No streaming service ever wants its subscribers to cancel but DirecTV Stream seems to go an extra mile to make the process as hard as possible. Considering one of the main reasons households cancel subscription services is the cost, services should make the process as easy as possible. After all, and while a subscriber might leave a service, they’re far less likely to sign back up again if they already know that canceling is going to be harder than it needs to be.
There are few live TV streaming services like DirecTV Stream. While there are competing services including fuboTV, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV, all of these services have remained relatively the same. Their prices and plans have been tweaked over time, but they are still the same service. In contrast, DirecTV Stream has, in a little over five years, gone through multiple rebrands, many of which have resulted in various changes.
Under its current guise, DirecTV Stream offers four main plans and base channel lineups to choose from, with the price ranging from $69.99 to $149.99 per month. Signing up is easy enough and actually using the service is also fairly easy, providing you have a device that’s supported. However, when it comes to canceling, DirecTV Stream doesn’t make it easy. On paper, the process is simple enough and it is even possible to cancel DirecTV Stream through the mobile app – something some other live TV services don’t offer. The problem is, and no matter what platform you are canceling on, the cancel button doesn’t actually cancel the subscription.
Instead, DirecTV Stream makes subscribers go through the process of canceling only to then require them to speak (via online chat) with a representative. It is unclear why this is required, but it does seem like an unnecessary step. What’s more, there’s no clear indication that this is actually a requirement before signing up. For example, DirecTV Stream explains the process of canceling in a help post but conveniently leaves out the part about speaking with someone, simply stating the subscriber will then need to “follow the prompts” to complete the cancellation. Though technically correct, it feels far different from actually having to speak to a representative.
After experiencing the problem personally and then checking online, it quickly became clear that this is not a welcome move. There are various posts on forums like Reddit pointing out the issue and how it can lead to further complications. For example, complaints of a a chat representative being unavailable or this Reddit post which describes the ‘chat to cancel’ button as not working. Neither of these issues were encountered when personally testing the process, but it’s fair to assume many consumers will likely be trying to cancel close to their next billing date and any issues that potentially delay the process could result in unnecessary and unwanted payments being made. In fact, this Reddit post says that’s exactly what happened to them, claiming they were charged the next monthly payment after having canceled the service through the chat representative.
While some of these posts date back to November of last year, which was soon after DirecTV Stream “launched”, there are far more recent ones such as this one on Reddit, and the practice was certainly still in effect this month when canceling the service. After opening the chat, the cancellation request had to be reconfirmed, the reason for the cancellation explained to the representative, and an offer of ‘free HBO Max for two months’ rejected before the representative would complete the cancellation request. Although no problems were actually encountered when chatting to the representative and canceling the service, it is still something that DirecTV Stream could and should improve on.
In reality, the current process won’t stop anyone who is intent on canceling their subscription, but it certainly may make them think twice about signing back up again at a later time. DirecTV Stream isn’t a bad service and it is likely to be a really good option for some homes. However, having a cancel button on the website and in the app that doesn’t actually cancel the subscription is not a great look and doesn’t leave the best parting impression.