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Debit Card Refund -Directv Scam?

Over6T
Over6T   |     |   3 posts since 2012

I finally decided to terminate our DirectV service.  I did that in the middle of a billing period and thus was due a refund of the unused balance for the month.  I had been paying for the service through my credit card charge each month.  When I asked the DirectV representative when the refund would be applied to my credit card, she said that they were going to send me a debit card ("gift card") containing the refund amount.  I rejected that offer and said that I wanted the balance refunded to my credit card, or a check issued.  She said that it was their policy only give refunds with a debit card. 

Has anyone else run across this form of refund payment?   It seems to me that the service provider is hoping that a) I'll lose the card, 2) the pin number to activate the card worn't work, or 3) I'll not use the total amount on the card.  This appearst to me to be nothing more than a scam designed to intentionally defraud consumers.  I'm considering contatcting the FTC and filing a complaint.  

Has anyone else run across this issue?



Answers
richa65
richa65   |     |   5 posts since 2016
Thank you OP for bringing this issue to light for those of us experiencing the same issue.  I am having the same issue and my letter below describes my situation.  This practice of issuing gift cards as a refund for a credit card payment is absolutely disgusting and I will make it my personal goal to get it outlawed.
Carmen P. Nava
Senior Vice President – Customer Care
208 S. Akard St.
Dallas, TX 75202
(214) 757-5620 
CN2487@att.com


Dear Ms. Nava,
Below you will find a copy of a past due notice that your company sent me last night.  Let me give you a brief overview of where we are.
  • July 29th - I called and disconnected service to move to AT&T Uverse.
  • August 1st - Your company charged my credit card for an entire month of programming rather than the 1 day out of the billing cycle that I actually had service.  Shortly thereafter, I received a bill showing a credit due to me of $126.92.
  • October 21st - having not received my refund and given the extraordinary amount of time that had elapsed, I called DirecTV for details on my refund status.  I spoke to 4 different reps, none of whom would assist me.  The first 2 simply wanted to sell me on returning.  I think it's important to note that since leaving DirecTV for AT&T Uverse, your relentless and cannibalistic sales force has continued to hound me into returning to DirecTV despite my repeatedly informing them that I'M STILL WITH AT&T.  The 4th representative that I spoke to on the 21st said that Citibank had been contracted to send a gift card and that it was mailed in late August.  Furthermore that it was out of AT&T's hands at that point and I would have to contact Citibank.  I informed them at the time that I had not engaged Citibank in a business transaction and that I would not be contacting them on your behalf.
  • October 21st - I called my credit card company and reversed the charge of 126.92
  • October 26th - Your company had the audacity to send me a PAST DUE notice which you can see below.
First, let me state for the record that I have held AT&T stock since the 1970s, through the RBOCs and then the re-merger of AT&T.  My wife is a former AT&T employee and I have a number of friends who are Director level and above at AT&T's midtown tower here in Atlanta.  I am disgusted by the way your new subsidiary DirecTV is behaving.  
In 2009, Citibank took $462B in Tarp funds from our the citizens of this country in order to stay afloat after a horrendous streak of greedy and stupid decisions on their behalf.  The bank should absolutely have failed, it should not continue to operate today, and I refuse to engage them in any business transaction.  Therefore, for your company to take the liberty of contracting them to send me a gift card rather than simply refunding my credit card -- it disgusts me.  For your company to throw their hands up in the air and point me to a company that I in NO WAY ENGAGED IN DOING BUSINESS WITH is despicable.  The fact that your company uses this gift card program knowing full well that a large percentage of customers will never use the funds on the gift card is appalling.  I am frankly SHOCKED that this is even legal and if you persist, then I will persist.  Specifically:
I have already filed a complaint with the FCC (Ticket #xxxxxxxxx).  If I do not have a resolution from your office by 11/1, then I will be reaching out to my congressman and senators to discuss your highly questionable practice of issuing gift cards as a refund mechanism.
Surf4fun
Surf4fun   |     |   1 posts since 2016
Richa65, Very well said! I also had a huge problem with getting a "gift card" instead of a credit back to my account. @midatlantic, it's a matter of convenience or in this case " inconvenience". The debit card took over a month to find its way to me, the DirecTV agent told me that i would receive a credit, NOT A GIFT CARD, then, when I went to use it, it was rejected because it wasn't activated on the Citibank website. FYI, The card cannot be used at an ATM and you cannot get Cashback or even reload the card if you wanted to continue to use it. After a certain time Citi can charge you a monthly fee. Most importantly, if you can't or didn't pay off the credit card that DirecTV routinely charged before your monthly cutoff date, your credit card company will charge you interest. So you have to ask yourself, why do I need to deal with all of this #@&*! when it could all be handled by the Dtv agent with a push of a button and both customer and company are done and settled?!? I think Over6T makes a good case. Anyway, best of luck to all, and if you think you have a case or class action, guess again, we've all agreed, by using the service, that we will go through "arbitration" !!
Sean McMahon
Sean McMahon   |     |   1 posts since 2017
@Richa65: Regardless of resolution, that letter has got to be one of the greatest corporate bitch slaps of all time. I truly hope you were able to resolve the situation. I don't know you, but I know that feeling of helplessness these things induce. Again, good luck in getting back what's yours.
richa65
richa65   |     |   5 posts since 2016
Thank you, Sean. It was resolved within 2 hours of sending that email. They removed the past due notice and let the charge back that I made to my credit card stand.

I think the key is that once they know that there is an FCC complaint filed, they know they are going to have to close the complaint with the FCC, so they may as well get it taken care of. In this case, I doubt seriously that they wanted to argue with the FCC that it was now Citibank's problem.

It's unclear to me how much of this is an intentional effort to avoid refunding customers and how much of it is just corporate incompetence. When you are dealing with these two particular entities, you can certainly make an argument for either option.
David Lee
David Lee   |     |   4 posts since 2017
Oh, it's done with purpose. Not only do they benefit from unused cards and unused balances, but they also get to keep your money for longer (cash flow, use of capital, etc) while it takes weeks for the card to get to you, then more days/weeks for you to get around to use it.

In my opinion, things like this should be illegal - a service provider shouldn't be able to hold on to your payment when no service is being provided; by keeping your money and not refunding it in a convenient and expedient manner, they're essentially making money off of it (without providing something in return), and that shouldn't be allowed.
Trudi Cooper
Trudi Cooper   |     |   3 posts since 2016
On Sept 13, 2016 I got an email saying my DirecTV refund was processed and I would be receiving a prepaid Visa card from Citi Services.  On October 4, I started calling both DirecTV and Citi about the missing card.  After speaking with a Citi supervisor, I was told the refund file from DirecTV was "corrupted" around the date of my initial email.  They were working to fix it, but the CSRs were not advised of this situation .  After more phone calls, I was told the card was expedited on October 12, 2016, and I should expect it Oct. 19 or 20.  I still have not received the card as of Oct. 25.  Tomorrow will be the 10th business day.  What an unmitigated hassle.  The refund should have been credited to the credit card I used to pay the monthly bill.  Lousy way to run a business as large as DirecTV.
Trudi Cooper
Trudi Cooper   |     |   3 posts since 2016
It's November 2, still have not received a debit card from Citi. Angry and frustrated.
Trudi Cooper
Trudi Cooper   |     |   3 posts since 2016
My gift card arrived Nov 10, finally. I don't believe the first card was ever mailed to me. At least it works in regular stores.
David Lee
David Lee   |     |   4 posts since 2017
I just went through with them trying to get my refund. They told me they issued it, but i never got it. After waiting patiently for 20 days, i contacted them again, and they tell me to contact the issuing card customer support. I called them - they tell me i need a refund reference number. I contact dtv again, they give me the same thing and i have to jump through hoops to get the refund number. I call the card again, they have no record of this refund, and say it was never issued. DTV says it was issued and i should talk to their management people to resolve this (what... is a resolution center if i have to talk to someone else?), bank says they never got the request. And i say screw it, im gonna call my credit card company and just charge it back, as i should have.

A month of time wasted, lots of phone calls, chats and run around... yeah, this is why DTV should, LIKE everyone else, just issue refund back to the card that they charged. It's clear to me that they want to make the process difficult, filled with incompetent people and processes. Don't waste your time - just charge it back and be done with it.
richa65
richa65   |     |   5 posts since 2016
Just so everyone knows, when you issue the charge back, DTV will respond immediately by marking your payment as late and your account delinquent. That's before they go to any trouble to prove to your credit card company that you actually owe them money.
David Lee
David Lee   |     |   4 posts since 2017
I don't owe them money - they owe me. I have proof of cancellation (and i'm not on contract) as well as paid statements, along with documented communication (emails. chat) and proof of returned equipment. My account is in good standing. Sure, if you charge back during contract and owed balance or late on payments, what you say probably is true.

I already got this credited/charged back by my issuer within 48 hours.

I would have worked with DTV if they weren't so damn incompetent and frustrating to deal with over the past month (including having the retention staff get testy and curt with me for cancelling; i've NEVER experienced a retention person act in that manner). I'm not gonna keep wasting time to get back a refund that most providers give within a few days. In fact, i also changed internet providers, around the same time and i already got my debit card refund (seems to be the trend in refunds) from them in a timely manner (optimum).
Shirley Peaster
Shirley Peaster   |     |   1 posts since 2016
I went thru my agreement with MasterCard and visa and it is clear, if I take a credit card payment from you, I MUST refund back to the card!  So, yes, there is a problem with the way this is being handled!  Also, I had to take a debit card for my Oklahoma state tax refund last year...New policy.  When I tried to put that money back in my checking account, I couldn't...I had to "spend" the money.  There is something inherently wrong with that concept!
Ally6770
Ally6770   |     |   2,130 posts since 2010
Always request a direct deposit in your tax return. I do like money or gift cards. 1 billion in money and gift cards were not cashed last year and 45 billion between 2006 and 2011.
MidAtlantic
MidAtlantic   |     |   83 posts since 2012
They are giving you the refund which you expect and you reject it as a scam designed to intentionally defraud?  I would take it without hesitation. Why does everything have to be a conspiracy or scam?

I have received various refunds/rewards in this form without any problems.
Over6T
Over6T   |     |   3 posts since 2012
This isn't about the aaamount of money they owe me, it's the principle.  Use of a debit card as a refunding method is design intentionally to create "slippage", e.g. a purposefully constructed payment resulting in pay out of less than 100% of the money owed to it's customers.  I'm guessing that use of debit cards in this manner results in loss to consumers (read added revenue to the company) of at least 15% or more.  This has got to be a huge net revenue generator since there are very little costs involved,  This issue isn't about whether consumers get paid, it's about the intention of the company to pay out less then the amount owed to its customers.Put differently - why would a company not simply refund money to the same credit card account from which they charged a consumer - or, simply issue a check?   Why would they choose to use a rather clumsy payment instrument when they can simply put the money back in the account from which they originally charge it.  OH YES,  DTV is intentionally defrauding it's customers, no doubt about it. 
MidAtlantic
MidAtlantic   |     |   83 posts since 2012
Whether it is fully used or not is entirely within your control.
itserich
itserich   |     |   31 posts since 2016
Requiring people to use a debit card instead of refunding cash is ridiculous.

Consumers need 1) common sense and 2) self esteem.
David Lee
David Lee   |     |   4 posts since 2017
I just went through with them trying to get my refund. They told me they issued it, but i never got it. After waiting patiently for 20 days, i contacted them again, and they tell me to contact the issuing card customer support. I called them - they tell me i need a refund reference number. I contact dtv again, they give me the same thing and i have to jump through hoops to get the refund number. I call the card again, they have no record of this refund, and say it was never issued. DTV says it was issued and i should talk to their management people to resolve this (what... is a resolution center if i have to talk to someone else?), bank says they never got the request. And i say screw it, im gonna call my credit card company and just charge it back, as i should have.

A month of time wasted, lots of phone calls, chats and run around... yeah, this is why DTV should, LIKE everyone else, just issue refund back to the card that they charged. It's clear to me that they want to make the process difficult, filled with incompetent people and processes. Don't waste your time - just charge it back and be done with it.
Shorebreak
Shorebreak   |     |   4,118 posts since 2010
You are not the first one at this rodeo...
http://direct-tv.pissedconsumer.com/sent-refund-on-a-debit-card-20150112581632.html
joecas9
joecas9   |     |   1 posts since 2016
I am in the midst of doing just what you describe.  I am so GLAD I ever signed up for Direct TV.  I went to citibank asking for assistance since that was who issued the card.  Guess what the denied all affiliation with the refund program.  I would have to spend the money thru purchases  or forfeit it.  Welcome to big corporations' way of screwing the consumer.  Live& Learn
MidAtlantic
MidAtlantic   |     |   83 posts since 2012
Here we go again. Who is being screwed? You have your refund. You can spend your refund. What "assistance" did you expect Citibank to give you?
crazcmac
crazcmac   |     |   1 posts since 2016
I have had the same issue...I cancelled Nov 17. I received a email on 12/6 saying On December 06, 2016 we processed your DIRECTV refund in the amount of $50.58. You will receive your refund in the mail shortly, in the form of a prepaid Visa debit card or check, from our refund partner, Citibank. Please allow up to ten business days for delivery. If you have not received your refund from Citibank within ten business days, please contact Citi Card Services at (877)855-7201. Well it was on 12/19 I called and asked direct TV where refund was since it was about 10 days and Direct TV gave me a confirmation number then said it should of been in already, please give CITI Bank a call to see where refund was. I did just that, CITI bank said they had no record of it, but told me that it was not 10 days yet and that was how long it would take before it would be processed from Direct TV to Citi bank; which means, I would have to wait longer for a card to be issued. I am beginning to think the two are trying to scam people out of the refunds. I wish there was something all of us could do legally. What if you don't receive refund? Could you just be Out of Luck or is there any further action we could take?
Frank Walker
Frank Walker   |     |   83 posts since 2016
I'm completely aware the thrust of this thread is obtaining fair treatment from DirecTV.  It's not my intent to be disrespectful of that focus, but I'm unable to contain myself.  Hence:

I want to offer my most sincere and heartfelt congratulations to the OP, and to anyone else who has had the good sense and wisdom to jettison DirecTV.  Telling DirecTV to "get lost" is an indication of acquired genius.  This may happen sooner for some and later for others, but no matter.  The important thing is getting out from beneath their vicious, uncaring, insolent boot heel.

The OP might, or might not, receive his or her well-deserved partial refund.  I hope the refund is properly paid out.  But what matters so much more is finally being free of the DirecTV scourge.  This alone merits respect from us all, and is sufficient cause for vigorous celebration. 
Debby Schaefer
Debby Schaefer   |     |   2 posts since 2017
Boy I wish I had all these comments on what to do about Direct TV when I sold my house and moved October 2016. I had mine bundled with AT&T, a company that has many components (internet, Direct/Uverse, and phone). All of those components are separate entities when you sign up for them and nicely bundled, but none talk to each other when you move and must disconnect each separately.

In May, 2016, due to rising costs of Uverse, I was told by someone at AT&T that if I got Direct, it would lower my monthly costs to something a senior could afford. I expressed my concern in signing up for that, as it had a 2 year contract associated with it and I was putting my house up for sale. I was told that there was a $400 fee that would be waived if I terminated the contract early because I was moving. House went on the market mid July, we closed mid October. I sent all equipment back before leaving the state, using their specific carriers (UPS for the internet modem) and special boxes for Direct receivers and remotes.

About a month later, I checked my ATT.com account to find out when the cell phone bill would be due. I had expected to find a bill for $0, but instead I found a $526.47 bill due, partially for service after the termination date, and 2 early termination fees. I was shocked! How can I be charged for service, when I no longer live there, and they have received their equipment? Real long story short, it took me a lot of time talking to AT&T AND Direct CSR to even get to the "we'll send you a card" and then you can pay us what you owe us (which I never owed them to begin with). Fast forward to the end, it took about 55 hours and 43 different agents, all of whom I documented, plus 3 months to get my card for $360.

I would have loved to have these articles on resolution by filing an FCC complaint months ago. But I just activated my card this morning, and at least hope to use it all up this month, before I get charged a monthly fee to use my money. I will NEVER EVER use Direct TV or ATT internet services again!!!!!
Debby Schaefer
Debby Schaefer   |     |   2 posts since 2017
Hehehe, you thought this was the end of the story, right? I called the number on my new debit card from Direct to activate it. It gives me a PIN. The 2 options on the paper that came with the card, indicate that I can now make purchases, or do a "bank transfer" by going online and moving my "reward" funds to my bank account. I go to the website listed on the card, prepaid.citi.com/directv, find the article and read it, but when I select to set up the account to do this transfer, I get "error message 404", saying sorry, this page does not exist. So, I call the 800# on the card. Now, I am told I have to wait 24 hours after activating the card to do this. I ask why this 24 waiting period is mentioned nowhere in their card activation nor on their webpage. The response is "we are sorry for your inconvenience, try again tomorrow".....so the saga continues.
unsuscribe
unsuscribe   |     |   1 posts since 2017
Hi,Debby I see you are had the same issue's I'm having now with there separate computer system's before att bought DirecTV 2014 they told me the only way to save me money is if I bundled I was getting different charges on my American Express finally after being told it was ATT no contact DirecTV no rep ever took care and finally I was told bundling doesn't work for everyone.fast forward to 2016/17 in June 2016 for there big promo I was asked If I wanted to upgrade DTV for 7.00 I had Uverse out 2 weeks before changing modem for conection issues now there saying I had service before the promo It said within 2 years if you haven't gotten a promo right on flyer.I'm disabled I can't pay 37.00 for internet and 63 for cell and 51.99 for DTV I will have to disconnect the TV and the Internet and since they went back on there word and can't see the other computers It's a breach of contract on there behalf And they best not charge my debit Card.+non of there att.com email's work they go direct to att website not there inbox so I will try there #
Dave Nemeth
Dave Nemeth   |     |   1 posts since 2017
Yea, I got my refund alright! in the form of a debit card. I went to you this valuable asset which originally was $17.00 and some change. It was only worth a little more than $2.00. Directv sucks big time.! How can such a billion dollar corporation be permitted to screw everyone every chance they have. i went to use
Kaight
Kaight   |     |   69 posts since 2011
Smart people do not subscribe to DirecTV in the first place. Period.
richa65
richa65   |     |   5 posts since 2016
They do if their other option is Comcast.
Karen Stutzman
Karen Stutzman   |     |   1 posts since 2016
I received my refund on the direct tv visa card, which I wouldn't mind if I could get it activated!!! When you call the activation number, you simply have to go through the automated system which is nothing but multiple marketing, after 10 minutes, I decided it wasn't worth it! which is not right. I shouldn't have to throw away $66 simply because I can't get the card activated. I tried calling directly, but not luck there either. If anyone knows how to resolve this, I'd love to know.
Over6T
Over6T   |     |   3 posts since 2012
Karen: Your situation is EXACTLY what DirectTV is hoping will happen with their refund scam. They are hoping that you will give up and forget about your refund. Here's an update on my pursuit of the refund. I called Direct TV and firmly, but politely, insisted that they refund my money to my credit card account. Only after I finally was able to talk to a supervisor did they agree to honor my request and refund the amount to my credit card. As they planned, I had to make several calls and get very "intense" with the Customer Service Representative. Eventually, they gave in and agreed to myy request. (PS: I also told them I was retired and had a LOT of time to pursue this matter.)
richa65
richa65   |     |   5 posts since 2016
Don't let them get away with this nonsense. Here's how to solve the problem. I know because I solved it.

1. File a complaint with the FCC.  It takes 2 minutes. https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us

2. Email DirecTVs SVP of customer care - she reports to the president of the DTV business unit.

Carmen P. Nava
Senior Vice President – Customer Care
208 S. Akard St.
Dallas, TX 75202
(214) 757-5620
CN2487@att.com

 In that email state that you have filed an FCC complaint and give them the ticket # from the FCC. State that you will not continue to pursue fixing the gift card situation with Citibank and that the only acceptable resolution will be a refund to the credit card you used originally or a check from DTV. Further state that if they persist, that you will next reach out to your 2 US Senators and your Representative to bring them up to speed on this practice.

I received a call from the office of the president within an hour of sending my email and the problem was solved.  If for some reason that does not work for you, call your credit card company and reverse the charge in the amount that they owe you. IE, you do not need to reverse the full charge - you can specify a smaller amount that you are owed.  I did this preemptively as I was angry, however, if I had it to do over, I would have waited.

 And for the record, that gift card that they "mailed" to me during the summer -- never showed up. Shocking.
Ally6770
Ally6770   |     |   2,130 posts since 2010
TO Richa65 My cousin Braden just got this last night and I sent your info to him because he was promised $400 Visa card and his email came through for $100 this afternoon. He did as you suggested and had a phone call within 30 minutes. Everything is cancelled and no fees or charges of any kind. He also had the name and phone number of the salesperson who sold him the package and put that in the FCC complaint and to this person above. HE THANKS YOU.
Ally6770
Ally6770   |     |   2,130 posts since 2010
My cousin called this morning and said he was charged on Dec 31 for the direct tv and AT&T bundle and it was refunded on the 31st. So the FCC and the emailing to the the above address helped a lot. He said that he actually spoke to a person who identified herself as Carmen Nave and because he had the name and the phone number of the salesman and a list of lies he told as well as information that she said was confidential and he should not have had that information she was sending the complaint on to her supervisor. Again he thanks you.
case303
case303   |     |   1 posts since 2017
I too have been victim to all of the same bad practices here.

I have both emailed DirecTV and filed an FCC complaint (#1398760).

In addition to this good advice, I would recommend contacting Citi, as they may be able to do a "one time" re-issue of a card and partial funds that were not used.

Good luck.
Virgil J. Shuler
Virgil J. Shuler   |     |   1 posts since 2017
Just to piggyback on everyone else complaints, I too having a problem with this B.S. azz gift card. On today, 3/6/17 3:48 pm, while trying to redem the credit monies of my over a month canceled account, trying to "transfer" the balance to my bank, the website would NOT allow me to access the balance on my card, so I called "customer service" HA ! oh sir you have to fill out all the required info I did it once, twice a third time with the rep. on the phone to no avail, long short, now they are going to mail me a check (probably rubber) and another 4-6 week wait. Scam you bet in the highest degree !!
MidAtlantic
MidAtlantic   |     |   83 posts since 2012
Why bother with transferring it? Just take the card with you when you go shopping and use it.