DirecTV Inc Complaint - Terrible Customer Service Experience
My name is Louis and I am a long time DirecTV customer. For as far back as I can remember watching television, it has been with DirecTV. Currently, I am a DirecTV account holder with a programming package that includes every channel and I purchase almost every sports package along with many PPV events (usually 1 or 2 per month) and PPV movies. I have a four-room setup that includes two high definition receivers with one of them being an HD-DVR (which I paid $800 for). Also included in my monthly Direct TV bill is the cost of the DVR and HD service. My average DirecTV bill for the month is around $225 as I usually divide up my payments for the sports packages in the monthly payment. A few times in the past, I have called DirecTV customer service and have been told that I am one of DirecTV’s “A List” customers. Personally, I do not feel that I have been treated like an “A List” customer during my recent experience with DirecTV’s customer service department.
Just the other day, I turned on my TV and browsed through the programming guide. I then noticed a channel that was titled, “Are You High Definition Ready.” I figured that of all people, I surely must be “High Definition Ready” as I have a DirecTV HD-DVR setup that I paid around $1,000 for. But, I figured that I would take a look at the channel anyway to see what it was all about. Apparently, this channel was explaining to customers that DirecTV was planning on adding new high definition channels to their programming lineup. I was actually excited (at first) of this news as I always felt that DirecTV was way behind in the high definition area compared to other cable and satellite television providers.
As I followed the on-screen instructions on the “Are You High Definition Ready” channel, I soon realized that my HD-DVR in my living room (that I paid $800 for) would not be capable of receiving DirecTV’s new HD programming. As far as the other non-DVR HD receiver in my bedroom, I was not sure if this was capable or not. But, I was more worried about the HD-DVR that cost me $800 when I originally signed up for the DirecTV service.
The “Are You High Definition Ready” channel included a phone number to call if I had any questions. Questions were exactly what I had. So, I dialed the phone number and spoke with a woman where my first question was about my receivers and whether or not they would be able to receive the new DirecTV high definition programming. The customer service representative asked me for the model numbers of these receivers and then had to put me on hold to answer my question. I was on hold for 15 minutes waiting for an answer to a simple question. When she returned, she told me that both of my receivers would not be capable of receiving these channels. So, obviously, my next question was concerning the $800 that I spent on this receiver when originally joining DirecTV. When I asked her what would happen concerning this, she told me the she would again have to put me on hold. I waited for another 10 minutes and she got back on the phone and told me that she would have to transfer me to another department. I spent 25 minutes on the phone and barely any of my questions were answered. I then asked to speak with her manager instead of her transferring me. She again stated that she would have to transfer me to another department. Again, I told her that I didn’t want to be transferred and that I would like to speak with her manager or supervisor. She then told me that she would transfer me to a manager in technical support. I asked her if she worked in technical support and she said no. Therefore, I told her that she is to put her manager on the phone in her department and that I am going to ask the next person on the phone if he/she is the manager of the last person I spoke with. She said, “That is fine” and then I stated to hear music as I was being transferred.
I asked the next person on the phone if he was the manager of the last person that I spoke with and he told me that he was not. I was furious that she did not put me on the phone with her manager as I requested. I asked to speak with his manager. He then put me on the phone with his manager. While speaking with this manager, I reported my experience the previous representative and he assured me that what she did was “unacceptable” and that something would be done about it.
He then offered to help me with my issues and answer my questions. I asked him about my receiver that I paid $800 for and if it was going to be wasted. He then told me that DirecTV would replace my HD-DVR with a new receiver. He said that my current receiver is an “owned” receiver and that most customers today lease their receivers. Leasing an HD-DVR was not an option when I joined DirecTV and I had no choice but to spend $1,000 on my initial setup.
He then told me that DirecTV would replace my HD-DVR with a new version that could handle the new high definition programming and that I would own this receiver just like my old one. He also told me that they would replace the non-DVR HD receiver in my bedroom as well as replace the actual dish on my roof. He said that none of this would be at cost me any money. He even said that he felt that it shouldn’t cost me any money as he can see that I am a good customer and it’s a technical upgrade that DirecTV should and will provide. I was then told by him that an installation repair man would come out to my home to set-up this whole upgrade. Despite being on the phone for over 45 minutes to an hour, I was delighted that all of this would be taken care of and that the $800 I spent on my original HD-DVR wasn’t going to waste. He told me that he had to put me on hold so that he can go and check to see when a technician can come to my home to set this up. I waited on the phone for another 10-15 minutes. Finally, the manager came back and told me that his “system wasn’t letting him place the order for some reason” and that he would have to transfer me to the “customer retentions” department. “GREAT,” I thought. The last thing I wanted to do was have to talk to another person or sit on hold for any longer.
I asked him if I would have to explain all of this to another person. He told me that I would not have to explain anything and that all the notes would be on my account. So, he transferred me and I waited for 5 minutes and someone picked up at customer retentions. She asked me how she could help me. I said that the man I was just speaking to said that you would understand the problem and that I wouldn’t have to explain it. She said the she could see that I am looking to upgrade my system. She then told me that she could do the upgrade for me but it would cost me around $250 and I would not own the HD DVR receiver. I explained that this was not what the other man said. She said that she has no way of knowing what he said. I told her about him saying there would be notes on the account. She said there are some notes on the account but all the notes say is, “Can’t process upgrade order. Customer not happy about having to pay for upgrade.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I asked her if there was anyway that she could get him on the phone and see what he said to me. She then continued to argue with me about my conversation with the manager and she even stated that she didn’t believe me. I then asked to speak with her manager. She said that she did not have one and that she was her manager. I find it hard to believe that someone in customer retentions does not have a manager or a supervisor that he/she has to report to, especially someone who clearly sounded like she had a serious lack of intelligence or education. I told her that I would even consider leaving DirecTV and she told me that “It wouldn’t affect me if you left DirecTV.” I found it even more difficult to believe that someone could call themselves a manager and have the nerve to say that to a customer. She continued on about how it wouldn’t change her salary if I wasn’t a DirecTV customer any longer. I became repulsed by this women and her complete lack of concern for what I had to say or whether or not I was even a customer anymore.
As a result of my 1½ hour phone call to DirecTV and most importantly, my final conversation with the representative in customer retentions (who apparently has no manager or supervisor), I have came to a decision regarding my account. If I have to pay any money at all for an equipment upgrade of any kind in order to receive the new/upcoming high definition programming, I am going to leave DirecTV overall for a lesser quality television service. I would not have made this pledge if; (a) I had not already been told by a manager at DirecTV that this would not cost me any money (b) been treated with downright total disrespect and complete disregard by this customer retentions lady who calls herself a manager at DirecTV.
I am not usually the type to write a letter of complaint to a major corporation. But, my experience with DirecTV customer service was totally unsatisfactory and downright pitiful (not to mention a waste of time). I called with a few simple questions and was on hold for a total of over 30 minutes, transferred twice, given an offer, had that offer retracted by someone else, and was treated like complete garbage.
Again, I have been a customer for a long time and my average monthly bill is over $200. I have referred friends and family to DirecTV in the past. Even, my account right now currently has two monthly credits for recent referrals. I have been a DirecTV customer almost all of my life, thinking that this company was the best and ONLY way to go as far as television goes. After this experience on the phone, I am no longer proud to say that I am a longtime and loyal customer of DirecTV. Majority of people in my situation with any dignity or self-respect whatsoever would have left DirecTV the exact minute that they hung up from this phone call.