DirecTV customer charged $160 early termination fee after her death
The family members of a 102-year-old California woman said they were stunned to receive a DirecTV bill including an early termination fee months after the elder died.
Isabel Albright, of San Lorenzo, was born before television became a mainstay in American homes, but was still a faithful subscriber to DirecTV, her son-in-law, John Manrique, told ABC-affiliate KGO.
Since the centenarian's death in December 2018, Albright's loved ones have been in the process of sorting through her estate, cleaning out her home and closing her final accounts.
Recently, Manrique said his family began disconnecting the last of Albright's home services, which is when they were informed they'd have to pay an extra $160 to cancel her satellite TV due to an "early termination" fee.
"She's gone. Nobody's living (here)," Manrique told KGO. "We're selling the house. You're going to tell us we have to keep the service at a house that's not ours?"
The family eventually found out that the charge stemmed from a DirecTV box they had installed in Albright's home for a caregiver who moved in with the senior toward the end of her life. Apparently, when the box was purchased, it started a brand new two-year agreement with DirecTV, unbeknownst to the family.
"Nobody told us that,'' Manrique said. "And, in fact, we made it clear when we added the TV in the extra room that it was a temporary thing... we're saying my mother in law's on hospice, we're not gonna pay, you know, (a) two-year contract."
The family said they later learned the termination fee resulted from a simple mixup — instead of the account being registered to Albright, her daughter Linda's name was on the contract, as she had been handling her mother's bills when the elder was no longer capable of doing so herself.
At first, the family claimed DirecTV would not budge on the matter. However, after KGO reached out to resolve the issue, Manrique said she received a letter of apology and agreement to waive the early termination fee from DirecTV's parent company, AT&T.
A spokesperson from AT&T confirmed to In The Know that the fee "was a mistake because of the name on the account."
"In this type of situation, we cancel accounts and waive all early termination fees," the company said, adding, "we have apologized to the family and resolved this."