I am just going to include here the letter I just sent off to Direct TV, and let it speak for itself.
Direct TV Office of the President
P.O. Box 6550
Greenwood Village, CO 880155
To Whomever Might Listen to My Case, and Stop Quoting the Customer Service Manual,
I could take you through the hours spent on the phone, the letters faxed and mailed, and the complete and utter frustration of just having spent valuable time speaking with no less than four of your agents/supervisors in Phoenix. But instead, I will tell you that Agent #1, Agent #2, Dexter and Alexandra all repeated the exact same information to me, ad nauseum, no matter how many times I explained to them that no, I did NOT receive notice of "pending programming activation", and no, I was NOT "fully and duly aware that service would resume August 12, 2007.
It would appear that what gets typed into a customer's account becomes sacred, no matter what misunderstanding might have transpired, and that no pleading of the customer to say, be human and have a heart, will be heard.
Bottom line. My account says we owe $80.17 in service fees I was "fully and duly aware of", and I say this is not true. Some mistake, somewhere, occurred. $80.17 means something to my family, with four children, on one income. It is probably not such a huge deal to Direct TV. I was told that no matter what my stance, "integrity is valued in our employees at Direct TV", so whatever note was on my account was there to stay, and influence the reversal, or lack thereof, of the fees aside from the early cancellation fee. What happened to the customer being valued? What happened to, oh, I don't know, giving a person a break and maybe admitting someone on Direct TV's end somehow could have misunderstood the situation?
To quote that last letter from Phoenix:
We could only assume service was satisfactory because we received no request to extend the suspension when we sent notification of the pending programming activation, and no statements were returned to us as undeliverable.
We suspended service in July of 2006 because we had to move to take a job. We moved in with my parents, who had their own TVs and systems. We had no means to use the services of Direct TV, and to this day, do not. I never received any notification of "pending programming activation", or interim statements, making me aware of compiling fees.
No matter how many times I tried to explain that I would have never allowed charges to add up, that until I started receiving bills in the amount of 164.17 in Sept. of 2007, did I even know this was an issue, I was repeatedly told "we have a notation that you were aware". I called in September of 2007 to be sure the account was canceled. I began disputing the charges in late fall of 2007, and in January of this year, received the letter stating that the charges remain valid, and therefore, should be remitted.
And really, while the money is an issue, almost worse is the most insulting, offensive tactic to repeat over and over "I understand, BUT..." as your representatives did today. If someone understood, I wouldn't have spent 2 hours on the phone while my baby was cranky and crying, and my neck got wrenched while trying to prepare lunch and simultaneously handle this matter, while being told each supervisor on up the ladder was going to be harder to convince to even take my call. Oh, and then the endless time on hold. Hearing the cheery lady tell me how great Direct TV is and how simple simple simple it is to sign up, and get what I really want in total entertainment. Really. Someone should really explain how difficult difficult difficult it's going to be if you have unexpected circumstances derail your plans to to be able to enjoy fast-forwarding and rewinding live TV for a contract minimum of two years. Also, you really should just tell your representatives to say, "tough ### sherlock", because that's really what they think. And honesty, while potentially brutal, is always so much easier to swallow. Or if they do care? Then give them the power to choose who they may think they might help out.
My dealings with your company over the last few months are exactly what all "The Man" jokes are about, and why we, who are not The Man, really love to hear stories about how somebody finally got to stick it to Him. Big corporations who play all that "we care about you, our customer" jazz on their automated phone systems, where it is nearly impossible to get a real, live human (and who does finally answer, is questionable, here) while we languish on hold, just waiting to ultimately be told we, and our case, don't amount to one tiny ant crap.
So yes. I am disputing the $80.17 in assumed satisfactory service. And you may decide I have not one child-clung-to leg to stand on, but I just couldn't help but wonder if there wasn't one person in all of Direct TV who might just have the power, the cajones, and maybe even the kindness to say, "Hey, we're sorry for all the trouble, the time, and effort. Somewhere, clearly there was a misunderstanding. Here. We'll take care of that, for you."
Wow. Wouldn't a little of that go a long way.