DirecTV Inc Complaint - Thinking Of Signing On w/DIRECTV? You'll Be Sorry!
ATLANTA, GEORGIA -- No doubt you've seen DIRECTV's latest slick advertising campaign with models and singers and you've been tempted to sign up with them. Take my word for it: YOU'LL REGRET IT! Don't walk; RUN from this organization.
I had been a customer of DIRECTV for nearly seven years, since January of 2002. For the first six years of this period the service that DIRECTV provided was adequate; that is I had no real desire to change TV providers.
However, beginning three or four months ago, the service deteriorated to the point that I was having extended outages. Initially, I believed that they might be weather-related but the outages became so common that I was forced to contact the DIRECTV “Service” department. It is with considerable justification that I put “Service” in quotes as I will explain.
I quickly found out that the purpose of the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system that DIRECTV utilizes is to delay interaction between the customer and a real person as long as possible. No matter the type and/or frequency of the problem, the customer is forced to go through a ridiculously lengthy menu of options in which the system does not recognize the customer’s verbal cues, is channeled into the wrong customer service scenario, or is completely cut off. It would be impossible for me to come up with an exact figure but I would conservatively estimate that each of my calls to “service” lasted more than an hour. (Incidentally, as a Systems Engineer, I have programmed and maintained IVR systems. I can safely state that DIRECTV’s IVR system is a complete joke.)
At any rate, after a number of calls, I was finally able to reach an actual human being who went through essentially the same scenarios that the IVR system did. Although I carefully followed all the representative’s instructions, nothing cleared up the problem. Finally, the representative announced that I would be sent a new receiver. At that point, I asked VERY SPECIFICALLY if there would be any charges associated with the new receiver. THE ANSWER WAS A CLEAR EMPHATIC “NO” DUE TO THE FACT THAT I WAS A “LOYAL CUSTOMER.”
When the new receiver arrived, I noted that it was a reconditioned receiver and not a new one. I also reviewed the invoice, noting that I was not being charged. I also flipped over the invoice and noted verbiage that the customer “service” representative had NOT told me about including the supposed “obligation” that had occurred with the “new” receiver. To tell the truth, had this “new” receiver cleared up the problem, I would have had no qualms about the whole situation.
However, the “new” receiver was “DEAD OUT OF THE BOX”. It would NOT power up because of a faulty power supply cord that kept dropping from the back of the unit. Looking back on it now, it is slightly humorous because each time I would firmly attach the power supply cord to the back of the unit and step back, the cord would simply drop out after a few seconds. I again called DIRECTV and went through the now familiar scenario of calling, trying to get the IVR system to recognize the English language, getting misdirected, being cut off, etc. Again, after a couple of hours, I was finally able to talk to a live person. When I explained the situation, I received a breezy “No problem. We’ll just send you ANOTHER receiver.”
After another week, I received the next receiver. This time, the receiver powered up and after another two hour call to DIRECTV I was able to contact a human being who validated the receiver to the system. For the next month or two, I had no further problems.
However, the problems soon came back. Again, I went through yet another bout of attempting to call DIRECTV to get to a live person. After the now familiar routine, I spoke with a “representative” and attempted to explain what had transpired and the symptoms of the present problem. After making a few ineffective suggestions, the “representative” said (and I am quoting him directly), “You know, this is really above my level of expertise. I’m going to have to transfer you to someone else.” When I finally got to this person of greater “expertise”, I was desperate to the point that I practically begged the person to send out someone to my residence to resolve the problem once and for all.
The “representative” said (and again, I am quoting directly), “Since you are a loyal customer, you are entitled to one free service call.” At that point, I truly thought that I was getting somewhere. Then, she informed me that it would be over a week before my “free” service call could take place!!
At that point, I could clearly see that DIRECTCV was not, in the slightest, concerned with the situation of a “LOYAL CUSTOMER”. They had not given me one reason to believe that they had any intention of resolving the problem. I certainly could not be assured that their “technician” would show up on the given date. Given their sorry record of performance, I had absolutely no choice except to do what I had previously sworn not to do and that was to return to Cable TV. (It was slightly humorous that, when I returned the receiver(s) to FEDEX/Kinkos as directed by DIRECTV, the shipping clerk took the package and stated “Well, you’re the fourth one this morning.” I looked behind the counter and sure enough, there were three other boxes containing DIRECTV equipment being returned!)
Shortly after I declined DIRECTV’s offer of two months FREE service to stay with them, I received a bill for $233.00 for an “Early Cancellation Fee”, a bill that I have no intention of paying. In a nutshell:
a) The DIRECTV’s “representative” intentionally provided false information to my question as to whether there was any cost or obligation for the “new” receiver. This “policy” of obligating customers while providing them with shoddy equipment and customer service insures that they will always have a “captive audience” while doing as little as possible. (It is very interesting that, when I asked the “representative” what they wanted me to do with the old receiver, the reply was “throw it in the garbage”. Yet when I cancelled my service, I was warned that my failure to return the latest receiver would result in a charge possible exceeding $700.00.) From this, it can clearly be seen that the supposed value of their equipment means nothing to DIRECTV. The equipment is used only to further obligate customers to DIRECTV’s miserable service and to service as a possible source of further revenue by wildly overstating its supposed value.
b)DIRECTV’s decision to conduct customer service “on the cheap” (ex. their
IVR system, inadequately trained technicians, reconditioned equipment, and refusal to dispatch on-site technicians when the need arises shows their utter disregard for their so-called “loyal customers”. If they had dispatched a technician promptly, I believe that all this would have been completely unnecessary.
If you google “Consumer Fraud” and “DIRECTV” you will find that at least one Class Action lawsuit has been filed against DIRECTV for actions similar to what I have described above. I suspect that there will be quite a few others.
So, you’ve been warned. Again, if you sign up with DIRECTV you will get exactly what you deserve.