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Consolidated Smart Systems service / unauthorized charges

Gardena, CA, United States Review updated:
5
I live in a loft downtown and apparently the building has contracted with DirecTV to be the sole provider of television services. Honestly, had I known this prior to moving in I would've reconsidered my decision on this place because I've always heard of complaints against DirecTV in general. However, I was already in the place and I am definitely a TV junkie so I had to get all the channels possible. As I'm signing up for DirecTV in February 2008, I learn that they actually have another company contracting to maintain the lines locally, Consolidated Smart Systems. So not only do I pay DirecTV I also pay CSS for services monthly. Initially, I was told I would have to pay CSS $9.95 a month which of course would be auto-debited from my checking account (red flag!!!). So imagine my surprise when my service is disconnected by CSS because I had an outstanding balance of $85 (it had only been 3 full months of service). After speaking with customer service I learn that they allegedly had not been able to draft from my account previously so I am being charged the $50 reconnection fee in addition to the $9.95 a month, which after going back over my statements was odd because I had the funds available during each of the months. The representative tells me that I have been subsequently switched to some new thing where I am going to be charged $18 every 3 months (i.e. $6 a month). I'm okay with this until the next month (July) my account is debited $72, in August it is debited $50 Obviously, this is not correct and when I call again the representative gives me some excuses and says that she will file the paperwork for a refund. This was back in August (2008) and as of today, December 4, 2008, I still have not received a refund. Instead, I'm still getting charged randomly ($18 in September).

When the time comes for me to move I will be looking for places that actually allow competition so I can choose my own provider. If anyone else is having problems with this sort of monopoly of satellite/cable services in their complex you can contact FCC.gov, because they are currently reviewing these sort of arrangements, "FCC Initiates Rulemaking to EvaluateAccess to Multiple Dwelling Unitsfor Video Providers".

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-271706A1.pdf
Ja
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Vm
  3rd of Aug, 2009
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I was sort of forced into dealing with Consolidate Smart Systems after my building went from having individual unit antenaes to having one main one on the roof for all to connect. I have had Direct TV the for over a year and our building decided to have the main antenae on the roof. I thought it would be an easy transition... WRONG! I should have been more suspicious when I was told to contact CSS instead of directly dealing with Direct TV.
First, CSS had to come in to my unit to replace my two receivers with new ones so that they would be compatible with the main antenae. Of course, they explain that they need to put new wiring as well. I could not take off from work to be able to wait around for service, so I had a close friend stay at my unit all day. CSS arrived and put cable wires all over the place, making my unit look terrible. One cable even ran under my carpet, leaving an obvious bump in the floor! I arrived home only to find I still had no service. The CSS people brought in the wrong receivers. I have always had high definition and they brought over standard receivers. They could not understand why the service would not work after they connected them. They could not even piece together that my previous receivers were high definition and that I have two high definition flat screens in the unit?
Anyway, I had to call and complain about the situation and made it a point to be physically present when CSS came around again. After about a week, it was resolved and I was back watching my TV.
Currently, I am inconvenienced one more, begining two weeks ago. Painters had begun painting our building two weeks ago and out went my cable service. I had my brother schedule an appointment for CSS to come out to fix the situation since it is difficult for me to leave work. My brother called, set the appointment and even explained to them that they need to call him because I can not answer my cell phone most of the time and I work very far away. I called two days later just to stress that I did not want to pay for my cable while it is out of service. I made sure to tell them not to call me before 6p.m. because I can not answer my phone.
The day of the appointment comes and I had not heard a thing from my brother all day about the appointment. Then, as I am on my way home (driving a van full of other van poolers in California, ) I see I have a phone call coming in on my cell phone. I look down and it says "private number, " so I ignore the call, thinking the caller will leave a message if it is important. A minute later my phone rings again, "private number" shows up again. I take a chance and answer even though I did not have my blue tooth ear piece, thinking it might be my boss. I answer on speaker and people in my van pool look at me with disagreement, so I immediately say, "sorry, I can't talk right now."
When I got to our first stop, I checked my phone and saw that I had another missed call, this time caller ID showed an actual number and I had a voice mail. The voicemail explained that the tech had shown up but could not get a hold of me for access to my unit, so he left. I called the number that had shown up on caller ID and it says the number is not activated, please call the main toll free number.
When I got home, my brother said nobody had ever called him and that he was waiting for their phone call. I call the main number to CSS and am told to pay a "no show" fee of $40.00 before I can reschedule for a tech to come out. I explain the whole situation and ask if they had previously noted my brother's cell phone number or the fact that I had called to explain my work and van pool situation and the response was "NO."
I asked for a supervisor and get transfer, unknowingly, to another customer representative. I ask again, and finally get a supervisor. The supervisor pretty much explains that they can not waive the "no show" fee and attempts to put the blame on me and made me feel helpless to the situation. Having signed a contract with Direct TV, I really have no choice but to pay whatever they ask just to keep my service. He gave me the whole "you have no choice" speech. He would not work with me and would not waive the fee. I told him I was unhappy and will call Direct TV directly. He said, feel free to contact them but you will still have to pay $40.00 whether you cancel or reschedule our service.
I then called Direct TV and after explaining the situation to the very first person who took my call, the fee was waived, I do not have to pay for cable until my service is back on and I received an appology for CSS's horrible customer service. I still have to reschedule with CSS unfortunately.
This is the most horrible service I have had to deal with in my life. If I had a few hundred dollars to spare, I would have definitely cancelled my entire service with Direct TV just to never have to deal with CSS ever again!
Dd
  31st of Mar, 2010
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I had to have CSS services and they weren't that horrible. When it came time for me to move and cancel my services with them...Nightmare. It took them over 2 months to successfully close my account with CSS and to transfer my information to DirecTV. My cable was down and CSS wouldn't send out a techinician nor would DirecTV because DirecTV thought I had an account still with CSS and CSS said my account was closed. BOTH companies suck and BOTH companies would not help! I felt like I was throwing money down the drain. I finally get the damn situation resolved after many nights and hours on the phone with both companies and DirecTV finally sends out a technician. They didn't fix the problem then they wanted to charge me $50 to send another technician out to fix the same problem they should've fixed before. They replaced my receiver, left trash everywhere and the box to send the other receiver back never came so it's just been sitting in a corner taking up space. I'm moving again and I call to cancel my DirecTV because I have learned they really aren't worth keeping around.

Represenative: "OK I can do that for you...your termination fee will be approximately $480"
Me: "What? I don't understand why is it so high?"
Represenative: "You have a 24 month lease with us"

I never signed up for a 24 month lease, but apparently since I moved and "cancelled" CSS they signed me up for a 24 month lease when they came to install their services at my new place. It's called "mover's plan" or some ###. I don't understand...since CSS is just the middle man and I'm just taking CSS out of the picture there's no big change, I'm just able to contact and deal with DirecTV directly I was told my contract would still be the same. The represenative tells me I can put the account on "hold" for six months. Meaning pay $20 for six months until I find out what I want to do or something like that...My cable never worked half the time!Nothing good came out of DirecTV during my experience and now I'm being told I was tricked into a 24 month lease. Yes, I did sign the work sheet when the technician came out, but nobody EVER told me I'd be redoing the entire DirecTV agreement. That's a huge issue. You would think someone would mention it. Well nobody did. Not the technician, not the represenative who scheduled the installation for me who told me "We normally charge a $150 installation fee, but since this is your first time moving I'll waive that for you." The technician tells me sign this so they know they know he came out and fixed the problem. So those 3 months I spent paying DirecTV through CSS meant nothing...They couldn't even reduce the approximate price for cancelling even though I was paying them 3 months prior to them installing their equipment at my new place. It doesn't even make sense! And the time my cable was down and they wouldn't send out a technician because apparently CSS didn't cancel it correctly. Well the could've if they are saying I had an agreement with them since October. I started having major problems with my cable in January/February and they refused to send anyone out and REFUSED to help me. Their customer service was extremely rude and I spent countless hours on the phone with both DirecTV and CSS for what seems like nothing. Something is really screwed up here...Either they are really disorganized or they are sneakily trying to rape people's wallets. Avoid both companies...Sorry for the rant, but I don't want anyone to go through what I am going through now. I am so pissed off...If someone has a similiar story to mine, please post!

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