Why does DIRECTV ask you to return receivers (and why do they sometimes let you keep them?)

Really, a win-win. When you get a new receiver or DVR from Solid Signal and you deactivate an old one, you will generally get what DIRECTV calls a “Recovery Kit.” Most of the time this is an empty box, into which you put your old receiver so you can send it back. This is actually good for you and good for DIRECTV.

DIRECTV does refurbish some receivers. Honestly, these receivers are built to last and after an extensive testing process and sometimes a new plastic outer case, they’re put back into service. This is a win for DIRECTV because it cuts down on new receiver costs, and it’s really a win for you too because higher costs to DIRECTV equal higher bills.

There are other benefits, too. In many states, you can’t just throw out something electronic; it has to be responsibly recycled. In California, the state actually holds retailers responsible for accepting electronic waste and allows them to charge a small recovery fee if they have a physical store located in the state. So DIRECTV does make it easier for you… you don’t have to take your old receiver somewhere for recycling. You can just schedule a pickup and leave it for the delivery person to pick up.

There’s another scenario: if you have a really old receiver (like, for example, an HR20 DVR) DIRECTV may tell you they don’t want it back. This is because the receiver is so old that it’s no longer being refurbished. In that case, they may still send a return envelope for the access card. You’re free at that point to recycle the receiver or sell it for fair market value (although fair market value for old receivers is pretty low.)