More Ways DirecTV Screws Their Customers

I’ve been screwed before by DirecTV.

Seems that the satellite TV mega-corporation just continues to want to find ways to screw over its customers, evidenced by my most recent experience…which I would like to outline here in an effort to make others aware.

Here’s the Cliff Notes’ Version:

  1. HDTV is becoming commonplace so Pauly D buys an HDTV Tivo receiver for DirecTV. It costs him $399.
  2. One day DirecTV tells Pauly D that they are going to be rolling out tons of new HD channels, but unfortunately that means that his current HDTV receiver isn’t prepped to receive them. Pauly D is going to have to buy a NEW one, which he can pay $99 for. The other receiver he has, he can hook up to his other HDTV (which had been a basic receiver) and at least get the HD channels he’s had so far.
  3. One day, the older HDTV receiver doesn’t get any HD channels. DirecTV tells Pauly D, he should have read it on the website, but that HD receiver no longer gets HD channels. Let me repeat that: my HIGH DEFINITION TIVO for DIRECTV no longer gets HIGH DEFINITION CHANNELS. He can buy a new sparkling nice HD receiver for $199 if he wants to get HD channels on his HDTV.
  4. Oh, and by the way — the $199 you pay (whether you pay DirecTV or buy it at Best Buy) doesn’t mean you own the HD receiver. It’s just a “lease fee.” And you also have to sign up for two years, and if you end before those two years, you’ll also have to pay $480 in early termination fees. Oh, and you also have to pay $5.99 a month for an extra receiver. Oh, and f*ck you.
  5. I complain. I ask for the manager’s manager in customer service. She tells me before she transfers me that he’s not going to give me anything more and that I should have just given up. When the new guy comes on, the main floor manager at DirecTV customer service, he tells me the same thing, then I get his badge number for future reference.
  6. The next morning all my HDTV channels, on every receiver are gone. DirecTV tells me on my TV that I am not authorized for any HD channel.
  7. I call DirecTV, seems someone mysteriously removed all the HD access from my receivers the night before. They reactivate them, but I smell a rat.
  8. I have no recourse. Screwed again.

How DirecTV Screws Its HD Customers

DirecTV is the Scrooge of the 2007 Holiday Season.

Imagine if Scrooge told you he had a great High Definition Package, thus causing you to subscribe to the service and pay the $9.99 fee for ALL their wonderful HD channels. And then imagine if Scrooge told you a few months later that he was going to add a bunch more for you — and all you had to do was upgrade your DVR so you could get them. All still for the $9.99? Scrooge would seem like a very un-Scroogeable kind of guy. Sort of nice. Pretty cool.

But Scrooge always ends up showing his true colors.

Effective December 15th, DirecTV quietly removed five of the original basic HD channels (HDNet Movies, Universal HD, MTV HD, MGM HD and Smithsonian HD). As someone who watched HDNet Movies and Universal HD quite a lot since the beginning, you can imagine my surprise when they were suddenly gone. Two of the original HD channels I had gotten in the main $9.99 package.

Apparently, per a DirecTV Supervisor (Badge #X3136), “DirecTV can change you package, your lineup, and ask for more money anytime they want. They don’t even have to tell you.”

So basically, I asked, “DirecTV can take away half my HBOs and put them into a new HBO Awesome Package and ask me to pay $5 bucks more a month to GET BACK THE CHANNELS I ALREADY HAD without any warning, respect or basic business acumen?” After the supervisor looked up the word “acumen” she said “YES.”

I don’t know, people — but I find that total bullshit that a company like DirecTV can give you a set of channels, charge you a certain amount FOR those channels, then quietly take some away and ask you to pay MORE MONEY for the channels you already had in the first place. I get suddenly charging more for a BRAND NEW SLATE of channels. But if I already had ’em? And was already paying for ’em? And if your equipment salespeople convinced me to upgrade so I could get ALL the channels?

I’d be pissed.

Which I am.

By the way, my next book is going to be ALL ABOUT DIRECTV.

Today’s Alarming Conversation With DirecTV

DirecTV called yesterday.

After I had spent enough money to fund a small South American country by ordering their HDTV and other electronic accoutrements you would have thought they’d leave good enough alone. Yet instead, they decided to have their crack-team of salespeople call me in an attempt to get me to sign up for even more services…

If only the person who called me was actually a decent salesperson.