What’s going on with DIRECTV’s $100 credit? Problems, explanations, and a possible solution

On January 14th I published what appeared to be a fantastic deal for DIRECTV customers with Amex business cards: $100 free for DIRECTV customers!  The basic deal was this: you had to register your Amex business card for this promo by 1/31/2015 (Saturday) and use the card to pay $100 or more to your DIRECTV bill by 3/31/15.  If you have multiple Amex business cards (including employee cards), you could register all of them and each would qualify for the statement credit.  The promo was supposedly just for DIRECTV for Business, but it was found to work for personal DIRECTV accounts as well. 

There was a lot of initial excitement about the post, until things got weird…

I did put a caution in the original post.  I wrote:

You cannot prepay more than $100

Eric tried using multiple registered Amex cards to prepay his DIRECTV service far in advance. Unfortunately, after the first $100, Eric’s payments were reversed out.  So your best bet is to use registered Amex cards to pay your bill in January, February, and March, but don’t try to prepay more than $100 at a time.

Then… many readers reported similar reversals. I’m not sure whether people missed the above warning or whether the reversals happen when you have any negative balance.  Let’s look at some reader comments from the prior post.  I’ve bolded some key terms and truncated many comments:

Simon wrote:

I got a call from DirectTV just now telling me there was a reversal on the account of $100. I logged in, and my account is $0.00 balance…

marshdom wrote:

Unfortunately, now both of my $100 payments have been reversed – at least according to my Directv online account. The second reversal apparently occurred 2 days ago, but has not shown up on my online AMEX account yet (nor has the one $100 credit I received been reversed – but I assume that will happen when the charge gets reversed). I guess if this is going to work at all … it’s either going to be a big YMMV … or maybe/hopefully it will still work for making one-time payments against a positive account balance (that can be paid down with a one-time AMEX payment) … I have turned off my auto-payment for now, in hopes that I’ll be able to at least take advantage of $100 or $200 before March 31st.

Ladybug wrote:

It happened to us! We had a zero balance. Went in to prepay $100 on 1/20. Immediately Amex congratulated us, posted the credit w/in 24 hours, the charge went through. Then on 1/21 directv posted our bill which was 103.75, so they charge the remaining on the card on file for automatic payment. On 1/23 someone fr[om] directv called my husband and asked why WE [called] our credit card company and reversed out our $100 payment, which of course we did not!

bob wrote:

VERY similar thing happened to me. A Directv agent called and was incredibly rude saying I had reversed charges and was just not very pleasant at all. Initially I had used 3 different cards and paid $100 each and got the $100 back a couple days later with no issue. I called American Express and they said that there was zero issue on their end and that this was a Directv deal NOT an American Express deal. Long story short, I think that it is Directv that is rejecting the payments, not American Express and then Directv is calling people and saying that the charges were reversed……what a pain

Explanations

I don’t have DIRECTV myself so I can’t experiment with this, but I found a few reader comments illuminative:

E wrote:

The payment page clearly says the max credit balance for an account is $100…

Kent wrote:

DTV billing methodology is really unconventional and whacked. I think it is now run by Skynet. Even the reps I spoke to don’t seem to truly understand how it works – and this is not even talking about the $100 promo.

You are billed for current purchases such as movies, etc immediately (show as $$ owed on your account page) but are not billed for monthly charges such as service until your statement “print date” and those charges are for a future period not for the current period which ended on your bill “due date”. Your bill due date and print date are related but different. What you owe for service cannot be viewed until your bill print date which is after your bill due date. You will still see $0 for service charges on your bill due date even though it is due. Charges will only show on the bill print date. This is confusing me even as I write it. If anyone else has figured this all out, please explain. I spoke to 5 reps who couldn’t coherently do it, but I will say they tried at least. Nice people they are. If you are a masochist, please call the DTV billing dept today.

With all that being said, I believe DTV is regurgitating these overpayments and the reps are clueless. Why would AE reject a formerly approved payment to DTV on an AE card if you have the credit line to pay for it? They might refuse the $100 rebate credit but there would be no logical reason (I can think of) where they would initiate a charge reversal. I mean if I’m AE, let the customer pay for the $100 if they want to, and we’ll just not issue the credit. Then again what the hell do I know.

A possible solution

I don’t know if this will really work, but it seems plausible to me:

Fargus wrote:

The reversal problem happens only if the $100 payment makes your balance negative. To solve it, buy movies until your current bill exceeds $100. For example, if your monthly bill is $89, charge $11+ in movies, then pay. Problem solved!

If you go this path, I think it makes sense to also turn off automatic payments for the time being.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. […] Frequentmiler has a running blog on this. If you haven't started charging an AMEX business card on a personal DTV account, don't. It's worse than not getting a credit, people are losing their $100 (reversals disappear), talking about a class action, reportedly collections is calling and harassing people and threatening to shut down DTV accounts. http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.co…ible-solution/ […]

Comments

  1. I haven’t experienced any problems with this deal (yet). $100 prepayment in January worked fine. Will have to wait until March before my account is fully out of the negative before I can attempt the second card I registered for this deal.

  2. I’ve had negative balances with DirecTV all the time. I use them (and Tmobile) to cash out small value gift cards. I had been focusing on Tmobile more as of late, so I had a $0 balance when I paid $100. No reversal, -$100 balance and a $100 credit from AMEX. Worked easy.

  3. There are some things I won’t go near with a 10 foot pole –DirecTV is one of them. Getting into bed with them is a worse experience, than marrying a woman on antidepressants 🙂 They have numerously won the best award for being the worse at serving their customers.

    • I’ve been with DTV for 9 years and I’ve found their customer service to be excellent. Whenever there has been an issue with reception, receiver, etc, they have always given out either credits, free HBO, etc like it was candy. Just ask for the retention dept and see what I mean. Always nice, at least to me. The only thing I can’t stand is their billing system. What clowns that put that software and methodology together.

      • You must be the exception, I spend an hour a month on the phone with billing, broken promises, bad reception, did I mention billing problems.

  4. I have a bill for over $300 and made $100 payment. Everything went through and even got an email from Amex. The payment was reversed.

    • Expand further on your reversal. This doesn’t make sense. Why would they reverse your payment unless the billing system freaks out if you don’t pay in full?

    • I started an inquiry a few days ago with AE, will take weeks to resolve. AE understands the issue, and agrees that Direct should not have reversed the payment.

  5. Don’t think this has anything to do with overpaying a bill. I had a $120 bill and I paid $100 on it. Got reversed a few days later..

  6. paid a $123.00 DTV bill of my daughters, got the credit on my Amex statement… then a few days later a $100 was reversed. Got several calls from DTV wanting to know why i declined the charge thru Amex.

    • For those who paid $100 on a bill that was over $100 and still got reversed, what did you do next. Reattempt the charge, pay with another credit card, etc?

      My bill will be due tomorrow and will attempt the $100 payment but now I’m not very confident. Wondering if they are reversing any $100 (non-auto) payment on a credit card, not just AMEX.

    • Hey Tammy, DTV actually had the audacity to say you declined the charge? DTV is the one who reversed the charges themselves. Should record them on this lie.

      • They said the same to me and my wife.

        How do you know it was DTV and not Amex? I’m not saying Amex would have done this at the cardholder’s behest, but nevertheless, they could have initiated this.

  7. I keep getting phone calls from DTV. They harassed my wife this morning.

    My credits clearly show “DIRECTV100” in them, so they’re promos, and not merchant returns.

    I’m not sure if it’s Amex pulling the funds back or DTV reversing them and one department not knowing what the other is doing, but something is pretty wrong.

    • Just got off the phone with customer service, was forwarded to the retention center…was asked if maybe I didn’t have enough credit on my card to pay the bill…really!!! She said it was Amex that reversed the charge and I said no it was directv and offered to do a three way with Amex. Anyway after about 45min. she sent it for review and I should have a answer in 5 days.

        • No did not use the same card again since the 100 rebate had already been used…the customer service rep wanted me to use another card but I told her why not just wait to see what happens with the review and she agreed…should know in 5 days, not counting on good news.

        • Thank you Tammy for your info. My bill is at $101, just closed today, due on the 14th. I’m holding off paying, waiting on reports like yours. Please let us know how your review turns out good or bad.

  8. The issue now stands that our $100 has vanished into thin air. It hasn’t been refunded to our amex cards and no one at Dtv seems to know what to make of this. Amex certainly has nothing to do with this. Anyone thinking we need to get the Executives at Dtv involved in this??

    • Thank you all for the updates. Sorry about the nightmares. Have any of you paid with another credit card, a NON-Amex card and had it bounce as well? I suspect many people manually pay their DTV anyway with Visa or MC. I wonder if all types of manual payments are bouncing back, Amex and non-Amex alike. If it is exclusive to Amex cards only then something’s been coded to do that and it’s no bug.

  9. I just got off the phone with DirecTV. Like others’ experiences, they asked why I reversed the charge. I explained that I didn’t do it at which point the rep responded that I wasn’t eligible for the Amex promotion because my DirecTV account is personal and not business. She said that Amex must have requested the reversal because of this.

    She wanted payment right then on the phone so I asked if I could use the same card. Her response was that it would be reversed again and that a second reversal would put my DirecTV account in restricted status which would then require a money order payment for 6 months.

  10. Just got off the phone with Directv. CSR was nasty and threatening before she realized what actually happened. Supervisor informed me that the offer was only for business accounts and Directv was cancelling any payments on personal accounts that were made with a linked card (I guess they have access to this information). Horrible customer service to cancel your payments and then threaten the customer.

    • Wondering why DTV would care. Isn’t AMEX the one paying out on the $100 credit? or does DTV have to take part of the hit for the $100 credit.

  11. Nick H is right. Same experience here. They know it’s about the $100 credit and that it should only apply to business accounts. They manually reverse it and then send their obnoxious collections people to you. Their accounting system is so backwards, they still call after the $100 balance (caused by the cancelled payment) is taken care of. Highly annoying.

  12. Am I the only one contemplating filing a chargeback with AMEX???
    Because they basically stole my payment and refuse to credit my Dtv account or put it back on my Amex card.

    • Class action lawsuit. Amex shows payment as PAID. Promotion agreement with AMEX not with DTV. DTV stole 100 bucks pure and simple.

  13. Something changed! When I looked a few days ago, the $100 credit was an Amex credit.

    But today, it’s a DirecTV credit so they did send back the $100 and Amex removed their credit.

  14. Check your DirecTV bill. As of today, the reverse has been corrected on my account with the memo “Pmt Corrctn-CC”. For what it’s worth, I had a zero balance due when I submitted the $100 payment on 1/20/15. That $100 payment was reversed on 1/26/15. DirecTV had called me to tell me it was reversed and they said it was Amex’ doing. Amex denied that when I called them. Sounds like the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing at DirecTV. Again, it was reapplied/corrected on 2/9/15. Woo-Hoo!

  15. Same here. Got the 100 posted on my DTV account today (Feb 9th). I’m glad this worked out but for everyone here complaining about all these issues and threatening with a class action lawsuit (really??) keep in mind when you signed up for the offer it was very clear this was for BUSINESS accounts. If you have one, then you can complain. If not, STFU and move along. Jeeeez!!!

  16. Like many, all if the reversals were correct on 2/9. Directv called a few times, buy just never answered they just left a message. I prepaid with all 10 of my Amex business cards and dtv is now correctly showing a – 1087 balance. Very nice!

    • So did you guys get the AMEX credit after all or was it removed? ( I see one poster mentioning his was removed but curious about the others). In other words what’s your net? Did you come out $100 ahead per card like we initially expected or are you just happy to get your $$ back and be even.

      • I used 6 AMEX business cards, $100 credit each. I saw the promo $100 credits appear on my AMEX business card account 🙂 I also had the (-$600) sat on my DirecTV account, then on 30-JAN DirecTV reversed $300. But, I never saw the credit reversals show up on my AMEX account. So I waited – then on 09-FEB DirecTV “Adjusted” my account putting the $300 credit back on. So I am good! With $600 of my DirecTV bills being paid by this promo.

  17. Wow, I was charged a $5 late fee and they stopped by $10/month credit promo since they reversed all my AMEX payments!! However, the pay has been applied now, but the late fee and $10 credit/month is gone. What a pain…

    • Short answer: Yes. My 1st $100 Amex credit came through after using a registered Amex business credit card to pay $100 to DirecTV. Three weeks ago, I paid DirecTV $100 using three other different, registered Amex biz cards. All have been credited to my Amex accounts. All four $100 payments to DirecTV have hit my account.

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