Direct TV / scam nfl sunday ticket
I've been a loyal directv subscriber for about 6 years. Always the premium package, hd dvr, etc. Never a complaint (Other than the fact that it took the techs about 4 trips to get me setup properly). I started subscribing to directv when it seemed that the local cable monopoly started rapidly declining with respect to customer service.
Several years into my patronage (2005) I decided to try the nfl package. It was ok but, by the end of the year, I wasn't really watching it that much so when directv called to try to sign me up again I declined. Fast forward to 2008, we've been looking for ways to cut a few household expenses. As I went through the old bank statements (We have auto-pay for just about all bills) I noticed that my directv bills had gotten as high as $200 / mo. I knew that the premium package cost around 100 bucks. I know there are a bunch of taxes and surcharges, etc but I figured there was no way those fees could be as much as the service itself.
I get on the line with a customer service person to try to figure out whey the bill is so high. He's going through the charges and the last one he mentions is the nfl package. I tell him I don't get the nfl package and he reiterates that I do. I ask him what channel it is on - when I go to that channel there is a message with a number of where to call to subscribe. The guy tells me that I signed up in 2005 (True) and that in 2006 they sent me something saying if I do not want to subscribe again in 2006 that I must check a box. They proceeded to charge me for all of 2006, 2007 and 2008! Furthermore, he had the onions to tell me that directv had a "policy" of not refunding nfl package subscribers who had been duped. I, of course, informed him of my policy of not letting anyone steal my money. And my policy is the only one that matters. Several more calls, several more supervisors (Some of whom were idiots and some of whom were appauled by the story but who claimed to be powerless to do anything).
First, and most obvious, you don't sell a service by telling someone that they have to say "no" to avoid it. You can give me whatever service you want - but you only have the right to get paid for the ones that I ask for.
Second, I had trusted directv enough to put them on my auto-pay list. No paper bills, save the environment, etc etc. It just goes to my bank account and I hit "pay" each month for all of my bills. So directv can pull this shenanigans on just about anybody that uses modern banking and doesn't keep a close eye on the bill from month to month.
After demanding my money back (Almost $800!!!) I stopped paying them my monthly bills. Everytime someone called my house about payment I wouldn't let them get their scriped questions out - I just asked them about the status of my refund. They always get off the phone perplexed.
Well, they just shut off the service. So i've talked to my best friend who is an attorney and he said this will be a no-brainer lawsuit. He said that, if I am lucky, they will also report me to the credit bureaus (Which will appear malicious to a judge) and will make my suit too large for small claims court. So, a little longer to wait but more hassle and money for directv to pay.
It just stuns me that this company would take a long-time, loyal, premium customer and treat them this way. Not only have they lost my revenue stream forever, there are going to pay legal bills (Theirs and mine) and have me bad-mouthing that company forever. By the time this is all said and done i'll bet this little stunt costs them $75, 000 of undiscounted cashflow. Maybe a drop in the ocean to them but so stupid. So stupid.
In the meantime, I have offered directv to be part of my prayer of the month club. With the economy being down I figured some companies might like people to say a prayer on their behalf. The price is a little steep ($10, 000 subscription per year) but if they feel they don't need the service they can always write me a letter telling me that they explicitly do not want to subscribe. Until I get that communication from them I can only assume that they want to join the prayer network. My policy is to enforce all debts on firms that do not affirmatively decline membership. That seems fair, right? At least they think so...
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