new country that doesn’t have DIRECTV, you can assume the fees are going to stick. No, just moving to a new address won’t cut it, if DIRECTV is still available there.

If you feel you have extenuating circumstances that should get you out of your contract and out of the fee, you can let them know. Just don’t expect them to remove the fee, as they likely won’t, unless you can show proof of your extraordinary situation.

Can I cancel my DIRECTV online?

You wish. Wouldn’t that be great? Unfortunately, it’s in DIRECTV’s interest to make it as hard as possible for you to cancel. The more irritating they make the process, the fewer DIRECTV customers will even attempt it, and still fewer will actually get all the way to cancelling. So, not only do you have to call them to cancel, but only one particular department — the Retention Department — can actually cancel your account. But come on, you’re not going to let such sleazy tactics work, are you?

You can reach DIRECTV seven days a week from 8 am to 1 am Eastern at this number: 1-800-531-5000.

What equipment do I return when I cancel DIRECTV?

That varies depending what equipment you have, but in general, if you leased one or more receivers (and most people do), you’ll need to return those, along with your wireless video bridge. If you’re renting a Genie DVR device, that has to go back too. You get to keep your dish (for what it’s worth, which isn’t much without the service to go with it).

What about NFL Sunday Ticket?

Starting in 2023, for the first time in thirty years, that question will be moot for would-be DIRECTV cord-cutters. DIRECTV’s rights to NFL Sunday Ticket expired after the 2022-23 season, and DIRECTV, after losing money on it for years, is declining to bid. That means Sunday Ticket will go to another service; current top bidders include Amazon, ESPN+, YouTube, and frontrunner (for now) Apple.

The point is, don’t stay with DIRECTV just for NFL Sunday Ticket.


It’s DIRECTV’s answer to Sling TV (which is owned by arch rival Dish Network). Formerly branded various combinations of the words “DIRECTV” “AT&T,” “TV,” and/or “Now,” DIRECTV STREAM provides many of the same channels as a satellite dish. It uses your internet connection to stream the channels, similar to fuboTV, Hulu, or Netflix. Best of all, there are zero contracts and absolutely no commitment beyond the current month.

How do I cancel DIRECTV STREAM?

Especially in comparison to DTV, cancelling DIRECTV STREAM is a breeze. From the app or website, go to the Settings section. From there, choose the Manage My Plan option, then Cancel Plan. You may be asked to provide a reason. There are no cancellation fees. Check your bill to make sure you don’t continue to be charged.

Some DIRECTV STREAM customers have reported getting a message that they have to call to cancel, but we’re not sure what triggers this or how widespread it is.

Ditch “Big Cable” Now – 3 Simple Steps to Cut the Cord

  1. Pick the right streaming service
  2. Get the content you deserve with the best VPN.
  3. Supercharge your internet provider

That’s it — you’ll save money, take back control, and enjoy TV more!

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Frank Moraes
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0 replies on “Easily Cancel DIRECTV: Tips and Tricks for Ending Your Subscription Hassle-Free”

It took me 3 phone calls of varying lengths (20 minutes to over an hour) to cancel my account due to Direct TV trying to tell me I was in a contract I was not in. I had to go back in my emails to find the agreement for the most recent contract. I read to them the order date and confirmation number and the information from the email and they still tried to tell me that I had a contract that I did not have. Needless to say over 3 hours, 3 calls and 5 people later (one person “put me on hold”/hung up on me), I was finally able to get them to fix my account and I was able to cancel the account. I also filed a complaint with the FTC, which they knew I was doing but even knowing this it took me that long to get things straightened out and cancelled.

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