How to Cancel DirectTV: Cut the Cord Without the Hassle

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Updated February 10, 2023

If you have a DirecTV account and are thinking, “I’m ready to move on – how do I cancel DirecTV?”, then you may be dreading what comes next – the long service call to get rid of your satellite TV services. But you don’t need to dread the experience, because we’re going to show you exactly what to do and say to cancel your DirecTV contact ASAP! This is the best way to cancel DIRECTV, read on!

How to Cancel: First Steps

What’s Best Way to Cancel DIRECTV?

  1. Get your latest bill and account information. You will want any important account numbers and PINs, as well as any contract information you have – especially the terms of your contract and how much time is left. Yes, this could get a little complex if your contract dates back too before AT&T acquired DirecTV, but don’t worry about it. You should have received some updated information if anything changed, and AT&T has tried to make billing and processing part of the same department.
  2. Prepare for a phone call. You cannot cancel online or through an email, etc. The only way to cancel your account is to call up your DirecTV service number. You can contact customer service at 1-800-288-2020. Customer service will be available between 8am and midnight EST, every day.
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  1. Schedule a call when you have lots of time. DirectTV reps may be available, but your own time is valuable. It’s best to call early, and call when you have a lot of time to stay on hold and talk through the DirecTV cancellation policy. Charge your phone battery if you need to!
  2. Talk to a live person. This isn’t always easy, either; there are a series of automated messages and inputs you will need to move through. Always move in the direction of changing your account and talking to a real, live customer service representative when given the option. Don’t stop until you are put on a hold list to have a conversation, because you can’t do this with automation.

Phrases to Use When You Call

We probably don’t need to say it, but trying to cancel over the phone doesn’t always work out. Service providers, including AT&T/DirecTV, have a lot to gain by keeping their customers any way possible, which may lead to some lengthy conversations and a lot of hurdles to jump over. To make the process simpler, here are a few phrases that we found speed things up. We’re not saying that you have to use all these phrases at the same time – instead, think of them as potential strategies that you can pick from, based on your situation and how you want to deal with your call.

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“Please get me into contact with someone who can cancel my account.” Unfortunately, the first person you talk to won’t always be able to help you. The second person may not be able to cancel your account either. Always be ready to say this line and try to move up the chain to someone who will listen to you. If you’ve been repeating yourself for the last few minutes, or you’re listening to the same lines over again, it’s time to find someone else to talk to. If the rep refuses to put you in contact with someone else, keep insisting.

Cutting Cord

“I’m cutting the cord and getting rid of all TV services because I no longer pay for TV.” This approach is more useful than it once was, because it’s becoming a popular lifestyle choice and a way to save money for many Americans. In other words, they hear this excuse frequently these days. The common response is, essentially “Let’s look at how we can save you money instead,” but don’t go down this path. Stay on your first point: you are cutting the cord (sure it’s a cable TV term, but it has broad applications these days), because you no longer want or need to pay for TV – period. In our experience, this is currently one of the fastest ways for cancelling DirecTV.

“I switched services.” The key here is the past tense. If you’ve already bought satellite services or other competing TV services, then your service contact knows that it’s probably too late to change your mind. They may still stick to the script, but it’s bound to hurry the process up. Remember to ignore any, “What can we do to get you back?” questions – the point is that it’s too late, because you’ve already switched, and this is just a formality.

“I’m moving and I can’t get service anymore.” This phrase isn’t quite as powerful as it used to be, but it’s still very effective. The issue here is that AT&T offers a “mover’s deal” to move DirecTV services to a different address, which you will have to immediately refuse. Your best bet is saying that you have to move out of state, or to a different service region, and need to cancel (and keep repeating it). Some people just say they are moving out of the country to avoid annoying questions about their new address.

“I don’t want rebates or new packages, I want to cancel.” These aren’t exactly magic words, but you’ll probably need to say them a lot. When confronted with an offer to lower prices or give you a special discount, you need to keep repeating this. You may have to say it a lot! Keep your cool, and try to have a little sympathy for the customer rep, who is usually following requirements set forth by the company.

Things to Know BEFORE Your Cancellation Call

  • You must be the account owner. In other words, your name needs to show up on the bill. There’s not really a way around this. Unfortunately, this is not always possible in every scenario (death in the family, etc.). AT&T wants to make sure that no one can just call up and change your account whenever they want, but this security measure has its downsides. If you aren’t the account owner but you are the one who needs to cancel the account, then carefully explain your situation and offer to provide any identification required. You may have to mail some proof in, but eventually you can get the account transferred.
  • Don’t accept a temporary account suspension if you don’t need it. In theory, the temporary account suspension is designed to help you pause your service (and save money) for long vacations or work projects outside of the country, etc. This can be a viable solution, but if you want a permanent cancellation, don’t accept a suspension. Don’t let anyone convince you that a suspension is what you really need if you prefer to cancel the account and look for another provider.
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  • You can’t push a cancellation through immediately on holidays. So make your call and ask for a cancellation, but don’t expect it to take affect until the next business day. The same may be true of weekends, depending on your region. In other words, if you want a speedy DirecTV cancellation period, do it when there’s a couple business days ahead of you.
  • Service reps have been known to lie. Shocking, we know. However, it’s worth noting that there are tales about customer service contacts lying about what services are available, what TV services are like, how DirecTV works, and even about how to cancel services. Our own experiences in cancellation haven’t been that bad, but it’s worthwhile to remember that you can’t necessarily believe what you hear on the call.

Cancellation Penalties

Oh, yes, there are DirecTV cancellation fees to pay if you want to cancel immediately. However, DirecTV is very cagey when it comes to just how much you will pay.

DirecTV Dish

First, there is the deactivation fee. If you cancel before your contract ends, you pay a $15 fee, possibly supplemented by an additional $15 fee if you weren’t keeping up on your minimum programming requirements for your particular package.

Second, there’s the prorated early cancellation fee, which is where things get complicated. This fee is applied to every month remaining in your current AT&T contract. It can be up to $20 for every month. So if you have six months left in your contract, you would be paying $15 plus up to $120 for your cancellation, and frequently other little fees also get included, bumping the price up closer to $150. Ouch!

Unfortunately, there’s not an easy way to cancel DirecTV without penalty. You can call and argue about the fees if you want, but if you’ve gotten this far, then it may not be worth the time to get the DirecTV cancellation fee waived. However, if you have questions about the final bill or figures just don’t add up, then by all means ask for an explanation. However, you may have to go through the same gamut of refusing special offers before you get answers, so get your patience ready.

The Next Step: Sending Back Your Stuff

You’re not quite done yet! Getting through the phone call and successfully ordering a cancellation is a triumph, but there’s another step. You should get a box in the mail, pre-addressed, designed for your cable box and cable. Pack up your cable box and its accessories, and then send it back.

This step is vital, because your account won’t be fully cancelled until AT&T receives all your equipment, which was technically leased out. Typically the box should arrive a few business days after your call. If it’s been five business days or so, call customer service again immediately and tell them to ship another box, because your cancellation may have, for some reason, not been processed.


Once you receive the box you have three weeks to get it back, so don’t waste any time packing it up! Lastly, make sure to track the shipment, otherwise you’ll be on the hook. If you drop the equipment off at a local office make sure you get a receipt. Otherwise, if the equipment goes missing, and you have no receipt, you’ll owe some serious money.

Follow-Up Tip: Cancelling DirecTV Now

“DirecTV Now” a much more experimental streaming service. While it’s still offered by AT&T, don’t confuse it with DirecTV’s satellite service, it’s a far different project and not exactly designed to make revenue (yet). In other words, if you want to cancel DirecTV now and aren’t interested in changing much else, the process is much, much easier. Just head to this website, login into your account, and head over to Settings. Choose Manage My Plan, and then Cancel Plan. You will be asked to give a reason why you are canceling, and then you can cancel immediately. There won’t be any cancellation fees, but your service will continue for the current pay period before ending.

Now, take a close look at your next AT&T bill, to make sure that you aren’t still being charged for the service and that there aren’t any odd cancellation fees for quitting Now.

Note: If you are cancelling because of poor service issues, you may be tempted to ask for a refund. However, reports have shown that people are unable to get any refunds for DirecTV Now – there just isn’t an option to provide them. So consider it a sunk cost.

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