Getting out of a satellite TV contract involves properly documenting each step you take to dissolve your relationship with the satellite company you're using. To avoid steep charges, there are several important steps you should follow.
Get Out of Your Contract With No Fees
Document any issues you are having with your satellite service, such as constant outages during storms or overcast days, channels not properly displaying that you have paid for and any other issues you perceive as incorrect.
Call your service provider while issues are occurring, not after they have been fixed. From personal experience, DirecTV will not document an issue unless it's happening at the time you call.
Call to cancel your contract once you have a good number of issues documented. Explain to the customer service rep that you have had multiple issues with your service, they have documented these issues and you also have copies of the documentation. If they won't budge on the cancellation fee, ask to speak to a supervisor. Be persistent.
Send back your equipment the moment your contract is dissolved. Receivers can cost you up to $450 to $500 alone. Most providers tell you, however, to keep the dish in the hopes that you'll give their service another try down the road, or someone new moving into your residence will decide to try their service.
Ask for documentation that there will be no additional charges. If you receive a charge, file a Better Business Bureau letter and provide your documented issues. I had to do this 2 years ago with my old provider, and the charges were quickly removed.
Get Out of Your Contract With a Fee
Call your satellite provider and tell them you want to end your contract. They will explain that a charge will apply and give you that cost, usually around $150 to $200, depending on the provider.
Ask for return boxes to be sent to you so you can send their equipment back. This saves you the cost of shipping. If they will not send you boxes for a canceled contract, make sure you eat the cost and send back all of your equipment.
Send your equipment back to avoid up to $500 in extra charges. Send that equipment back within 30 days on average. I suggest doing it the same day you cancel your contract. Unreturned equipment charges are often sent directly to collection agencies, which could hurt your credit.
Persistence is key if your satellite service simply isn't providing you proper service. Document every single instance on your own and with a provider's reps.
Getting out of a contract with a satellite provider is not simple. If you find yourself having issues that are not easy to resolve, include the Better Business Bureau since that method has helped many satellite users in the past.