Monday, February 25, 2008

DirecTV rant

I was complaining on an email list about how I cannot wait until our DirecTV contract expires so I can switch and never, never, never give them any more of our money, when someone asked why I hated DirecTV so much.

So I wrote it up:

We have had DirecTV for about 5 years now. The first
few years were a gift from my brother, so I had no
idea how much it cost. Then he moved and (insert long
story here) my mom was paying for it for us. As my
mom was nearing retirement, I didn't think she needed
to be paying our cable TV bill, so I told her we'd
take it over. I was floored at what she was paying
(even with no premium channels or HD or
anything) and so I did some price comparing and
decided to go with Dish Network. (it was a LOT
cheaper) Dish has this cool thing where one DVR works
on two TVs, so we could record stuff and then (at
least theoretically) watch them in the livingroom OR
our bedroom. Unfortunately, we had a lousy installer
and whether due to the fact that our house has plaster
walls or that we're very near three TV broadcast
towers, we could never get it to work. So we
canceled (in the 30 day trial period) and went back
to DirecTV, since we knew that it would work in our house.

Since then, I have been on the phone with DirecTV every month,
complaining about how they have incorrectly billed us.

We were offered an additional $10 off a month for our
first year (of a 2 year contract). That $10 came off
once, but then disappeared. I am STILL working (15
months later) to get the credit applied because
although it's listed as a "12 month programming
credit", it only comes off when I call about it.

We were offered HBO at $10 off a month (it's $13 a
month) for six months. So we took that deal, but they
again "forgot" to apply that credit. We ended up with
the "deal" extended, but we also paid several months
at full price due to their oversight.

We had to sign a 2 year contract with DirecTV. Now,
if it's a contract, doesn't that mean that you're
locked into pricing? Apparently not. We signed up
for a package at $42.99 and it has since that time,
it's risen to $47.99 a month. To compensate for the
"inconvenience of our price increase", they offered
another monthly credit for six months. You guessed
it--a year later, I'm still calling to try to get that
applied EVERY month as it appears for one month and
then vanishes.

The DVR is a piece of crap. After we had it two
weeks, it completely stopped working. I can't count
the number of calls put into customer service for
that, before they finally told me they'd send out a
different DVR (they'd have to charge my account for
it, but would refund the money after I packaged up,
drove to a shipping center, and mailed back the
defective one). Imagine my surprise when they
replaced my *new* DVR with a reconditioned one.

And three months later, it died, too. I should
mention that we had spent three months recording
movies from HBO to get our money's worth, and all of
those movies were GONE.

Our DVR still doesn't work completely correctly. We
can watch things, but it will flake out and miss
recording things or will record multiple copies,
filling up the memory, at will. But I still have
movies to watch, so I'm not sending it back. I'm sure
it's out of warranty by now anyway.

This latest thing was the worst. The one thing that I
can say is that, though I am on the phone with
customer service for an average of 45 minutes every
month, at least the employees are polite and they DO
apologize and at least attempt to apply a credit to my

I had called in when January's bill was again missing
our credit. The CS person apologized and told me that
she'd made a note on my account to start up a
new/different credit in February and told me that it
should be fine, but if I didn't receive the credit in
February, to call back at that time.

You guessed it--no credit in February. The CS person
apologized and transferred me to the customer
retention department (heh... they need a whole
DEPARTMENT to do that? doesn't that tell you
something?) and I was connected to the most rude woman
I have ever spoken with. She wouldn't let me speak.
I told her that I was late for a doctor's appointment
and I asked that she finish applying the discount and
simply email me to let me know it was resolved
(they've done that before) and she YELLED at me,
telling me that my rudeness was assuring that
SHE would work that much slower to resolve the issue.
She told me that I was not the only customer in the
world and that I wasn't entitled to anything, but she
would SEE if she could figure things out. She refused
to give me her name and every time I tried to say
anything, she spoke over me.

So today I finally called back today and after another 45
minutes, I got a one-time $60 credit. I sure hope
this resolves it--and I'm counting the days until our contract
expires and I can switch to another provider (September 23, 2008, btw).


Anonymous said...

I just switched to directv after 10 yr. with dish. I am counting the days until this contract is up. I don't think I am going to last though. My hubby told me to just pay what they quoted me when I signed up. I will not pay more, if they cancel us, great otherwise it is only fare I pay what they told me it would be. I will not call customer service anymore, it's a waste of time and it angers me to no end. If they want to take us to court, I'm there. I already had to replace DVR plus after one month of service, piece of crap. The new one is messing up too. They told me they never heard of the problems I am having. It's funny, if you look on the internet, everyone is complaining about their DVR's too. After reading your post I just felt I had to rant. I am trying to copy enough other compaint, so If they sue, we have a good case.

Jennifer L. said...

We switched from Dish to Directv years ago. Dish had promised us local channels within months but after years they still didn't have them. We pay a fortune too with Directv and have the DVR. We haven't had any problems with the dvr, but we sent our receiver that it's our bedroom back 2 or 3 times I think. We really want to upgrade to High Def. but Directv doesn't have any great deals for existing customers. The worst thing about satellite is we always lose signal when it rains or snows. Troy has had to go up and clean it off several times this winter and spray silicone on it. There's no way I'd climb a ladder in a storm! We thought about switching back to Dish to get the free stuff. I don't know though.