Here is a copy of the letter we sent out today with regards to our early cancellation of DirecTV. Company is under-whelming and over promises and under-delivers. And apparently under- staffs as well.
Will update this blogsite if we have a formidable outcome w/ company.
PO Box 6550
Greenwood Village, CO
November 26, 2007
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing today to express my great dissatisfaction with regards to your Customer Service and to request a full refund of all fees associated with our early cancellation.
Our family was a DirecTV customer for approximately 1 year’s time. We chose DirecTV based on value (we chose a ‘bundle package’ with Qwest our telephone company.) Initially we were disappointed with our service, as we often experienced outages and scrambled signals when it rained (we live in Seattle and rain is a given).
We paid to upgrade our service to include HDTV, and then learned after the fact that our local network channels would not be supported. When we called to complain, we were told we could petition, and then still every single broadcast network declined the petition.
We needed to ship equipment back in exchange for our new HDTV receiver box. We did not do this in a timely enough manner, and DirecTV charged us a ‘non-returned equipment fee’. It took over 2 months to get that money refunded back to us, and countless hours on hold with customer service, most of that time waiting for someone to actually pick up the phone.
We bought a new home in July 2007. Because we were in contract with DirecTV, we knew that we would be charged if we did not ‘move our service’ to our new home. We were very upset that as a practice the company does not recycle their equipment and that instead of moving the current dish to our new home, we would have to leave it behind, affixed to the house, or pay to dispose of it ourselves. In this day and age, not recycling, is simply not responsible, and we were very upset to learn that a company the size of DirecTV would not choose to be environmentally responsible.
Despite our disappointment in coverage, service issues, and learning about the irresponsible disposal processes the company engages in, we STILL decided to move our service to our new home, so that we did not have to wage a war over an early cancellation clause.
So we called customer service ‘1-866-WAY-U-MOVE’, and attempted to schedule this move to our new home. After waiting on hold for what seemed like an eternity (I called 3 separate occasions in a weeks window and sat on hold for 30-45 minutes each time); I finally reached someone in a call center. They told me the systems were DOWN and they couldn’t help me. They transferred me to another call center in hopes their systems could support my call and request, but unfortunately nobody was available to do their job that night. I was told I would get a phone call back and they would arrange the service from there.
We did get a phone call several days later. By that time we had decided our time was too valuable to continue to work with DirecTV and we’d be better off paying more and moving our business back to Comcast. That’s when our real problems began.
So we tried to cancel our service. Again I keep marveling that a company as big as DirecTV would not invest in their customer service. I have now spent countless hours on hold with your various service representatives. Have called no less than 4 different lines, I am always redirected, and put on hold. Some of your folks are polite, some are not, I got hung up on or ‘disconnected’ 6 times in the course of trying to cancel. I did however reach someone promptly when I said I wanted to ‘add service’. Sadly that person in the call center couldn’t help me when I admitted I really just desperately needed to speak to someone b/c I needed to ‘cancel service’.
What became interesting to me is that all my time on hold, I was always re-directed back to the website. I love the internet, and prefer to pay bills, handle problems etc on websites. However I learned that you couldn’t use the website to ‘MOVE your service to a new home’ and there was certainly no path that enabled you to cancel service online or request your own money be refunded when owed to you. So the website was designed only to benefit DirecTV not the consumer.
On my third attempt I was finally able to reach someone to personally cancel my service. Despite everything I was very polite about it, we even encouraged the folks that bought our house to use DirecTV since the HD satellite dish was already there waiting for them (and we couldn’t in good faith add it to a land fill). We left them our HD receiver box so that they could initiate service right away. We later learned we were supposed to send this box back- which we did, but not before DirecTV charged us an unsuspecting $473.36 to our credit card on August 24th 2007.
It has now been over 3 months, and I have received 2 statements from DirecTV showing that we have a credit due to us in the amount of $261.36 b/c we did indeed return the box. However, with these statements, a check has never been issued. I tried the internet site, went to billing, see my credit, but there was no way to request the check. So I had to call…
Surprisingly I got someone in less than 5 minutes this round. But I was transferred 4x and each time I had to re-explain exactly why I was calling, and why it was that we were owed money. I was finally informed it was standard policy to wait 6-8 weeks for refunds and mine was due up this week. Strange since it’s November 26th and we cancelled our service in the beginning of JULY.
I am a loyal consumer and a reasonable person. But I have now had nearly 5 months of grief and my time completely wasted. I expect to have the $261.36 non-returned equipment fee refunded immediately, and the $212 early cancellation fee waived based on the above testimony. We in good faith did try to move our DirecTV service, but due to the very poor customer service along every step of the way, DirecTV as a company did not meet our minimum expectations to deserve our continued business and support.
I would appreciate a prompt reply, and a speedy remedy to the situation. I surely don’t want to call to follow up on our refunds due.
We all have choices in this highly competitive business environment, and I hope you choose the consumer this time.