Direct TV / over charge, fraud!
I recently returned from another deployment to Iraq with the Marine Corps. When I returned home my wife and I wanted to hook up one additional satellite receiver in our bedroom. Until the spring of 2007 we have always only had a single receiver in our living room. Prior to this installation, I called Direct TV to see what needed to be done to install an additional receiver. I was told at that time that there was no additional charge; I could hook up as many as I wanted to. I went to a local Best Buy retail store and purchased a new satellite receiver off the shelf. There was no contract signed, no additional paperwork or stipulation given to me at the check out with regards to purchasing this receiver. The only thing the young man at the register tried to do was get us to sign up for some "free magazine subscriptions" that would really be charged to a credit card. This receiver was paid for with cash and I received only a paid receipt with the purchase, no other paperwork, contract or verbal warnings about it being "leased equipment".
When I called Direct TV to activate the new receiver, the assistant told me that we already had two active receivers from their company. I explained to him that we have always only had a single receiver, the current one was again replaced in Aug. or 2006 when I was home on leave before deploying to Iraq and the satellite receiver was knocked out from a lightning strike. At that time we went to a local retail store and purchased a replacement receiver off the shelf. Just as this most recent time, there was no contract signed, no additional paperwork given to us or any indication that the equipment that we purchased was for a lease. It was paid for at the register and we received a paid receipt only.
After verifying the serial number on the only operational receiver in our house, it was determined that Direct TV had not removed the previously damaged equipment from our account. The service rep. said that if I checked our bill it should show that we were being charged for a leased receiver. When the bill was checked, it in fact did show a charge for a leased receiver. When I called Direct TV to dispute this charge I was told that I should have checked the bill and it was my responsibility to raise the issue last year in Aug. when the error was made. I explained to the customer service representative that I was in Iraq involved in combat operations until recently and that I did not receive any bills there nor did I have any indication there was a problem until I returned home and again began dealing with bills. My wife had been paying all of our bills in my absence. The representative said that it was my wife's fault if we were overcharged and that company policy was to not do anything about it if it was over 60 days old. I was told that on the bill a charge was noted as leased equipment but it was only a charge for having an additional receiver hooked up, not that I had rented the equipment. Then to add insult to injury, they wanted to refer me to another representative to get us to expand our service and pay even more money out on some promotional package.
After a couple of days I again called Direct TV trying to get the issue of being over charged for a receiver that was not operational taken care of and I received the same lack of understanding as before and again had someone try to sell us something else.
A couple of days later, I again called the company trying to get this issue taken care of and received the same story that it was our fault for not catching it sooner and Direct TV would not refund any overcharge. At that time I told the representative I wanted to disconnect our service immediately. Again the representative tried to sell me an additional service package if I didn't disconnect. I was eventually transferred to an older gentleman named John who said he would help me disconnect the service. He wanted to know why we were dissatisfied and I explained it all to him again. He was the first person from the company to say anything could be done about the overcharge after everyone else said nothing could be done. He did say he thought it was his companies fault for the overcharge and said he would have our bill adjusted to show a refund. If anyone at Direct TV would have shown an interest in dealing with us previously, the issue would have been settled at this point. Then John also tried to sell us an upgraded service package. I told him that the last thing I was interested in was spending more money when I was trying to recoup an overcharge.
Last week we received two empty boxes from Fed Ex with return addresses to the company. A couple of days later we received a recorded message from Them explaining that we were to return leased equipment to Direct TV. I called Them to explain again that we do not have any leased equipment, that all equipment we possess has been purchased at a retail store. I was transferred to 3 different people who each said basically the same thing. All they say is that the equipment is leased and that I have a one year service contact with Direct TV just because I used the service. One of the customer service representatives went so far as to say I wasn't telling the truth when I said I never received any additional paperwork, contracts or cautions when I purchased the equipment. The next man I was transferred to said he would connect me with the department that would remove the 1 year service contract from my account and when I spoke with them they said they knew nothing about it.
It seems every time I have some contact with Direct TV, I receive some previously undisclosed information about some charge for one thing or another that is not mentioned by anyone else but I'm supposed to know about it because it’s in my contract.
Many of their representatives have given erroneous and at times conflicting information which has aggravated this issue. Most recently we received a call from 2 more reps., one eventually after about 45 minutes of saying we owed all the previous charges and trying to sell us additional service packages confessed that she had no authority to deal with our dispute, that her only purpose in calling was to get us to continue our service with Direct TV and that she had no authority to deal with disputes. The last week of July another service rep. calls the house under the veil of dealing with our dispute only to find that she also has no authority to deal with it and actually never even read my pervious letters to their company. She did say that the charges have increased now to nearly $200 and that they would send it to collections.
Direct TV continues to attempt to sell upgraded service packages, not deal at all with the complaint issues and have people contact us with no authority or knowledge of our complaints. But they always end the conversation with a big thanks for choosing Direct TV. We feel that they are being purposefully deceptive, stalling and leaving us with no choice but to seek legal action.
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