Direct TV / opt out services
In January of 2009 I was going about my normal bill paying
on a Saturday afternoon. I logged onto my online account with Direct TV and thought the balance due was a little high so I decided to check our services to see if we could cut down on some services to shave a little off of our monthly bill.
We have a pretty good channel package along with HBO and Showtime so I thought we should look into downgrading. We were feeling the effects of the economy after the holidays and figured some selective amenities needed to be re-evaluated - no matter how much we love our precious HBO and Showtime.
I took a look at my last months' statement online and I saw something that I hadn't noticed before. I normally just pay the amount due online without a glance to any online or paper statements that come my way (I now realize how much I should be doing this). What I saw was a charge on our account for $41.50 for NFL Sunday Ticket. We're both pretty big football fans around here (Go Vikes!) but we had not ordered the NFL Sunday Ticket. I looked further back and found out that we had been charged for this service for the previous 6 months, as well.
I called Direct TV Customer Service and was told that it was a service we had signed up for. Apparently, with us ordering the service the year prior, we were automatically signed up for the 2008 season as well. It's an 'opt-out' sort of thing where if I didn't want it for 2008 I would have had to contact Direct TV by June or July of 2008 to let them know. WHAT?!?!?!? I was told that it was mighty fine timing for me to call in and complain after I had 'already taken advantage of what the service had to offer - as the season was coming to an end.' I understand where they were coming from - they probably felt I was trying to scam them - like I had watched an entire season and now wanted my money back.
Believe me when I say in all honesty this is NOT the case. If we had known we had access to all of these football games and the automatic updates that flash across the screen when one of our Fantasy players scored a TD, etc., we would have been taking advantage. But no - we did not ask for the service, we did not use the service, we had not wanted the service, yet here we were paying for the service simply because we weren't told about the automated sign up when we first got it in 2007. As the representative kept saying over and over in her best Americanized accent that there was nothing she could do for me and argued that I should have opened my June and July bills so I could have taken their 'appropriate action to cancel the service' I got more frustrated and angry. Here I was, a true advocate for Direct TV, directed tons of friends and family to their service and I was being treated as a complete scam artist. I thought I was being reasonable by asking for half of the amount we had paid over the past 6 months to be credited to us but apparently that was completely out of the question. At first, I was told that there was NOTHING that could be done - that I had not followed proper procedure to opt out. Then the story changed to a $15 credit. $15 towards $250 that they had taken from me? Then after further 'discussion' it changed to $30 and finally an hour and a half later I got off the phone by having her say that she would refund $41.50 - one month of the subscription fees.
I wasn't happy with this resolution but realized after the lenghty conversation that they simply weren't concerned with keeping customers happy and I settled.
Now, here it is February and I logged on to pay my bills. I'm now reviewing my statements religiously online and noticed that the $41.50 credit that I was told to be receiving was not applied to my account. Again I called Direct TV Customer Service to which an agent told me I would not be receiving the credit as a credit was not owed to me. The notes on my account said that I had declined the offer of a $40 credit. Here we go again - blood pressure rising, heart racing I pulled up the reference number I had been given on my last pleasant encounter with Direct TV Customer Service and gave the representative all the information I had. Still I was told that Direct TV had done nothing wrong and I would not be receiving the credit that I was promised last month. Now, I'm asking for a manager. 20 minutes on hold I finally speak with a 'manager' who repeats to me that I had declined the credit of $40. After explaining the entire story to yet another person, I am told that it will be taken care of. I have a new manager's badge number and will continue checking my account online waiting for the credit but I won't be holding my breath.
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