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Direc TV DVR R15 / dvrs are horrible as is customer service

1 Petaluma, CA, United States Review updated:

I was a customer in love with directv. Never had one problem in almost four years. I had the wonderful directv tivo box. While paying my bill online, I noticed that directv were offering boxes that held up to 100 hours. My old box only held 30. So I decided to "upgrade". And while I was at it, I decided to have a dvr installed in our bedroom as well. So directv sent me a box for the living room, and scheduled a tech to come out to set up the bedroom.

Worst mistake ever!!!
I did not realize before it arrived that this “new” box was not a tivo, nor was it new, but refurbished. I was sent the r15 100. It was clearly not a tivo; the features could not even compare (where is my season pass? My wishlist?)! But I figured, ah well, I will learn to love this as I loved my tivo.

Unfortunately, before I could start this new affair, the box crapped out. Right away it gave me problems: black screen where recorded shows should be, freezing, etc. After hours and hours on tech support (resetting, re-downloading updates, finally re-formatting the hard drive - in which I lost all the shows I had been able to record), directv finally said they would send me a replacement box.

However, before it showed up, the installers showed up to hook up the bedroom. Now - while they were setting the room up for dvr, this room already had the regular directv box in there. So when the guy from ironwood communications tells me he needs $75.00 before he will start work, I was confused. He mentioned something about having to wall fish and that being the cause for the charge. I felt it was odd since I had been promised “free installation” but ah well, I wrote him a check. He does the work, while the “new guy” he was training did god knows what. He sends the newbie out to have me sign saying the work was complete, and while doing so made some off color comments to me. At that point I just wanted them out. They leave, and I realize there is no mention whatsoever on my copy of the receipt that I paid them any money or that any special work was done. Then I get to thinking, what the hell did they do that was so special? Wall fishing? Uh, there was already a cable going from the satellite to the old box, didn’t they just follow that? Eventually we were able to get ironwood to shred the check, but I was still feeling a little ripped off.

But then, the next day, guess what? The same damn problems start happening in the bedroom. So I call directv and ask them to send me a new box instead of another refurbished one, since so far, the two they had sent me were both faulty. They informed me that was not going to ever happen, if I wanted a new box I would have to purchase one (what was the $99 for, since I guess I am leasing these from them?!) and mind you, this is after night after night of dealing with tech support and lost shows. They do tell me that should any more problems arise, I will be assigned “case management” so that I do not have to jump from tech to tech every time I have problems, and will be given one person who will know who I am and have been going through. That is great, but I hope the replacements will just work as they should and I have no need for any more assistance.

Now, I might also mention that every time I have to unhook one box and hook up a replacement, it means losing any shows I had in my playlist. It also means having to once again set up the prioritizer, remotes, etc. And it means having to wait for the guide whiles it s l o w l y gets the correct info. All of which is taking time and losing shows.

So they send me a replacement for the living room and a replacement for the bedroom. The replacements are r15 500s. The living room one is another refurbished one that is all scratched up, but luckily the bedroom one came brand new.

Everything was fine for about one and a half weeks. I was finally adjusting to life without the glorious directv dvr, when bam! The living room box freezes in the middle of a show. I had to unplug the box to get it to come back up. I hoped that was the end of the problems, but of course lmao, it was not. Two nights ago, I happen to walk into the living room at 8:55. I look over at the box, which should have the “record” button lit up as it was supposed to be recording two programs at 8:00. But of course, the whole box is dark and unresponsive. So I reset, and get the blue “hello” screen. Then bam! Back to black. I reset again and it finally comes on, but of course, I am out of luck on my two shows. I also notice that the 2 shows that were supposed to record at 7:00 actually did not start until 7:12, meaning I missed the 1st ¼ of them.

I am really upset now, because once again, I have lost shows and am having to deal with a crappy product. I head to bed, making sure the box is working. Then last night, I get home from work, about to head out to dinner, when I notice that the box is once again dead. I reset, reset, reset, make sure my shows are all set to record, and then I call directv. I explain the situation, and also mention that I would like to have the case management set up, especially since it took going through 3 techs before anyone was willing to help me. 1st, he asks me if the box is plugged in. Seriously. Can he not see in his computer that I have been through the ringer and have tried all the steps before I call? But whatever, not too big of a deal. Then he tells me as far as the case management goes, no problem, he will set that up and be right back. But of course, when he comes back, he informs me that I am not eligible for c. M. (even though I was previously told I would be) he says all he can do is send out a tech to see what the problem is, and that he will bring a replacement box. I explain that would be fine, however, I do not want anyone from ironwood communications coming into my house ever again due to the last incident. He informs me that they are the only company in the area that would be able to assist me (really? In the whole north bay?) then he offers to just send a replacement, if I am comfortable hooking it up myself - which of course I am, I have already done it a couple times by now. And since I am now late for my dinner plans, I say fine, let’s just get this done.

So now I am ticked off about my ongoing drama with my once beloved company. I push past it though, and try to enjoy my dinner. Once I get home, I am relieved to see that the box is still up and running. Until I check the playlist… and find that survivor is missing. I guess the dvr just decided that I did not need to see it. You know, regardless of the fact that it is the top show on my the history list, not even a mention of it. That is bad enough, as I am ready to throw the freaking box out the window, but then when we sit down to watch lost, about 10 minutes in, the box shuts down again. So, knowing the drill by now, I go and hit the reset button. Nothing. So I repeat. Nothing. This goes on for about 5 minutes, sometimes the box coming to life to say hello, and then shutting down again, other times just ignoring me altogether. I finally unplug it, let it sit, and then plug it back in. It comes up, and we have no more problems the rest of the night. Oh, except the fact that one of the shows I was recording when the box shut down, is now completely gone, not a mention of it anywhere.
And now today. As I get ready for work, I head to the living room, and find that once again, the box is dead. I do my little song and dance with the reset button, and the power cord, but alas, nothing. So now, I am without a working box in the living room.

Will I be compensated? Hell no.

Will I have to continue to pay for service while I wait on the replacement to show up?
Of course.

Will the replacement be another refurbished piece of crap that will in almost certainty screw up again? I would bet on it.

I might also mention that over the course of all my phone calls with tech support for each of the boxes, I have spent about 10 hours of my time and energy. When I asked a supervisor about any kind of compensation, he said all he could do was give me $5.00 off my showtime for 3 months. Wow! A whole $15.00 off!! So basically, my time, energy and such is worth a whole $1.50 per hour. Thanks directv! Thank you so much!

How about this - if you are cutting ties with tivo, and are going to offer your own dvr boxes, how about you make sure they damn well work before you send them out??!! How about you don’t dick me around by sending me refurbished box after refurbished box and give me something that has even a chance of working?
Or better yet, how about you let me hook up my trusted tivo again, and not charge me the $150.00 fee you say you will. I mean, crap, I agreed to another two years with you before I realized you were going to make my life hell, so you could at least do that.
Or wait, I know, what you really could do is check yourselves, and lick tivo’s heals in hopes that they will take you back. If I had not agreed to the 2 more years, you can bet I would be long gone.

All I want is a product to work the way it is supposed to. And if said product fails to do so, that the company behind it remedy the situation. And if they cannot, then they should not be charging me for said the whole time I had the directv tivo, I never had one problem. Not one! Isn’t that pretty much how things are supposed to work?

Throughout this entire thing, I have remained calm, and friendly with the techs. I have not become one of those irate screaming customers, because working in customer service myself, I am fully aware that it is not the techs fault for the company’s bad business. However - the buck now has to stop somewhere. I am livid and will be getting results, however I can.

All I wanted was to expand my hours from 30 to 100. That was it, simple and easy. And now I just want to be done with it. The pure and simple fact is that I am paying for a service that is not working, and that sucks. I want a resolution.

If you have read this far, bless you :> if you have any suggestions on how I could handle any of this, please let me know. I would greatly appreciate it!
Have a great day, and may tivos be bestowed on all

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  • Km
      26th of Feb, 2008
    0 Votes

    ROFLMAO You must be getting the boxes we have been sending back. We moved to a new state and signed up for Directv Hd service with a hddvr. That started a year of having to fight with directv to get a hddvr box that worked for longer than a week. I would suggest insisting that you speak to a manager and insist that they compensate you for all your troubles. We ended up getting a few months of programming free from all problems they caused.

  • Mi
      3rd of Mar, 2008
    0 Votes

    But you're an "A-List customer".

  • Da
      15th of Mar, 2008
    0 Votes

    I just had this happen, I have been a Direct Tv customer for several years also. I just upgraded to HD ($99 for the HD reciever) and man oh man, I dont know what happend to there survice or if it always been like this but man. The installer was 4 hours late from my 8-12 time frame they gave me so he got there around 4pm. He wanted to charge me $100 for installation, after wasting 8 hours of my day waiting for this guy, I was already pretty ticked off. So I let him know in a loud way that I am not paying that and I got on the phone with Direct Tv, they did let him know that the instal was free and he finished the work (4 hour later and several calls to someone for instructions on how to do things) later. When he left I noticed he had the box set up wrong. Thank god Im tech savy, I fixed the problem and my HD looks great. Now, on to the next problem, I decided to move and after I found a place I called all my utilities to transfer over like a month in advance. Got my directv scheduled for the same weekend that I would be moving. Had the TV and everything setup and ready to go. They never show up, I call Direct TV and hour before the deadline they gave me and told them this had happened before and I just wanted and ETA. They checked the system and nothing was inputed. So when the time was up, i called again. They said give him another hour they will try and contact the installation company. About a half hour later the installation company called and informed me that the tech had broke down and would have to reschedule. I set that up and called Direct TV. Since this happened to me before and I know there is a $100 credit if the tech doesnt show up. I let them know the tech called but after my scheduled time, I want my $100 credit, the put a suprevisor on the phone and he says that I dont qualify for that because they said they tried to call earlier and there was no answer. Hmmm, I was home waiting, I got the call to reschedule. So after argueing and getting loud with the superevisor i did get my HD service free for 6 months. OK, the third issue; I called Direct Tv to get some information about the HD DVR and to my surprise they dropped $100 in price from $299 to $199 and they offered to split it up into 3 payments. I said great lets do it, but I had to start another contract, well I had to when I moved in order to get the free installation, so it only been a month so OK. I order the box and they shipped it to me. I get the package a few days later and open it, there was the HD DVR, instructions and the power cord just thrown in the box. The instructions and power cord werent even in plastic, they were just laying in the box. So I grit my teeth and proceed to install it, I clear off a shelf, manuver the box into my entertainment center, plug it in then I look in the box and its empty. No HDMI cable or any type of cable to connect the DVR to the TV. I call Direct tv and after that damn annoying voice activated recording I finally get a person, then give them my phone number after telling the recording, then my name; i explain the probelm and they said they have to transfer me. I get transfered and I give my phone number and name again, then explain the problem. The lady says, let me get you to my supervisor, AHHHHHH!!!! He comes on the phone and I have to verify my phone numeber and name yet again and explain the probelm. At this point I am very ver very pissed. I tell him in a shorter more annoyed and frustraded mad way. I tell him that they sent me a used box, and incomplete at that. He kinda brushed it off he said he can credit $30 for the HDMI cable and send me the B-Band coverters that are required for HD programming. So those finally come, I hook everything up, I got picture woo hoo. Now for number 4, I am watching my new or used HD DVR the pictures great and the sound is also, then the sound goes on an off continuously, the the picture freezes. Im like, OK maybe the signal got lost for a sec, I check the signal stregnth and its at 90% for A and B. I reset the box via the red button, then after the load tv is back. Then it does it again, this goes on all day. Im hoping it will go away cause I really dont want to call direct tv. Needless to say, it doesnt. I get on the phone with direct tv and go through the same routine as stated above. Now im on the phone with a Supervisor, I explain what is going on and let him know that I was sent a used HD DVR, he also brushes that off. He says to me, he will send a tech out and make sure its all connected and setup right then take it from there. I tell him to make sure the tech has a replacement HD DVR so incase it needs to be replaced. And he said he will put that on the request. Now the teck arives within the scheduled date and time and looks at the DVR, he goes through the set up, looks at the dish and says everything looks good, the DVR will need to be replaced. He said I have to call and reorder one, I explained to him that he should have a replacement with him, thats what I requested and Direct TV put on the request. He said OK, let me call my supervisor. This had bad news written all over it. He now says he cant give me a brand new one, I have to call DTV and order a replacement. I thought this to be kind of odd, so im like OK. Im ready to cancel. He goes on his marry way and I get on the phone to Direct TV, go through the motions and get a supervisor. I tell him and make sure hes hears me, that this DVR is used. He said whether he meant to or not, that existing customers get used or refurbished items at a new price and only new customers get new items. So I say, thats a great way to do business, get someone locked in a contract the ### on them. What I got out of the conversation that this is pretty much Direct Tv's way of doing business. So after our arguement he breaks down and says he will knowck the remaining payments on my existing DVR and have someone bring a brand new one and install it. So after all that, I will no longer purchase anything that will make my contract longer. I am going to cancel the first chance I get.

  • Sa
      19th of Mar, 2008
    0 Votes

    I am the original poster, and this is what ended up going down...

    After I posted this, and sent DirecTV another email in complaint, I decided to remove the DVR from my living room. It was dead and no good to me, as I mentioned before. So I put my Tivo back in, called them up and got it activated. They tell me no problem; they will send a recovery kit to get the box, and to just refuse the replacement they had already shipped. I also made sure to ask if I would incur any sort of penalty, and ws told nope, nothing.

    Then, that night, I get not only one, but TWO calls from Case Management. The first call came in as I was just walking in the door, so I missed it, but then they called back about 20 minutes later. It seems I have magically been deemed worthy of Case Management! A little too late, as I am beyond done with their piece of crap refurbished DVRs, but OK, let’s see what happens. So I explain that after I was told I was not eligible for Case Management, and my 3rd box had died, I re-installed my DirecTV Tivo. I question why I was told that I did not qualify the day before, and now suddenly did. The tech tells me that the rules have changed, and I just DID qualify now (uh, ok… perhaps because you have had similar complaints/ problems? Whatever). He asks what I would like them to do for me. I tell them I just want something to be done to show that they recognize all the [censored]e they have put me through. He agrees, and in the end, we settle on $10 off my bill for the next 12 months, and 3 months of free movie channels.

    At this point, I am pretty satisfied, and figure the nightmare is finally over.

    Turns out I am wrong again.

    I notice my bill stating that I have to pay the $99 for the DVR. So I call to request that this charge be removed or credited, as I have returned the box and am back to my DirecTV Tivo. The “lady” informs me that the charge is an “Activation Fee” and cannot be removed. Well I know this is BS, but I decide to let her in on all the fun I have been having with DirecTV, the 3 receivers I have gone through, the rude supervisor I had spoken to, my dance with Case Management, etc. She then tells me that, get this “Miss’ you have never spoken to a supervisor”. WHAT??? WTF- Does it say that on her screen? OK, I tell her again about asking that I receive new boxes, instead of refurbished ones, was transferred to the supervisor, who is the one who told me that I would never get a brand new box unless I bought it. She just keeps repeating that I never talked to a supervisor. At this point, I am getting really pissed. I know that they can remove this charge, and I know that I either spoke to a supervisor, or DirecTV lied to me when I asked to be transferred to one. Besides that, I ask her how is it that I returned the box, yet am still being charged this fee. She insists that it cannot be removed. Once I activated the box, the charge sticks. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I tell her that if I had known that the box would not work when I plugged them in I NEVER would have activated them. She pretty much laughs and repeats that the fee cannot be removed. She says you activated it, and then you CHOSE to send it back, so the charge sticks. I say, “I CHOSE to send it back? Uh, the frickin thing did not work, which is DirecTV’s fault- not mine. I played the runaround games with your company over and over and over, asked to be sent a new box to avoid it, was teased with Case Management when I needed it, was jerked around every which way till Sunday- how much is one customer supposed to take??!! At this point she is having the time of her life repeating that the charge is not gonna come off and giggling the whole time. SO… I ask that this “lady” transfer me, because she clearly does not want to help me. She tells me that I am going to be on hold for a long time, but that she will do it. THEN, and why am I surprised, THE HAG HANGS UP ON ME.
    The end of the story is that I called back, finally got someone who would try to be helpful, but the same result. They are not going to remove the $99 from my bill. This is utter BS and robbery. But I guess their tactics work, because at this point I am too exhausted to try and fight with them anymore.

    So, I get screwed out of $99, hours of missed shows & season finales and my time, but get $120 in discounts ($10 p/m for a year) and 3 months of free HBO etc.

  • S
      17th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    If a problem arises write down the name of the supervisor, time and date. If installer is late past the 8-12 time you were promised, call and DTV installation dept. will verify and you may qualify for a credit on your DTV bill. If you have difficulty with not getting help, hang up and call back as you will get a different person. Explain you just called and need someone to help you explain or understand better. If installer takes money, always write it down on what they wish for you to sign saying service is completed. Write down how much and what the service they requested money for before you sign. As far as getting a new system upgrade, you may be eligle to get a new upgrade for $99 if you speak with a supervisor and if you have been a long time DTV customer. With so many verfied problems with refurbished, I would think a supervisor in technical could work with you on getting a new upgrade and get their newest DVR.

  • S
      17th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    If the problems are with the R15-100, see what DTV will charge for an upgrade to their newest DVR as there have been many documented R15-100 problems. Just like an old car, sometimes it is better to upgrade to avoid same model problems.

  • Jo
      21st of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    OH NO---GREAT---DONT LIKE WHAT I AM READING HERE--- we just noticed that we have lost everything in our "playlist" dated prior to 08/11/08--however--we still show only 17% available storage---are the shows still in there somewhere??--if they somehow got deleted our available memory should be over 80%---can I get them back??-- I have the DVR fromn direct TV that was installed about 22 months ago--I'm at work and dont know exactly which model--but am extremely disheartened by what I am reading----

  • Sa
      30th of Oct, 2008
    0 Votes

    Just to let everyone know- I spoke to DirecTV, and they have solved their problems with TIVO! HOORAY! It will be some time before they have box ready, but better late than never!

  • Jf
      2nd of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes


  • Di
      15th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    I thought Directv was going to be great, I could not have been more wrong and can't wait until my contract is up. Their customer service is useless and the hold time when you call is as bad or worse than cable. I plan to go back to Time Warner cable because even though it sucks too at least I can swap a defective DVR at the local mall. Don't believe people when they tell you how good Directv is - they have been drinking the Kool-Aid.

  • Md
      15th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    Hello, im a tech for Directv. and yes, i must agree the customer service sucks and even for us tech they suck...but when your company outsource to these mom and pop installation company you are going to get the mom and pop service, which is not good. Because i work directly for Directv, we as techs have to go back and clean up the mess these installation company left behind and we get blamed and cursed out for the job that they did. also, for these installation charges that are not free, yes, its true...You have to pay for any custom work such as; wall fishes. that is not with the free installation. Directv is a great satellite company but its sometines the people that makes it a bad company. Please do not give up on my company...We have packages that no other satellite or cable company can offer. i apologize to the customers that got the run around from customer service. Please don't let them run u away from a great satellite company. Directv Tech (female) MDP

  • Me
      7th of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes

    This does not bode well. I have put up w/ a freezing older model Tivo DVR (R10) for the past 4 years. Easier to push the reset button than waste 30 minutes of my time when all my son wants is to watch his shows. I didn't want to call because of the horrible customer service and and when I did they said I hadn't complained enough times to warrant a replacement. Finally, this past week they saw exactly how old my dvr was (or maybe I annoyed them enough) and offered me a replacement (it was probably on a refresh list it is so old - I have been a customer for 14 years). Just found out today that it is an R15 100. After reading these posts I will be on the lookout for problems w/ a refurbished unit and probably irritated w/ a non-Tivo unit. The rep did tell me that there should be a new Tivo unit out soon (before Spring), since they have worked out their issues between the 2 companies. She suggested I order one as soon as possible (probably at a $199 or more charge I'm sure).

  • Mo
      18th of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes

    I HATE Directv with a passion. I have been a loyal customer for over 14 years now. I remember when us Directv customers had to buy the premium movie channels through a different company, USSB. That's how long I have been with them. In fact, my first argument came when Directv bought the rights to the premiums (HBO, SHOW, etc) and even though I had paid my bill to USSB for my HBO, Directv charged me again for the same service in the same time period. After hours of arguing back and forth with both companys transferring me back and forth to each other, I hung up, threw the phone against the wall, and cried for hours. They STOLE my money. I have brought 3 new customers to Directv over the course of the 14 years and since it was before the whole refer a friend thing I have never gained a dollar from Directv for this. I have spent approximatly $2000.00 over the years for their equipment and have never received a thing from them without it costing me a fortune. My mother who I introduced to Directv 12 years ago is having an HD DVR installed tomorrow through Directv WITH NO OUT OF POCKET COSTS WHATSOEVER. They are upgrading her with a free HD DVR. When I called they told me it would cost $100. Mind you, I have never been late for a payment ever in 14 years. I could understand if I had but I am not understanding what is going on. Why is she a more valuable customer than I am? I have been with them longer. I am not under contract and I never have been so I am now going to be canceling and going with Dish Network. No cable where I live. From the sound of this board it seems that I wouldn't want their HD or DVR service anyways. And their customer service is NON-EXISTANT. The CSR's are only there to make your life a living he**, and drive you crazy in the process with their stupidity. Maybe not all of them but so far at least 99%. Good luck finding the 1% that will help and also have the knowledge to help.

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