So, you want to know how to cancel DirecTV. DirecTV is going to make cancelling seem daunting and there have been horror stories of DirecTV lying to customers or charging big fees when you try to cancel. But don’t worry—we’re going to teach you how to cancel directv without the nightmare.

We’ve broken down how to cancel DirecTV into 5 steps to make things as simple as possible, but we’ll also go over how to cancel DirecTV Now and how to waive DirecTV fees. Here’s a preview:

How To Cancel DirecTV

  1. Call Retention at 1-800-288-2020
  2. Prepare Your Excuse (like moving abroad)
  3. Stay Firm, Be Friendly, and Avoid Fees
  4. Return all your DirecTV Equipment
  5. Call Back and Confirm The Cancellation

Now let’s get a little more in depth!

1. Speak to Retention

Cancel DirecTV Retention
The absolute best thing you can do is make sure you’re talking to DirectTV or AT&T retention.

Okay, so the first (and maybe most important) opening step in your quest to cancel DirecTV is making sure you talk to the Retention Department.

First of all, speak to the retention department. There’s a direct phone number for the DirecTV retention department, but call their main number (800.288.2020 or check your bill), and follow the menu by telling them you want to cancel DirecTV. The menus change all the time and sometimes are confusing, but just stick to your guns. Don’t talk to technical support. Don’t talk to billing. Don’t say you’re just transferring service. All of those options will take you to the wrong (often overseas) department. Just say “Cancel Service.” That’s all you want: “cancel service.”

DirecTV Phone Number: 1-800-288-2020

Once you get to to a person, ask them if they’re with retention. If they’re not, ask to get transferred to retention. Literally nobody else will be helpful. But if you’ve made it to the promised land of retention, it’s time to get started cancelling your service.

2. Prepare Your Excuse

DirecTV Moving Away
Tell DirecTV you’re flying away, never to return.

The job of a DirecTV retention rep is to keep you from cancelling service, so you have to give them a reason why you’re cancelling. If you say “just ’cause,” they’ll keep badgering you about it. It’s impossible to know exactly what reasons will make your life easier, but a good rule of thumb is:

Say you’re cancelling for a reason they couldn’t possibly talk you out of.

Saying you’re moving to a non-DirecTV area is one of the big secrets to how to cancel DirecTV service. The tricky part there is that because they’re a satellite provider, there aren’t many non-DirecTV areas!

Stuck with DirecTV? If you don’t want to cancel, we’re here to help! We negotiate with DirecTV to get you a better rate without losing any service, guaranteed. We can even negotiate your ETF. Give it a try!

DirecTV is active in Latin America, so avoid saying you’re moving down old Mexico way. Europe tends to be a safe bet. You can do like Ken did and say you’re moving to England.  Or, have a little fun with it–Timbuktu, Pulau, Liechtenstein–feel free to make up whatever you want. The important thing is that if you tell DirecTV you’re moving somewhere they don’t service, they’re not going to fight you.

There are a couple other good options if you don’t happen to know much about Timbuktu. One that may actually be true is that you’re just cutting the cord. Tons of DirecTV users are “cutting the cord” (cutting the dish?) as their way to cancel DirecTV but be warned, they may try to sell you on DirecTV Now or AT&T Internet upgrades!

It’s tempting to tell the rep all the reasons you’re actually cancelling your DirecTV service. Don’t get sucked in. Maybe you’re quitting because you’re tired of the service going out when it rains or dealing with their customer service department, but those are problems they can promise to fix! You want a reason they can’t fix. And baby, Timbuktu is that reason.

3. Stay Firm and Be Friendly

DirecTV Cancelling Friendly
Just stay friendly like these weirdos! (How do those phones work in a field?)

DirecTV is going to try to keep you from cancelling. They will try discounts, they will offer a service transfer, they’ll offer free NFL Sunday Ticket (actually, that one is a pretty good deal) or they’ll try to get you to at least switch to AT&T services (it’s the same company!) They are especially going to push you towards a new contract for a lower rate. It only hurts their number if you cancel today so they may just tell you to sleep on it. Be firm in your conviction to cancel—they’ll jump on any hesitation or questions—but remember to always stay as friendly and polite as possible.

Pro Tip: A lot of DirecTV accounts have contracts already on them. Sometimes that can mean cancellation fees as high as $480 PLUS a Deactivation Fee of $15! This can be a big barrier to cancelling DirecTV, but don’t be afraid. We’ve written a handy guide to getting out of every cent of those “Early Termination Fees.” But be warned, it isn’t easy.

The DirecTV retention rep you’re talking to holds your very fate in their powerful, dangerous hands. They have the ability to shut off the service early even though you’re still having people over for the game before the disconnect date or to turn of paper bills but keep charging you and get you sent to collections. Believe me, we’ve seen it all. But be nice and friendly and helpful? They’ll go out of their way to make sure your cancellation is scheduled correctly and they’ll get boxes sent out for your equipment. But you need to prepare for both scenarios. That’s the next step.

4. How to Return DirecTV Equipment
(otherwise, they’ll keep charging you!)

Returning DirecTV Equipment
The good news is you don’t have to return your satellite dish.

Okay, you’ve actually done it! You’ve cancelled DirecTV! It’s all over, right? Wrong! Until you return your DirecTV equipment, DirecTV still has it’s claws in you. They’ll charge you all sorts of fees and it can get pretty scary. The rule here is basically everything that says DirecTV on it other than your dish—remotes, access cards, and receivers. Just so you know the whole deal, we’re including the relevant portion of your DirecTV agreement:

What happens when I stop being a customer? If you cease to be our customer (whether voluntarily or involuntarily), you must contact DIRECTV within 7 days of termination of your base level of programming to arrange for an Equipment return kit or kits, and instructions on how to return your Leased Equipment [DIRECTV Receiver(s), Genie Mini(s), access card(s), and remote(s)]. Leased Equipment must be returned in good working order, normal wear and tear excepted. If we haven’t received your Leased Equipment within 21 days of termination of your base level of programming, or if the Equipment is returned in damaged condition, we will charge you $45 for each standard DIRECTV Receiver, HD Receiver, and each Genie Mini, and $135 for each DVR, HD DVR, and Genie HD DVR, so please attend to your Equipment return promptly. We reserve the right to charge these fees to the credit or debit card you have on file with us. If you are leasing a DVR, HD or HD DVR Receiver and decide to terminate HD Access and/or any Advanced Receiver Service, as applicable, you agree to return that Advanced Equipment (and replace with standard receiver(s) if you are not terminating your base level of programming), in accordance with this paragraph, or we will charge you the stated fees. Visit or call 800.531.5000 for details.

Fortunately, DirecTV equipment returns are pretty straightforward. They send you a prepaid box and you drop it off at the post office or have them pick it up. Be warned, you can’t just take it to an AT&T store, though. Fortunately, you don’t have to return your satellite dish, so don’t try to fit that in the box. DirecTV has some useful links for recycling it though!

5. Call DirecTV AGAIN to confirm

Calling DirecTV
The final step in how to cancel DirecTV? Make sure you actually cancelled DirecTV.

Okay, so here’s the horrible secret to this guide: it isn’t foolproof. DirecTV agents make mistakes all the time and even if you think you’ve gotten the disconnect order set up or the equipment returned, they might have entered it into their system wrong. Oh and don’t get us started on the system—even if they did try to do everything right, sometimes your disconnect order just glitches out anyway.

Fortunately, there’s a (somewhat) easy solution to this: call DirecTV back. Once you think you’re totally done cancelling, give them another call and confirm all the details. Ask about whether there is equipment still listed or a balance that is still unpaid. Ask about any early termination fees. If there are any problems, double check again after you fix them. It’s tedious, but it’s the easiest way to make sure you don’t open your mail one day to a letter from collections. But if you do that and all goes well, you’re a success! You’ve learned how to cancel DirecTV and they only thing to do now is to celebrate!

You Cancelled DirecTV!

DirecTV Pineapple
Great work! You did it! You’re free from DirecTV!

Hey, that’s great work! You now know how to cancel DirecTV! Congratulations! Do you feel accomplished? Are you excited to live in this brave new world you’ve built without DirecTV?

If any of this sounded too terrifying (or if you realized you actually like your DirecTV service, but just don’t like the price) you should check out BillFixers. You can have somebody else do the negotiating or cancelling for you without lifting a finger.

Bonus Tip: How to Cancel DirecTV Now

How to Cancel DirecTV Now
If you only use DirecTV’s “DirecTV NOW” streaming service, you can still cancel!

DirecTV Now, DirecTV’s streaming version without a dish, might need cancelling to, so we wanted to make sure people know how to cancel DirecTV Now. Gonna be honest with you—there’s already a comprehensive guide to How to Cancel DirecTV written on SlickDeals that is fantastic, with screenshots and everything. So rather than force you to read our guide, we recommend you read theirs! If you don’t have the patience to click that link, we’ll include it below:

  1. Log in to your account and click the avatar in the top right corner
  2. Click User Account
  3. Click Manage My Plan
  4. Click Cancel Plan
  5. Confirm your cancellation on the following screen

Good luck!

Ben Kurland is one of the Co-Founders of BillFixers.