In November 2006 I bought a very expensive high definition DirecTV receiver with TiVO HD; it was about $1500 all told. At that time, I was told by the authorized DirecTV vendor (Weaknees.com, in West LA) “not only does this work great now, but it’ll get better when DirecTV adds 100 HD channels by the end of 2007!” Which they did. The only catch? Those channels are in MPEG 4 format, and the TiVO only understands MPEG 2. In essence, DirecTV turned my TiVO into a very expensive brick. BTW, after this happened Weaknees told me they’d been blind-sided by DirecTV as well, and had no advance warning the company was changing protocols in order to increase its HD channel lineup. I believe them, as I know several people there and find them to be reputable.
To make matters worse, DirecTV also dumped the TiVO platform in favor of their own DVR, conveniently made for them by another Rupert Murdoch-owned company, NDS. Every web site and gadget guru that have reviewed these models (the HR20 and HR21) all conclude they are sub-standard when compared to a TiVO. Even DirecTV’s own installers, when visiting me last Saturday to discuss why some HD channels I was receiving are no longer there said the same thing. “Dude, our unit totally sucks compared to a TiVO.” And a few months ago, when I talked to a DirecTV Technical Support rep on the phone, he told me, “If you’re a TIVO fan, you’re going to hate our unit. But if you don’t swap your TiVO for our DVR, you won’t be able to view or record HD shows anymore.”
I bit the bullet and decided to take a $1500 loss and dump DirecTV in favor of Charter Cable. When I called to cancel my DirecTV account, I was informed I would have to pay an early cancellation fee of approx. $137.50 because I was terminating my contract before November 2008! (I actually never signed a contract; there is small print on the installer's worksheet.) My credit card was already charged by the time I wrote this. I was also told I’d have to contact another dept. to dispute this decision, which I did. And here’s what they wrote back:
Billing Dispute -- Early cancellation fee.
Response (Ivy C) 01/08/2008 03:17 PM
Dear Mr. Gruberman,
Thanks for writing about your DIRECTV bill. I'm sorry to hear that you canceled your DIRECTV account because of the recent changes we have had for DIRECTV HD System.
When I reviewed your account, I found that we did our best to give you all possible offers you can get to continually receive all the HD programming. Unfortunately, you declined our offers and canceled your DIRECTV account. Because we significantly discount the price of equipment and installations, we ask you to keep your programming for at least 18 months for standard receivers / 2 years for DVR, HD, and HD-DVR receivers. I have reviewed your account and I see that you activated equipment on 11/07/2006 and per the terms of your activation offer you agreed to a 2 year programming commitment. Since you did not maintain the minimum program requirements we have charged an early cancellation fee of $12.50 per month not completed to your account.
For more information on programming commitments please visit our web site at directv.com/agreements. If you want to continue disputing the early cancellation fee, please write to:
Attn: Billing Disputes
P.O. Box 6550
Greenwood Village, CO [protected]
Employee ID [protected]
DIRECTV Customer Service
Just because they offered me a solution doesn't mean I had to take it, as it was a lousy solution! Then to charge me because THEY changed the deal, but they claimed I didn't cooperate with them? It's not right.
I called direct tv and ordered a four room installation with one of the receivers to be HD. We got the total choice package. She said we would get free Show time and free Hd for the term of our one year contract. So I asked her what my total bill would be each month. She said 49.99. Then I asked her again "you mean my total bill every moth would be 49.99?" She said yes plus whatever tax, about 1 or 2 dollars more and you will have to give us a credit card # and a 99.00 charge for installation would be charged, but you will get refunded for that. Ok great, sign me up. It took three months to get my 99.00 refunded and I was being charged for three extra receivers at 4.99 each which put me at about 71.00 a month. After hours of talking with someone they waived 2 of the receiver charges and I agreed to pay for one. Now my bill is 56.00. So about three months ago my bills stopped coming to the house and they called and said they were going to interrupt my service. They said the bills were being sent to my e-mail. I never authorized e mail billing. So I checked but most of the bills were being thrown into my spam folder. My contract was to be up on jan27 2008 so i called today to cancel after that and they tell me I have a two year contract because I got an HD receiver. They said I would have to pay an early cancellation fee (a couple of hundred dollars. Nope I said I wont pay it. Check your quality assurance tape that you recorded on jan 25 2007 and you will clearly hear your rep telling me I had a one year contract. I hooked up a great antenna and am now getting 14 channels of HD that blows away satellite HD and the best thing is its free. Feb 2008 is the deadline for broadcast networks to stop analog broadcasting. Every thing will be in digital. I getting NBC CBS ABC FOX the CW channel and many public broadcasting channels for free. No more satellite bills. Their programming has really gotten crappy any way.
When my wife and i signed up with directv i called the directv number in the phone book. And when someone...
I have subscribed for Direct TV connection choice package. At the time of application, the sales representative told me that I am eligible for $20/month rebate so that I will pay effectively 29.99 per month.
I have received only one rebate form for $10.oo/month. When I called customer service, the reply was "we are showing that you are eligible for $10.00/month rebate only". They are not willing to check the conversation at the time of subscription.
The representative (Bob) at Billing dept of Direct TV threatened me that they will send me penalty notice for $480.00 if I cancel the deal.
I was totally mislead and cheated by sales rep for which I am now being forced to pay $10.oo more for 12 months. The customer service dept at Direct TV is not willing to check the recorded conversation at the time of acceptacne of the package. It is totally a big scam.
Tried Directv thinking I could get a better deal. Read the fine print, 4 free months of everything (as long as NFL Sunday Ticket is purchased. OK...That was my fault, but when the DVR started messing up over and over I got tired of having to reset everything and miss scheduled recordings. After many phone calls and e-mails I was told that I could get a new DVR, but I would have to sign up for a new 2 year term. OK, anything to solve all the problems. Technician came out and installed a new DVR. More DVR problems which I wrote down each time it happened. Kept calling and e-mailing but problems kept coming. I canceled service shortly after getting a new DVR and Directv sent me a last bill zero dollars due, but as promised by the company $288 was charged to my credit card. If there would have been few or no problems, I would have kept their service.
To people signing up for service, I would suggest using another provider.
I had been a DirecTV customer since September of 2001. I had been very happy with my service and really did...
This is my first winter with Direct TV and my service goes out whenever it snows because of accumulation on the dish. This can last for a few hours or a few days. I can understand why issues with tranmission of the signal might occur during inclement weather. What I don't understand is why such an exposed, vulnerable satellite dish would be installed in the snow belt without an enclosure.
Customer service at Direct TV advised me that I would have to clear the snow myself 2 1/2 stories up or wait until it melts. They also reminded me several times that I am under contract until Feb. of 2009.
I have phone numbers to call and report complaints to at the end of this!!!
Gee, there seems to be a trend here! I had a similar experience with direct tv in california. When we called regarding the ad in the mail, the salesman told me that the cost would be $44.95 a month for the choice xtra programming per month. In addition, we would receive three free months of hbo and a free portable dvd player. We specifically asked him what our first bill would be as we were having them directly debit our account. He stated that it would be exactly $44.95. We asked if there was anything else to be done to get the dvd. He said "no." we asked him how long the contract was for and he said 1 year. We signed up and an installer was sent out in 2 days! Wow, we thought great service! Wrong, wrong, and wrong again!
Seven days later, i noticed a debit for $67.95 on my account. Direct tv had debited the first months bill. We called and the customer rep said that we had to send in a rebate form with our first bill in order to possibly get the monthly rebate. We told them what had been told by the sales rep. They said we had to send in the rebate form-no discussion. My husband asked them about the dvd player. They said we did not qualify for the dvd player because a local installer had come out to install the dish and receivers. We told them that they had sent out the local installer-not us! They continued with the same stonewall tactics-that a local installer had come out, so we didn't qualify for the free portable dvd player! We told them that we wanted to cancel the service. They said that we had 3 days to cancel and that it was too late. We would have to pay $320.00 if we wanted to cancel! They also said that we had an 18 month contract! We said "no"--the rep told us 1 year. "sorry, but your contract is for 18 months." i told them that it was false advertising, misleading salesperson, etc and that i was going to call the better business bureau. The rep jim said, "go ahead!"
Now all this happened after 20 phone calls, being hung up on after transfers to a manager 3 times! This was the response after all those calls! I found this website after these problems! Hindsight is 20/20! Here are the places to call and the numbers to report your problems to:
(1) federal trade commission:
(2) better business bureau in colorado:
(3) california state attorney generals office:
Some states have filed suit. For example, florida, idaho, illinois, kansas, maryland, massachusettes, montana, nebraska, nevada, new jersey, new mexico, new york, north carolina, ohio, oregon, pennsylvania, texas, tennessee, vermont, and west virginia joined in a lawsuit for false advertising. Call this number [protected]) if you are in one of those states and had trouble before may 11, 2006. Call and report to your state attorney general office to report complaints and maybe if we band together, something will happen!
Also, call your local better business bureau if direct tv is in another state! As i have read on the other blogs, i am sure that this will not be the end of the problems with this company!
Direct Tv was supposed to come out on a Sunday to install my system between 8-12. I took 1/2 day off from work (I am a server) so that I could be there during the installation. I called them at 1:00 to find out what was going on, and they said that it was never assigned to the route that they would get someone out by 5pm, so I called out of work again for the 2nd 1/2 of my shift. They called me back at 4pm and told me they could not find anyone to come out there. I was livid, so I told them to forget it. Then the field supervisor called me and told me he could be out there by 5:30. I explained to him he would not be able to see because it would be too dark. It then started to rain. he called me back to tell me he would not be able to make it because it was raining. He told me he would come out a few days later after 5:30 when I got home. I said ok. He then called me at work to tell me he was in the area, this was at 12:00 it was now or never. He told me it should only take 20 to 30 minutes because i gave him permission to start without me installing the dish outside. So I took my lunch and went home for them to install it. it took 2 hrs. they ripped all the wires out from the cable company and said we could not use those wires because they did not have any voltage. Direct TV told me installation was included. he tried to charge me $75 for the install. Then he threatened to put a lien on my house and come and rip out all of the wires from the house if i didn't pay him. I called direct tv and they told me he was trying to scam me. After hrs of everyone calling me it comes to find out it was considered a custom job and i would've had to pay for it. so on Christmas eve i lost my signal so i called them and we tried to troubleshoot together. So they made an appointment for someone to come out 4 days later. 4 days without TV? I don't think so. So i climbed onto the roof and noticed that when the dish was installed, he did not secure the antennae to the dish so the wind blew out the antennae. I called them back and told them all they need to do is put a screw in it. They told me that someone had to be there. After 1/2 an hour of arguing with them i finally gave in and told me wife she had to take 1/2 day off to be there. When they came they proceeded to give my wife a lesson on how to use the remote control, but didn't put the screw in like we asked them to. The antennae fell out 2 more time before they got there. Needless to say this all happened within the first 3 weeks of me getting this. I called to try to cancel it and they told me NO! How can I get out of this situation. Plz advise smb!
Direct TV is a company which people should be aware of. I ended my using them after using a debit card to pay my bills. Then upon leaving them I sent them back all three receivers as agreed. Then found on Christmas Eve that they had a computer error resulting in my card being charged for one of the receivers. This is after someone had called me from there days prior confirming that they had in fact received the receivers. I called them on Christmas Eve after finding they had charged my bank account for a receiver (over $200.00), they acknowledged the error, told me I will be getting credit but can't tell when. Joh Q Public should watch them and be careful what information they are given because they can have things such as this happen resulting in better profit margins in the event John Q Public doesn't catch it.
I called again today the day after Christmas spoke with a representative attempting to get her to tell me when the credit will happen, she put me on hold and hung up on me.
Great Company huh...
!!Merry christmas to you too Direct-tv!! One hour before christmas and all through the house, Not a creature...
Below is a copy of a complaint letter I filed with DirecTV through their "Contact Us" form. Apparently they do not have a mailing address for official complaints and accountability is non-existent just like their support for subscribers in multi-dwelling units.
I will post any response or resolution to assist anyone else experiencing similar difficulties.
To Whom It May Concern:
I just experienced the worst US based customer service of my life. As a subscriber I am being put in the middle of a finger-pointing session between the contractor selected to provide service (Consolidated Smart Systems [protected]) and DirecTV, to whom I pay a subscription fee for service.
Equipment was installed by Consolidated for my building and the wrong identification info was provided in the paperwork to DirecTV thus preventing the building from properly receiving signal since the actual equipment is not authorized. My building manager has been in contact with Consolidated on multiple occasions and they are unresponsive since the problem is with DirecTV programming.
I contacted the DirecTV customer service department this evening hoping DirecTV would be proactive about resolving the issue and allowing their subscribers in the building to resume service. This was not the case.
I spoke with the level one customer service person expecting to escalate, which I did. I then spoke with Helen-LC597, a supposed supervisor. She was indignant and rude when I attempted to explain the situation, claiming DirecTV has no way to obtain authorization to resolve the issue and that your company is not even permitted on the premises--even with approval from the property manager. She refused to provide me with any information at all and told me to contact my property manager and nothing else. I requested to speak with her supervisor and was quickly passed along to Nancy-LC044. Nancy was more pleasant than Helen at first, but quickly regurgitated the same information like she was reading from a script. I asked her the following simple questions: 1) Can you please provide me with the phone number for my property manager to call to resolve the issue; 2) Can you provide me with the physical address to which I can send a complaint; 3) Can you provide me with your supervisor's name?
Nancy flatly replied "NO" to all three simple requests. Is this the role customer service plays in your company? Is it somehow not in DirecTV's interest to ensure their subscriber's are able to receive signal in their building? How am I, the consumer, supposed to resolve this issue? Any enlightenment you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
I look forward to a prompt response and a swift resolution to this issue. This has been going on for weeks and is expected to go on for several more weeks if nothing changes.
The address of the property in question is:
Santee Village Condominiums
738 S Los Angeles Street
(I'm in unit 306)
Los Angeles, CA 90014
I can be reached via e-mail or telephone as listed in this request.
For a company priding itself on customer service you sure are acting a lot like a cable provider. Do multi-dwelling units count when measuring customer satisfaction?
I signed up for installation & service of DirecTV satellite TV through a DirecTV provider, the smart circle.
Because of the nature of my work, I have had to reschedule in the past because of being out of town, and they have always been kind & accommodating in rescheduling.
We finally had a date set for Tuesday, December 11, between 12-5pm, and I made arrangements to be available for the installation on that date.
Well, last week they changed my installation date at the last minute (on Monday 12/10), from 12/11 to 12/19, and I made considerable arrangements to be at my home today between 12-4pm.
It's now 4:40pm, no one has called or shown up to install my DirecTV service.
I've had it--I don't have time to deal with this during the holidays, and I believe that if they weren't going to install today, they could have at least extended the courtesy of a phone call.
Now I've blown four precious hours that I will never get back, came back from a trip out of town a day early to be here for this, and I still do not have satellite TV service.
This is not the way to start a business relationship, and now I don't intend to.
So I guess we're going to have to get by for now with our sub-par cable service, since I can't seem to find anyone to provide us with reasonable, dependable and reliable television service, and I do not have the time to sit & wait for DirecTV to maybe show up and provide the service I thought I signed up for, and expected to receive.
Apparently there have many of the same complaints...so maybe this will not be addressed.however recently I brought a new TV with the plan to watch HD stations... Directv has made 6-7 visits to my home with multiple technicians who have not connected the television correctly... (please be aware that we were hoodwinked and told we NOW need to purchase a larger satellite and HD service.) Every week I have a conversation with the customer service department trying to trouble shoot our problem. We continually receive SEEKING SATELLITE SIGNAL 771... on the screen despite our efforts to follow the over the telephone directions from customer service... This is becoming tiring not being able to watch our new television. A proper response would be more appropriate that rescheduling incompetent technicians. At this point we are prepared to cancel our service... switch to Timewarner and contact the attorney general for theft of services... Oh... I also don't like not having TV when there is bad weather... this is when you need TV.
They lied to me about packages and prices until the technician(Who has no idea about the package you bought) comes to your house and install the antenna. After the antenna is installed there is no way to get out of the contract. In my case, i was told by 3 different employees that i was going to pay 39 dolars per month for 200 channels, and 1 dvr and 1 receiver was already included. Me and my wife made sure that no other fee would be charged, and the first bill would be $39 plus taxes(We asked that question several times).
The techinian came and installed the antenna, and i asked him" so i have the 200 channels package right?" and he said, " i don't know the package you have, i just install the antenna", than he showed me a paper full of numbers and codes for me to sign, i signed and he took it with him. So, after one week i received a bill for 70 dollars.
I called customer service to find out what had happened.
Their employee told me that i had a 2 year contract and that the price was right for what i chose. I talked with 3 different customer service representatives before i decided to change to direct tv and no one told me about the 2 year contract, and all of then 3 told me the same monthly fee(39 dollars). After the antenna was installed i received a contract letter. In the contract it said that if i disagree with the contract that i could call and cancel the contract, and thats what we did, but the antenna was already installed and that was enough to be stuck in the contract. I have called direct tv many times to try to get some justice, it took many calls to lower my service to a cheaper package( they would tell me that the change was done, but than i would check it, and no change was made), i got hung up on phone a couple of times. I could write three pages about everything that has been wrong with direct tv service. I have had accounts with time warner and charter, but direct tv is the worst by far!!!!
I recieved an offer in the mail to sign up with Direct tv sattelite service, seeing that it would save me some money I called the number on the flyer. I payed them upfront and was told a tec. would be out to install within 24 hours. 24 hours later I called them and was told that no one could have told me that because it takes longer than that to get a tec. out. Now I was getting a little upset because I called the other company I had and had my cable turned off thinking that the other would be on. So 2 weeks later the tec. shows up! 2 weeks of NO TV with my daughter home just having surgery!! Then I started having problems with the reception due to the sattelite being put in the wrong spot But I thought I was ok because I paid an extra $67 dollars when I signed up for a protection plan. BUT NO I was told that wasnt covered because people would want it moved because of the way it looked! I told the man its not my fault the tec. installed it wrong but they didnt care and wanted another $100. I told them forget it I would hire someone myself so I could watch tv within the next 2 weeks! In October I had more problems so I called to ask for a tec. to come fix it and they said ok 24 hours LOL I should have known better!! One month latter I hired someone AGAIN to have it fixed!! So beware when you order DIRECT TV go straight to them! They couldnt help me because I had used a (i guess )sub-contractor for Direct tv. So do not order from the number _[protected]_ they are nothing but liers !!! I am still waiting for a refund for the protection plan that I payed them for !! SO ORDER ONLY DIRECTLY FROM DIRECT TV
After I terminated I had a credit coming and they never sent it. Then 3 months later used 1/2 the credit for PPV billings from almost a year before which I had never ordered. Spent almost 1 hour on phone w/ 2 reps who semi-politelely pretended to "research " my complaint and then told me " no disputes can be resolved after the service is terminated. Suggesting that if I resumed the service something might be "done".
What a way to do business - even if the charges ($26) were appropriate the fact they were trying to collect them almost a year later.
The statement also says "Payment enclosed" and of course , it was not !
I will certainly join in w/ anyone who wishes to persue this thin further.
They have the worst customer service. we received a bill that had 80 dollars worth of ppv. they said they were gonna credit it 3 months ago. Its now added back into our bill. we paid by debt card and authorized our payment of 65 dollars then we received our bank statement they authorized 2 payments of 10.99 and 2 payments of 14.99 with out our permission now i had to close my bank card and wait for a new one while they investigate. Im pissed so then i gop to call to cancel they want to charge me 120 fee to disconnect its been 12 months and the early disconnect is on the dvr player i already bought. Im so upset my 65 dollar bill is turning into a 400 bill and its ridiculous. Other people need to be warned.
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 $212 early cancellation fee waived based on the above testimony. We in good faith did try to move our DirecTV service, but due to the very poor customer service along every step of the way, DirecTV as a company did not meet our minimum expectations to deserve our continued business and support.
I would appreciate a prompt reply, and a speedy remedy to the situation. I surely don’t want to call to follow up on our refunds due.
We all have choices in this highly competitive business environment, and I hope you choose the consumer this time.
We signed up for their "30 day risk free trial". My husband had been a customer 2 yrs. before and was "inactive" When I signed up I asked 3 times, this is a 30 day trial right? But when we went to cancel they said we didn't qualify and now they've been billing us 280$ for over a year. Any company in the world would simply be interested in basic reasonable customer service. Not them! Direct TV is evil! Poachers of the little guy! They should be shut down!