Considering that the hundreds of complaints from people saying DIRECTV was telling Joplin customers they would be charged for damaged equipment had to come from somewhere, it appears the company either into a public relations buzzsaw even worse than the one hitting Eric Cantor, or someone has been spreading untruths about the satellite dish company. Either way, here is the company's official response:
Victims of the Joplin tornado are not being charged for damaged equipment. In FEMA-declared disasters and emergencies we have a long-standing policy that provides special assistance for customers that includes:
Account cancellation - If service cannot be restored at the customer’s home due to the damage from the storm, DIRECTV will cancel the account, and waive any fees associated with the inability to return equipment, along with any remaining agreement on the account.
Account suspension - For customers who are without power for an extended period, we offer to suspend their account at no charge until power and services can be restored.
No-cost service calls - If/once service can be restored at the customer’s home, we will send a technician at no-cost to ensure the dish is properly aligned and to fix any technical issues.
Equipment – For customers whose equipment was damaged in the storm, we offer to waive equipment replacement costs if they continue services with DIRECTV.
More broadly we are also providing support to all victims of the storm through the Red Cross. Customers who have been affected by the tornado should call 1-800-531-5000 so we can remedy their situation immediately.
Sr. Director, Public Relations