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07/30/2002 Entry: "DirecTV hell"

DirecTV. You know it and love it. 9 million channels and nothing good on ever. Unless you like all the hot breaking news about what N*sync guy had what for lunch and really bad B movies. Well that's not really true, there's a lot of good stuff on and I watch it all the time. I've been a direcTV customer for a little over 3 years now. In that time There's only been two problems of any note, both in the last year since I moved to LA.

My biggest complain is that they are like freaking robots. The customer service people you get on the phone, IF you get them on the phone, have no rational human logic. It's all policy and blah blah blah. I'm getting ahead of myself... Click here to read more.

DirecTV. You know it and love it. 9 million channels and nothing good on ever. Unless you like all the hot breaking news about what N*sync guy had what for lunch and really bad B movies. Well that's not really true, there's a lot of good stuff on and I watch it all the time. I've been a direcTV customer for a little over 3 years now. In that time There's only been two problems of any note, both in the last year since I moved to LA.

My biggest complain is that they are like freaking robots. The customer service people you get on the phone, IF you get them on the phone, have no rational human logic. It's all policy and blah blah blah. I'm getting ahead of myself...

They set up this "movers program" thing where you leave your satellite dish at your old place but take your internal receiver with you, and at your new place they ship you a new satellite dish and send someone to hook it up for you. This saves you time and worry, but also sets up your old apartment so the next people who move in will be tempted to get the service installed to. Right, so when we moved from Chicago to Los Angeles we went for this. On about June 1st, I called them and said "I'm in Chicago until June 30th, then I'm DRIVING to Los Angeles, and will be there by the 4th." No problem they say, the local channels will be set to switch to LA on July 1, and the new disk will be shipped to me for deliver AFTER the 5th of July. Cool.

Next day I turn on the news, it's LA. All my Chicago channels gone. I call, they say it was a mistake but policy prevents them from changing it back. I won't bore you with the details, I just knew a lot about what was going on in LA the month before I got there. Finally I get to LA and there's all these notices on the door. June 28th, first dish delivery attempt, July 1st, last chance deliver attempt, item returned to sender. I call, they say, "oh, it's against policy to set specific delivery dates" I explain that when I ordered the move a month ago everything was fine and they explain "it's a new policy." WHAT? So I'm all "ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Don't you think that's something someone should have notified me about?" Apparently not as it was explained to me that policy dictates they do not notify customers about policy changes, but a customer can request info on a specific policy at any given time.

So I ask this lady "Look, If the last time I talked to someone there this policy didn't exist, how can I possibly be expected to call back to find out if by any chance a new policy has been created that voids my previous agreement?" Her answer? "that's just our policy."

Anyway, whatever it got installed a week or so later and all was good. Until Saturday. Watching something, all is cool, then BANG! signal is gone. I test the tranciver, look at the connections, everything is good just not getting any kind of signal at all. I look up on the roof expecting to find someone had stolen our dish, nope still there. So I go out back to see if something happened between the disk and my apt. When I get back there I find the AT&T broadband guy packing up his stuff. I explain that I have direcTV and my signal just disappeared to see if he might have moved something. He did. He explains that when he used to work for DirecTV they used to swipe whatever cable lines were around to make their installations. Now he works for AT&T and it's part of his job to make sure DirecTV doesn't touch there shit. He said he didn't change anything SPECIFICALLY to may apartment, but there was a DirecTV line running into their junction box and when he reconfigured it for some other customer in the building it might have blocked my signal. The only thing I could do was call DTV and explain to them that my service had been installed ILLEGALLY in the first place and they needed to send someone out to redo it.

So I call. 30 minutes later I get someone on the phone. They say it's not their problem. The fuck it isn't I explain. I get the manager he says there's no warrantee on installation and I will have to pay a $50 service change for them to send a guy out to repair it. He says I can contest the bill later if I want but that is my current only option. Mother fuckers. Ok, so I agree and they say the service guys will be here Tuesday morning.

Tuesday morning. The guy gets here. I ask if he's been informed of the situation, he says no. Great. I tell him the deal and he says that his work order just says "check reception" not "reinstall" but he'll take a look anyway. He confirms what I already knew that the line going to my house had been swiped from AT&T and that they had taken it back. That the dish on my roof was working fine, the line attached to it was perfect. The box inside my house was perfect, the line on that was great, there was just nothing connecting the two any more. The service guy tells me "It's insane that they would have installed it like this in the first place, this was obviously going to be a problem and there is no way you should be asked to pay a cent for their mistake. I'm not going to change you for this visit because that is bullshit, but if you want me to send someone back out here to do an installation it will cost a few hundred bucks.If I were you, I'd go call DTV and raise hell." Wow, the one voice of reason at DirecTV is a subcontracter withthe job of checking bad reception.

So I call, 45 minutes later I get someone who has the athority to talk to me on the phone. I explain, she listens. She says I have TWO options. I can either take a $100 credit on my account and get it installed myself, OR they can order me a new moving package. The repair guy said that installation was going to cost me a few hundred bucks so getting a $100 credit is not going to do it. So that is out and my only choice is to get the moving package. Let me explain this a bit further: They are going to send me a BRAND NEW dish and setup, and then have guys come install that whole thing again, even all the equiptment I have is working fine already. I ask the lady if I can just get the moving thing without the dish since the one I have works fine. No. When the repair guys get here can I just have them use my old stuff and throw this new disk in the closet or something and save then an hour or two? No. It's "policy" that they have to use the new stuff. So I ask "look, forget policy and all that stuff, just look at this like a person for a second, I'll go with the moving deal, but doesn't it seem a bit extrainious to send out all new equiptment to me, ON YOUR DIME, and pay someone hourly ON YOUR DIME to set it up, when the problem can be solved by just having a dude run a line through my wall and connect the box and dish I already have?" She says "That not our policy" I say "I'm not asking about the policy, I'm asking you, the person on the phone with me, don't you think it's weird that the policy there makes you run through 10 steps and spend all this cash when it could be solved much cheaper in 1-2 steps?" "That's not our policy" She says.

"fine, order me the new kit, send the guys to install it... whatever..." So now I'm waiting to hear from the moving department so they can Schedule a Date when she can ship me my new dish that I don't need in the first place. Unbelievable.

Replies: 15 people with an opinion

Ritchie- Holy crap! Hey man, very long time. Hows everything going? drop me a line!

Posted by sean @ 08/08/2002 03:11 PM PST

As for my last post it should be just books not the books and it is meet not me...just wanted to save firefly some time so s/he could get back to reading.

Posted by One moe time @ 08/08/2002 01:14 PM PST

Typical response from a know-it-all jackass...find a typo and jump on it...wow so original. I mean for christ sake how many post wars dwell on typos rather than address the true content of the material. Look let's just own up to the facts you don't read all the time and you sure as hell don't exist without the innovations of technology. Let's all just own up to the role television plays in ALL of our lives - even the lives of snobs such as your self. My points are simple television is not evil, no more than says the books, the computer or the internet. My second point is that I have yet to me one person who doesn't talk with a certain hatred for the boob tube that doesn't watch as much TV as I do - which I must say is not that much. If you can't accept the fact that your comment was both arrogant, devoid of any humor and just plain naive, I am sorry for your ignorance and arrogance.

You have done little to prove to me you are nothing more than an arrogant tool - just do me a favor since you have so much time- why not proofread what I wrote and then actually come back with something more intelligent than your average snot-nosed response of finding a typo and calling me a lunkhead or was it supposed to be lug head...as for the cheetos sorry homes - V-E-G-A-N, anything else you want to know about me- feel free to ask.

Firefly- go fucking buzz off....the rest is not for you..........

Just wanted to send my regards to you Mr. Bonner. I am in fact the Richie Cunningham who about 8 years ago talked to you quite often about many things including Pushing for coins and what not glad to see you are still alive and well.

Posted by Boobie Richie Cunningham @ 08/08/2002 01:12 PM PST

fight! FIGHT !!!

Posted by sean @ 08/07/2002 06:03 PM PST

Spoken like the illiterate lunkhead that you undoubtedly are, Richie. It is a wonder that you even made it to your "feshman" year of high school. Just keep your ass on the couch, your eyes on the boob tube and your hand in the Cheetos bag you waste of space.

Posted by firefly @ 08/07/2002 04:52 PM PST

"Take up reading" Great idea guys hmmm should have thought of that one. When will people come down off their intellectual high horses and just admit like everyone else that they spend more time in front of a television than a book. Every time I hear some say - oh yeah I never watch tv, those same people are the ones who know every piece of celebrity gossip from E! and watch Trading Spaces - which is OK because its based on a television show that originated in England and Europeans are more culturally aware than Americans. On behalf of those proud of their television and happy to say that I made it until feshman year in high school without finishing a book. Take you advice and shove it up your ass you self righteous lying hypocritical piece of shit.

Posted by Richie Cunningham @ 08/05/2002 11:10 AM PST

I decided to just say screw it and climbed up on the roof to install it myself.

all set, now I just need to get that $100 credit...

Posted by sean @ 08/03/2002 08:54 AM PST

two options:
1)take up reading (as stated earlier) or
2)buy yourself a kit so you can program the hu-cards to watch it for free,(best choice in my opinion)...

Posted by Zewarp @ 08/03/2002 12:17 AM PST

Companies hire minimum wage 'customer service' people who are not paid to and/or are unable to THINK. Don't stop here -- tell the VPs of Marketing, Sales, Advertising, & Human Resources at DirecTV !

Posted by joann @ 08/02/2002 10:59 AM PST

stealing direct tv is so much easier ;)

Posted by fecal @ 07/31/2002 04:17 PM PST

Perhaps you should take up reading instead.

Posted by firefly @ 07/31/2002 04:05 PM PST

Hey, why not write an article about it, sell it to WIRED, and make back some cash to compensate you for the time you lost arguing about this?

Posted by Nathan Jr. @ 07/30/2002 02:39 PM PST

The first comment sounds like the perfect argument against communism.

Posted by dish on this @ 07/30/2002 02:29 PM PST

"My biggest complaint is that they are like freaking robots"....of all people, I'd have thought that would be what you like best about them.

Posted by Jeff @ 07/30/2002 02:26 PM PST

When you work for a very large corporation at a low level (like customer
service), doing an exceptional job gets you the same reward as doing a
mediocre job: squat.

Thus there is no upside to actually helping people, because this means a
deviation from procedure for which you can be disciplined or fired. You do
everything with a minimum of effort but *exactly* according to policy, and
you get to keep your job.

This is why all corporate mission statements are bullshit: because they are
not actual policy. Paraphrasing some famous quote or other: "the folly of
expecting one result while rewarding another".

Posted by grigsby @ 07/30/2002 02:21 PM PST

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