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Debit Card Refund -Directv Scam?

Over6T   |     |   2 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?

Shorebreak   |     |   4,077 posts since 2010
You are not the first one at this rodeo...
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!
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   |     |   77 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?
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.
MidAtlantic   |     |   77 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   |     |   2 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   |     |   77 posts since 2012
Whether it is fully used or not is entirely within your control.
richa65   |     |   1 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 

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   |     |   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" !!
Frank Walker
Frank Walker   |     |   67 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.