DirecTV Inc Informative - An Inside Look At Your Directv Experience!
I'm a technician for DirecTV and I've read a lot of the complaints online. Some are valid others are very exaggerated. However, I will attempt to shed light on what can make or break your DirecTV experience. Before I get started, let me also inform you that I am also a DirecTV customer...without the price tag...of course. Also, as a contractor, I choose to install DirecTV because I could work for all the Satellite companies and Comcast if I wanted to, so I am not on here to save the company's reputation. I simply am a resource for your questions that were never answered.
1st things first, let's talk $$$. Yes, a lot of you have paid too damn much money for what you have. Some it's the fault of DirecTV, some live in house that is old and wiring is an issue, and others want custom work without the custom price tag. I'll explain...to make these easier we'll discuss things in stages. For instance Stage 1(ordering) Stage 2(installation) Stage 3(Customer Service/Provisioning) Stage 4(Service Calls).
Stage 1(Ordering)Once you get wooed by a commercial, get tired of Comcast or another Satellite provider, or referred to DirecTV then begins the phone call and the dispatch to install. Getting your DirecTV can take a few days to a month to receive. Typical is 2 weeks and that's a huge majority. My advice is don't wait until football season to order DirecTV for three reasons: 1. it takes longer to get to you installed because the list is longer and 2. because hold times for every department is longer if you DO have an issue 3. as technicians we know if you tell us that you have a football party tonight and you have to have your DirecTV installed that you're probably willing to pay more to get it than normal. I'll go into what you should and shouldn't pay for later.
Stage 2 (Installation) THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR EXPERIENCE, READ IT AND BE EMPOWERED: (This is very important) There are two types of technicians In-House and Sub-Contractors. DirecTV contracts all their work. They don't install their own equipment nor do many of the competitors. Just because you see DirecTV on a truck doesn't mean they're not contractors.
My advice, request an in-house tech if possible. I don't know if DirecTV will honor the request but try. Why do I say this?? DirecTV chose two main companies to contract their work to. Mastec and someone else (I think DirecTech if I'm not mistaking). The reason I'm unsure is because most of the work goes to Mastec. In-house technicians work directly for Mastec and get paid a lowly hourly wage to due Technician work. They also don't have as much freedom as a sub-contractor does in decisions involving installation or pay. This means they have the comfort of stable hourly pay but they're broke. Sub-contractors are independent but still work through another subcontracting company and there are several. I fall in this group. We get paid per job and have a little more control on the installation. I say request an In-House Tech if you have a house that requires a 50ft ladder to reach the roof and you refuse to put the dish on a pole, or if you have had 2 decades worth of different providers and you have set of cables running through your house to nowhere to prove it, or if you have a huge house and it's not pre-wire at all and you want a from the ground-up install without paying a lot for it. Sub-contractors may not have a long ladder and may charge you for the extra work and sweat that goes into figuring out and rewiring your house. If you don't fall in these categories. It doesn't matter who you get.
WHAT YOU SHOULD AND SHOULDN'T PAY FOR:
Many get confused on the FREE STANDARD INSTALLATION part of DirecTV. Standard installation is free and it consist of mounting the dish to the roof or side of the house (putting on the pole is free ONLY if there is no Line of Site from anywhere else), includes 125ft. of cable from dish to receiver, the wires need to connect it to your TV (composite, HDMI, RCA, etc), drilling from outside into house through walls or only one-level of masonry and running cables along baseboards or exterior of wall. If you already had/have a system in place we use pre-existing wires. This it's what's free (no exceptions). HOWEVER any and everything outside of this is extra. So if you don't want the dish mounted into you roof there is a a custom charge. It used to be $75 but has changed to allow contractors to charge between $75-$100 to put it on a pole. Is it worth it??? Well, if your getting an HD dish ABSOLUTELY because the alternative is 14 holes drilled into your roof and you are trusting that you have a good technician who uses roof sealant and knows what he's doing before he gets up there. I would say this is roughly 85% of the techs but if you get the other 15%...fixing a roof is more expensive. If you're getting a basic system. Mount it on the side of the house for free it's easy it's safe and like less than a 1% chance of damage. If you want lines ran behind the walls $65 each room is the cost...Period. There is a lot of work involved and it's very fair. If they try to charge you more say no, less say yes. If you want a non-penetrating roof mount for a business it's free for people it's $100. For business customers most of the same rules apply. For business with new structures, fire codes have changed in some areas a require a different kind of coax to be used that is very expensive. Be prepared to pay about 7-11 dollars a foot for cable.
If you technician installs the dish correctly and your signals should be 85-100 and you will have a great picture great service and few issues if your wiring in your house is cool. Most receivers with any company are refurbs, if you get a bad one call customer service and tell them that the receiver powers on and off periodically. Tell them you tried another receiver and it works fine so you know it's the receiver. They will send you another one. If you tell them any other issue they will send techs out to try to fix or resolve it first and replacing receiver is last on the list. My advice, be realistic whether new or refurb electronic equipment is fragile, temperamental, and only last 4-7 years so don't blame DirecTV or anyone else for the way stuff is made today. It's made in Japan or China deal with it.
On the other hand, if your technician barely has a signal or didn't peak out signals on the HD dish especially, you will have a rough experience until you get a technician to take his time and do it right, which will probably be me so don't unload your built up anger on any tech that walks through the door because it you talk to anyone like sh@!! than that's what you'll get. Univeral law of nature my friend.
Before a tech leaves check every TV to make sure it's working, have the Tech call and activate the receiver while he's there, if you don't agree with the install don't wait until the tech leaves to complain tell him while he's present to see if there's something he can change.
Stage 3(Customer Service/Provisioning) Once the equipment is setup correctly. Everything else is DirecTV: your programming issues, cost of service, hold times, etc. My advice, get a promotion threaten to cancel once it ends unless they give you another one and pay your bill. If you stay a good customer you get good things. Get the Service Plan also. If you didn't check the box on the paperwork with the Tech, call and make sure you have it. Otherwise, there is a charge of 40-50 bucks every time a tech has to come to your house and replacement receivers are easier to get.
Stage 4(Service Calls) Without the service agreement these can add up. One bad tech in the beginning can lock you in for a long line of these so pay $5 a month and get the Service Agreement. Anything techs have to do outside of swapping a receiver, replacing the end of a coax, or realigning your dish will probably cost you.
THE TRUTH ABOUT DIRECTV if you follow these rules I given you. BEST PICTURE!! BEST HD AVAILABILITY!! CHEAPEST ROUTE COMPARE TO COMCAST!! THE TECHNOLOGY GETS BETTER EVERYDAY!! AND THE PICTURE GOING OUT EVERY TIME IT RAINS OR THE WIND BLOWS IS CRAP (unless your tech didn't peak out your signals and any MAJOR storm will cause a couple seconds to a few minutes of a pixelized picture).
As a Sub-contractor tech I will tell you that we want to do installs and do them right because that's how we get paid. We like to be in and out and service calls are normally quick jobs that we don't mind doing. HOWEVER WE HATE UPGRADES BECAUSE WE ONLY GET PAID ABOUT $15-$30 to undo what was done and then do a complete install of your new system. So if you keep getting your upgrade rescheduled or the Tech blows you off it's because DirecTV and MasTec don't pay us for them.
THERE IS A LOT MORE BEHIND THE SCENES but if you have ???s or want to know about something in particular respond to this blog. Have a great day!
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