How to Break DirecTV’s Contract for Free

So I recently signed up for AT&T and DirecTV in order to take advantage of a few deals that would’ve essentially made DirecTV free. Despite being a cordcutter, it was a decent idea at the time.

I quickly sobered up after spending two months dealing with the ridiculously bad customer service between the companies that advertise themselves as being a family but don’t act like much of one.

Because of this, I decided to cancel my service. Of course, DirecTV tried to hold me to the contract and warned me of an early termination fee of over $400. Having trolled many a contract in my life, I gladly accepted their challenge and set a goal to break the contract for free. Here’s what I learned:

Being Overcharged and Bounced Around

I spent some time working in the trenches of call centers in my teens and early 20s. I’m familiar with how horrific working conditions can be in these places and how negative the atmosphere often is. This is why I typically avoid wasting any time calling a company’s customer service.

However, it was necessary to continue calling both AT&T and DirecTV in order to get the advertised deal you would think would be easy to do in their systems. I called both companies a total of 4 times before finally actually getting the unlimited data plan added to my account. Each prior call I was told I’d have it (even was told in the store that’s what would happen), but in reality, none of these people followed through.

When I finally did get the plan, I had already been overcharged for two months of service. On top of this, I was told I couldn’t take advantage of the combined billing and accompanying discount because of the discount already added on my plan. This didn’t sit well with me.

I was completely polite with the customer service reps and even asked whether I’d be credited for the time I was overcharged, but it became clear AT&T only focuses on specific stats and the reps weren’t eager to refund me money I was rightfully due. Instead they acted as though it was my mistake to listen to the misinformation they gave out.

Being a whistleblower, I already knew how to raise the alarms and put the pressure on these companies who feel they can bully customers, so I wasted no time involving the government to strong arm these companies that feel they can strong arm me.

I also made sure to blast them on social media and every possible review site.

Involving the BBB and FCC

The basic idea is that neither DirecTV nor AT&T has their shit together, but they certainly don’t want the public to know it. Large corporations like this often spend a lot of time, money, and resources projecting the perfect image online in order to trick most people into signing up.

Fortunately, companies like the Better Business Bureau and Federal Communications Commission allow you to file complaints in the event you’re overcharged or have facts misrepresented to you, both of which were the case here. While some may tell you a contract is always binding, it’s quite simple to take a business to task for misrepresenting a contract.

I highly recommend involving companies like the BBB and FCC (or whatever the appropriate government regulator is) in any disputes with a corporation. This forces the company to respond, and you’ll get their “office of the president” instead of a normal customer service rep. The “office of the president” at any company is obviously not connecting you to anyone in the actual c-suite of a company. Instead, you get agents specially trained in handling escalated matters.

ATT Executive Appeals

Initially AT&T’s Executive Response team was unwilling to waver on anything, but after I continued upping the pressure, she eventually conceded that I was due a refund for being overcharged on my wireless bill and I was issued a refund:

ATT Executive Appeals1

Although given a refund from AT&T, even the “office of the president” was unable to do anything about DirecTV. Instead, she called everything valid and went so far as to close my case with the BBB and FCC, requiring me to reopen cases against DirecTV instead of AT&T, since, even though they’re subsidiaries of the same company, they operate separately in every aspect.

So, I had to start dealing with DirecTV’s “office of the president,” who also initially refused to budge on the early termination fee, despite my explanation that I would not be paying it.

DirecTV Office of the President

However, once I made it clear that there was no way the complaints with either consumer agency would be removed until they resolved my issue satisfactorily, DirecTV also caved and waived the early termination fee.

DirecTV Office of the President1

Consumer Have Rights

This blog is not meant to brag but rather to illustrate that you, as an American citizen, do not need to allow your life to be ruled by contracts. There is always a way around them.

I have no doubt some people will read this and think I’m shirking responsibilities or come up with some ridiculous reason why you should fulfill every contract, but that’s just not how the world works. People in power use the working class as resources and pawns, but we have more power than them. This company doesn’t care about me, and there’s no reason for me to care about them. Their in-store and phone reps directly lied to me on multiple occasions and misrepresented facts in order to take my money.

I work hard for my money, and I don’t appreciate dishonest business. I didn’t start the inevitable class-action lawsuit against these companies – I simply exercised my right to walk away from a bad deal.

Don’t ever allow these companies to tell you no and make you feel as though they have power over you or can force you to pay for misrepresented services. Defend every penny you earn and make sure to only give money to those who earn it.

AT&T and DirecTV are lying assholes. Unfortunately living in a van, AT&T is still a useful service, but DirecTV is part of a dying industry that provides no real value. Because of this, they needed to be terminated. If you ever need to terminate your contracts with either of these companies, make sure to play hardball and do not compromise. You don’t owe them anything.

Brian Penny VR HeadshotBrian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. His work appears in High Times, Huffington Post, Fast Company, The Street, and Hardcore Droid.

 

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Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer.

33 thoughts on “How to Break DirecTV’s Contract for Free

  • November 23 at 5:45 am
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    Please do not send mail to this address we don’t like this at all. Thank you

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    • December 4 at 2:49 am
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      Who’s emailing which address that you don’t like? Do you work for DirecTV/AT&T? Maybe it’s easier to actually listen to all these customer complaints than to complain yourself. As consumers, we’ll do whatever it takes to seek justice. That’s what this country was founded on.

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  • November 6 at 1:17 am
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    I am going through the exact thing only worse, when I terminated my wireless account with AT&T they refused to separate my bills, refused to send me a final wireless bill and have held us hostage with no recourse and shut off our Direct TV. I tried to go both the AT&T and Direct TV routes with the runaround and the hardline stance you spoke of. We had a 3 hour conversation conference call with ATT/Direct TV/Sprint and myself to no avail. My wife and I are raising 2 sons and are totally screwed. We definately don’t have the money to stick it too AT&T otherwise we would. My frustrations and fear are overwhelming, we had hoped moving to a new home, saving some money and having the best services we could would be a blessing not a disaster. We are now at the mercy of these communications companies and their shady service contracts.

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  • October 28 at 12:14 pm
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    Even if I get them to cancel my contract, how can I be sure they won’t refer me to a collection agency?

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    • December 4 at 2:47 am
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      You have to get them to agree in writing that you won’t be charged. Once you have it in writing, you can continue referring to that promise. If they were to refer you to collections after promising to waive the fee, you can dispute it in court, through the credit agency, etc.

      Reply
  • October 27 at 1:21 pm
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    I signed up for 24 month plan directv
    I had att internet and phone service.
    They said to link the account get 200$ Visa card .
    I had to change the phone from my husband name to mine.( I lost all my perks )
    They never did get linked.
    I never got Visa card. I recently cancelled internet because I got cancer wanted to work from home.
    After 5 attempts of trying to get full pinging
    The tech said I was to far from the road so upping my plan would not help. I received the return labels. Sent everything back I kept getting bills for 177 dollars even after 2-3 on the phone and being told they received the equipment.
    I was sent to collections. After 8 months finally got the credit off the bill. I was dealing with cancer and was furious so I cancelled my phones and went to Verizon. Now my directv bill went up double.
    Reason they say is because I do not have another plan with them and they dropped my 24 month to 12 month when I never got the perks to begin with.
    They say I don’t have a contract but yet they are going to charge me for 12 more months if I cancel.
    Makes no sense

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  • October 25 at 10:25 pm
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    Yep. I wanted NHL and they said, “Here, this package with NHL for $60.” Okay, sign me up. Turns out that package didn’t have NHL, they wanted me to pay more and wouldn’t work with me at all. So, after 3 weeks of Directv I finally got fed up with the run around and said, “Cancel it.” They said, “Sure, $420 please.” I told them no f’in way and reported them to the BBB and FCC. I was contacted the next day and after a half hearted ploy to make me pay for the NHL AGAIN, agreed to not charge me the $420. I was hot, but held firm. Thanks for the advice.

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  • October 17 at 6:20 pm
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    This article is extremely helpful. I filed a grievance with Atlanta BBB about DirecTV and the next day received a call from “the office of the President”, and I got a credit of $530 ($420 early termination fee plus overcharges & taxes). Thank you very much for the information.

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  • August 19 at 11:33 pm
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    I pay my bill by check and yet they keep my credit card on record. I want it off. Is there anyway to do this? I hate Direct TV. It took two calls to get them to take some sports package off my bill. I hate sports. I also hate dealing with foreign country out sourcing. I’m done with them in 11 months.

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  • July 12 at 7:53 pm
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    Dealing with the SAME and I am FURIOUS! I have been on the phone with “Kimberly” of Direct TV for an hour & gotten nowhere, other than being made to feel like a complete idiot! I signed up for direct tv when att came out with the “get unlimited data when you sign up for direct tv” deal in 2016. But since then, they came out with the deal of unlimited being available for everyone, direct tv or not- but I was already caught in a contract. I called right away and asked what they were going to do in these cases. After days of talking to them, they said with “unlimited plus” you can get $25 off your direct tv plan, for as long as you have direct tv. So, I signed up for that since i’m stuck in the contract anyway. They said i’d start receiving the $25 discount after 3 months (what a joke) and that at that time id also see the $75 credit to my account for the 3 months it takes to set it up… are y’all following this? … I start looking at my bill- after I had to call to even sign on to the stupid direct tv site, because every time i’d try it’d send me to the att site!!!!! (so pissed at this point)… and “Kimberly” with no last name told me there’s no way the 2 id’s were the same…. when I finally got it pulled up there they were on the same screen- both the same id. Although she still insisted it couldn’t be… anyway. We went over this stuff and she never could answer a question with a direct answer!!! We went round and round and round. I have the BASIC direct tv package. The smallest. Somehow, according to her, I have what is $90 a month… then I have a $28 credit, and every now and then a $25 credit, and my $10 referral credit… so my bill should be around $27 a month, but she could never point that out either & never could show me where I was given the $75 credit for the 3 month waiting period! And she was a smart mouth to boot! I asked her last name, which she couldn’t give- so I asked for a supervisor, and was eventually transferred over to a recording that i’m sure is on a repetitive loop saying “all operators are busy- please hold, blah blah blah.” I finally had to hang up & I’ve gotten nowhere! NOWHERE!! I don’t normally say I hate anything, but I HATE HATE HATE DIRECT TV!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m under this contract until May 2018- to me it’s almost worth paying the $20 month cancellation just to get away from them! WHAT A RIP OFF ATT & DIRECT TV HAVE BECOME! I’M SICK OF IT & I CAN’T TALK TO ANYONE!!!!

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  • June 1 at 3:26 am
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    So basically you just bitched until they waived all the fees?

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    • June 1 at 7:49 am
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      haha pretty much. Keep pushing and don’t take no for an answer. They can waive it – they just don’t want you to. It’s the same process as the VA, court, and anything else. If you’re a bigger pile of paperwork than it’s worth, you win.

      Reply
      • July 6 at 8:15 pm
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        I am going thru a nightmare with DTV. I went to local AT&T store to get a cell phone on 6/08/17. The sales person immediately began trying to get me to bundle tv and cell phone. I explained that I was less than 3 months into contract with Dish, loved the Hopper and had no problem. Advised him if I left them, it would cost me in excess of $430.00. Well, he told me that Direct would pay about 1/2 and would work with Dish to keep me from being out anything. I said to him, “I thought they were competitors”, and he said that they work together on this type of thing. On 6/12/17, they, (DTV) Installed their equipment in my house. I was very unsatisfied with what they put in. On 6/15/17, 3rd day, after installation date, I called DTV to disconnect. They would not, because my name wasn’t “DEBRA”. My name is NOT Debra. I finally talked with their Fraud Department and was able to get the name changed on account. They sent me an invoice charging me $540.13. They strung me along for six days before terminating the contract. I am 71 yrs old, have cateracts, and beginning not to hear as well I once did. I have no contract. Now they are saying that I had 24 hrs after signing contract. These people are liars, thieves, and should be stopped.

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  • June 1 at 3:17 am
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    I appreciate the information you provided about your experience with Direct TV and AT&T. I just got Direct TV. Uverse and home phone on March 1st 2017 and I have had nothing but grief! I just feel so trapped and I just want out. I’ve been calling them every week about several issues from faulty equipment to the temporary Internet wire left Un buried for 3 months.And when i call customer service I am being ridiculed for complaining! It’s been a complete nightmare! I can’t live my life without having to add calling AT&T OR DIRECT TV to my list of things to do. I will be calling the federal agency’s you have recommended and try to get out of my contract hopefully soon.

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  • May 20 at 2:33 am
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    I have been nothing but disappointed with direct Tv! They are not even worthy of having “Tv” in their name. Most disgusting network I have ever dealt with in my life!!!!
    Example, I’m an sec sports fan and have only seen 2 games in my year of service, one I had to watch on my phone couldn’t find on tv, the other I had to call customer service to figure out they had it labeled with another team, (after I missed entire 3rd q. Next, good luck when clouds cover the sky, direct Tv takes the day off!!!
    One disgusting complication after another! Customer service….A JOKE!!!
    Take it from me, I’m counting the days to the end of my time with these idiots!!!
    Don’t even consider this co. You will be another mad customer ! Promise! LCB

    Reply
  • April 2 at 10:13 pm
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    I did not get a correct bill for the first TEN months of DirecTV service. I finally got it right for a couple months, and all the sudden my first year “discounts” ended. I think if you have to call, sit on hold, get transferred around, hung up on, put on hold again, transferred around again, and argue until you’re blue in the face, it’s not really a “discount” anymore.
    And now a $200 cancellation fee. I hope the BBB threat works. The idea of giving these assholes more money disgusts me.
    Think there’s any luck in a class-action lawsuit? Judging from the comments page, fraudulent advertising is a regular occurrence with this company.

    Reply
    • April 13 at 6:52 pm
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      I am currently experiencing the exact same issue. I refused to pay the extra because the sales rep guaranteed my bill would not increase after the first year. My bill was wrong every month for 11 months. These agents need accountability and I refuse to pay more because that IS not what I agreed to. I told them they will not get one single additional penny from me. Now we wait for them to get back to me in 3 – 5 business days.

      Reply
  • March 25 at 5:34 am
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    THank you for this article. I am in a dispute with DTV who are trying to overcharge me. I made an agreement in December and they raised there prices in January and so they fill like they can raise my bill. The have rectified this twice but refuse to do this month. I just filed a compliant with BBB

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  • March 25 at 2:37 am
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    I am very interested to see if this works for me. I was bamboozled by a DirectTV sales guy last Saturday. I am a Netflix addict & he blantly lied to me regarding On Demand & Netflix, saying they’re the same and I wouldn’t have to download anything to use On Demand. Well, my internet is too slow for On Demand, something he should have asked me about. I get 1.5 mbps on a good day- Direct TV website states 2.0 or higher for On Demand usage. The satellite was set up on Monday, I called on Thursday to ask about cancelling without a fee- they told me its 24 hours. When actually, I think the law is 30 days to cancel if you’re not happy with your services. I am really hoping they waive the fee especially since I was lied to, to make a sale.

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    • March 25 at 2:39 am
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      Oh and the ‘customer service’ is infuriating! I got bounced around back & forth, nobody could help me because it was the other company’s matter. WTH. I also threatened to file a complaint & apparently its being processed and I’ll hear something back. If not, I’m doing what you did.

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  • March 21 at 12:25 am
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    My bill was completely paid up & I was moving they told me they would put it on hold for six months while I found a place. When I moved they already had directv so I called to just end my service…they charged me $492.96 for service for 6 months that I NEVER even used….plus a $9.95 “convenience” fee to take my payment over the phone! What a flipping joke & a bunch of crooks!!!

    Reply
  • March 14 at 5:38 pm
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    I am going through this exact situation right now! Att and direct tv acted like they were one company but kept transferring me back and forth. What a nightmare!!!! Plus they couldn’t find me in their system for 3 days! Meanwhile they had already sent me a bill. After dealing with them for a week I called to cancel and they said they would be charging me a $460 ECF. I said absolutely not! They are escalating my claim as per the phone rep. I will take the info from your post, I hope it helps me.

    Reply
  • January 4 at 12:18 am
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    They gave me standard boxes instead of the Genie that was offered. They said that I would need to pay $299 for an upgrade on a box that I was already supposed to have received. On top of that, I’ve had service about 4 months and the receiver they sent is malfunctioning and I am expected to pay a tech to visit to fix it. Con artists that do not take accountability for the deceitful actions of their reps.

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    • February 23 at 2:21 am
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      I am also fighting Direct TV ECF. BBB had sighted with them. I have moved to a complex that does not allow any satellites. I was told that was my problem as they do service this area. Even my bank said they are disputing my claim as “Visa does not allow you to dispute ECF”. I will go to my bank again as they said they will add back on the $507 charge even though I returned the equipment! I feel I’m being railroaded. Office of the President said I had to pay. I cancelled the card they used but the bank said they could override and charge it. This will cause me to not be able to pay my rent and I just moved here. I’m on social security and don’t have anyone to help. I’m afraid of getting evicted. God I need your help.

      Reply
      • February 28 at 7:46 pm
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        I’m so sorry you’re going through that. You may try to crowdfund your rent. If the above still isn’t working, contact your state attorney general

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      • March 25 at 5:38 am
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        Call your local news station and the attorney generals office

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      • June 6 at 6:03 am
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        I just saw your complaint over three months after you posted it here. How are things now? Please keep us apprised. If you will email your city and state to smhwh@hotmail.com, I will research what your options are and respond back to you via email. Right off the bat, it sounds like your bank is violating your consumer rights. In such case, I would submit a complaint against your bank to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) via the following weblink: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/

        Reply
  • January 1 at 11:53 pm
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    I was promised 2 $100 dollar visa gift cards if I signed with direct tv. This was only offered when after being on the phone with them for awhile and not really sold on going with direct tv. So the guy offered me 2 gift cards instead of one. Well in the end, I received 1 $100 gift cards and never got the other. when I called and complained they gave me the run around. They finally told me they would open an investigation. I gave up after that. I do not like Direct Tv. I want out of my contract.

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  • December 29 at 4:11 pm
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    Same thing happened to me, after one year my cost for basic package almost doubled. Need to end this contract.

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  • November 2 at 8:06 am
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    I am in the same situation with direct tv. I was promised a $99.00 channel rate. The channel actually charged is $125.00. I have called and chatted multiple times. I have multiple incident reports. I was even promised two credits of 25.00 with tax. When I got my bill after the promised refund the credit was only for $33.00, another direct lie from direct tv.

    I am also over the age of 55, a protected consumer, Is there an additional agency I can complain to including BBB and FCC?

    I think I am exploited and held “hostage” by direct tv. Not only was the promised rate never given they have charged a late fee of $5.00 per month as they delay and deceive.

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    • November 2 at 8:26 am
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      Contact your state Attorney General as well. Every consumer complaint each agency receives, the better picture they have of what’s happening. They won’t help one of us, but they’ll help 10,000 of us. Add your voice and trust the system to scare them.

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  • November 1 at 9:07 pm
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    Your post is exactly what I’m going through right now with the “2 year contract” I supposedly signed, which I probably did when they hooked up my DVR. What I’m mad about is that they give you a “great deal” the first year and now since i am locked into this 2-year thing, they can charge me more if they want; I have no choice and have to pay it, so I don’t want any part of them anymore. So basically what you are saying from the above so I don’t get charged the “early termination fee” is I need to get the BBB or FCC involved with it.

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    • November 1 at 9:53 pm
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      Yup. That’s the only way I was able to reach the proper people who could handle it, and they had record of me calling and trying to resolve it the nice way. Good luck.

      Reply

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