How to Cancel DirecTV In 6 Simple Steps

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Want to know how to cancel DirecTV? Our guide shows how to cancel service, the cost to cancel, and how to avoid the early cancellation fee.

If you want to know how to cancel DirecTV, it’s not the horror story it might seem. We canceled our service with the satellite company in November 2015 and learned that it’s fairly straightforward to get out of a DirecTV contract.

Yes, you will likely need to pay an early cancellation fee as there is a cost to cancel DirecTV. However, there are ways to avoid that. We show how to cancel your contract in six simple steps. To preview, here are the steps:

  1. Call the Retention department
  2. Say you want to cancel the service
  3. Explain why you want to cancel
  4. Send back the receiver and remote
  5. Call to confirm the equipment was received
  6. Pay your final bill

It really is that simple to leave DirecTV. Add that to the number of cable alternatives available today, and it makes little sense to stay in a contract.

How to Cancel DirecTV


With a little work, it’s possible to terminate your DirecTV contract. Here’s how to do it.

1. Call Customer Service


You can’t cancel DirecTV online. Instead, you must call their retention department at 1-800-228-2020 to get out of your contract.

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When the call connects, input your account information to be routed to a representative. Customer service can only do things like discuss your bill. They can’t cancel your contract.

However, if you have AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now), the streaming component owned by the same parent company, you can cancel your contract online.

2. Say You Want to Cancel Your Contract


Once you reach a retention representative, tell them you want to cancel your subscription.

Know how much time is left on your contract. Be prepared to discuss the early cancelation fee.

3. Explain Why You Want to Get Out of your DirecTV Contract


The representative is going to do their best to keep you from canceling your DirecTV service. They will do any of the following:

  • Offer unadvertised discounts
  • Give you NFL Sunday Ticket free for a year
  • Ask you to switch some services to AT&T to get you to bundle

If you’re set on canceling, simply explain why you want to get out of your contract. It’s not their business, but give them a reason.

For example, tell them you’re switching to a streaming service to save money. Sling TV and fuboTV are two excellent replacement options.

Remember that the representative is only doing their job, so be friendly, yet firm. Don’t agree to a deal only to stay in your contract and spend more money, as the deal they offer will eventually expire.

4. Send Back the Receiver and Remote


When you wrap up with the representative they will explain that you’re required to send back your receiver and remote but not the dish. The company will send a box for you to send back the equipment.

The box is prepaid, and you can drop it off at the post office or request it to be picked up at your house.

Once you receive the box, it must be returned within 21 days. If DirecTV does not receive the box within that time frame, they will charge you for both items.

Those fees can cost several hundred dollars, depending on the type of receiver you have.

Pro tip: track the shipment so you can see when DirecTV receives the equipment!

5. Call to Confirm the Box Has Been Received


It may seem like a straightforward request to cancel DirecTV, but mistakes are common. When you see that the company received your equipment, call customer service to confirm they have it and that your contract is canceled.

You can reach customer service at 1-800-531-5000. Representatives are available from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. EST seven days a week.

The representative will likely offer one last discount to encourage you to come back. Instead, kindly say your decision to get out of your contract is final.

If you have any questions on your final bill, now is the time to ask. Ask the representative to walk you through the bill if you are confused about anything on it.

6. Pay Your Final Bill


The last thing to do to cancel DirecTV is to pay your final bill. The billing is less than clear – especially when trying to break your contract. Watch your final bill to make sure it’s correct.

Know the exact day you called to cancel your DirecTV contract, as the rates are based on that date.

After you mail your final payment, you’re free. Congrats!

What is the Easiest Way to Cancel DirecTV?


You cannot cancel DirecTV online or via email. The only way to cancel your account is to call the retention department at 1-800-228-2020 and and speak with a representative.

Customer service can’t cancel your plan, you must speak with a retention representative. They are available 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. EST Monday through Friday.

What Does it Cost to Cancel DirecTV?


There are two fees to pay when you cancel your DirecTV plan:

  • Deactivation fee
  • Early termination fee

The deactivation fee is $15 and cancellation fee is $20 per month remaining on your contract. For example, if you have six months left on your subscription, it’s $15 + $120, for a total of $135 to cancel.

How Much is the Early Cancellation Fee?


Now that you know how to get rid of DirecTV, let’s talk about the early termination fees.

The company does not like to divulge the amount of the fee. After going through the process to get out of our DirecTV contract, I know exactly why they don’t want to make it public – because people would realize they’d save significant money by canceling their contract.

The DirecTV early cancellation fee is always $20 per month, on a pro-rated basis, for each month remaining on your DirecTV contract.

They also charge a $15 deactivation fee.

We had a little over six months remaining on our contract and had to pay $142.70 to cancel our contract. Thanks to our instant monthly savings, we recouped this cost in two months.

How to Cancel Without Early Termination Fee


Many people want to know if you can get out of the DirecTV early cancellation fee. There are ways to eliminate the need to pay the fee, such as:

  • Saying you’re moving to a country where DirecTV doesn’t operate
  • Saying you’re moving into an apartment building that doesn’t allow satellite dishes
  • Experiencing constant outages
  • Saying you’re joining the Peace Corps
  • Canceling for a deceased family member

Lest you think it’s easy to avoid the DirecTV early cancellation fee, the company does often require proof of any of the above reasons. You may want to lie to use a reason, but the company regularly deals with people trying to avoid the fee.

One other possibility, depending on how long you’ve had service, is if they announce a rate increase. They typically do this at the end of the year, in November or December.

*Related: Want to save more on internet service? Check out our guide on how to get free internet service at home to save big bucks!*

In that case it may be possible to cancel DirecTV without penalty.




Cutting the cord on cable has been popular for a number of years. However, 83 percent of homes in America still pay for some sort of cable television plan, according to the International Business Times.

Worse yet, reports indicate that many people now pay over $200 per month on cable. That’s a significant expense that’s easy to slash.

You can get a subscription to fuboTV for one-third of that cost and have much of the same experience you do with DirecTV.

Yes, it does take some work to cancel DirecTV, but with a few simple steps you can break free of the contract and save money each month. Regardless of your financial situation the savings can be used in much better ways.


Have you tried to cancel DirecTV, or other cable provider contract in the past and run into problems? If you’ve cut the cord, what’s been the biggest non-financial benefit to date? If you have cable, what’s keeping you from cutting the cord?


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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.