Man Fights Cancellation Fee and Wins

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Philly.com has posted an article about how not reading the fine print when signing a contract can really backfire. Lester Griffin, a preacher in Philadelphia, found this out the hard way and has been fighting a $430 fee that DirecTV says he owes for “early termination.”

DirecTV says he owes the fee for cancelling early on a two year contract, but Griffin says he didn’t know he signed a contract and has refused to pay. DirecTV sent the bill to a collection agency, but Griffin still isn’t giving in.

DirecTV says Griffin had formally agreed to its terms – including the early-termination fee – on the day of installation, when the installer handed him paperwork to read and sign.

Spokesman Robert G. Mercer says Griffin should have already known about the fee, which he says would have been mentioned in his sign-up call with Verizon and was outlined in a preinstallation “Congratulations” letter that confirmed his appointment and said, “Please take a moment to review your order.”

Griffin says he doesn’t recall anything mentioned about a contract, even when DirecTV came to his house to set up the equipment. He said he signed something for the technician, but assumed it was for the equipment.

Mercer graciously provided me a copy of DirecTV’s preinstallation letter, and also a blank copy of the contract the company says Griffin signed. But rather than confirm that Griffin had simply made a careless error and was paying for it, the documents raise more questions – as did the fact that over the last three years, the company has amassed more than 35,000 complaints to the Better Business Bureau, most of them involving its contracts.

DirecTV still insists their conditions and terms were properly and clearly stated, but has agreed to waive Griffin’s cancellation fee.

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