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« Talking of Bicycle Evolution | Main | Deblins Green »
Monday
Mar012010

DirecTV: Why can’t corporations behave like decent human beings?

We are all aware that this current recession was caused largely by greedy corporate bankers, and dubious business practices.

It is bad enough that we have to suffer the consequences of this, but other corporations are still ripping off ordinary people who are already struggling to get by.

I moved house in November 2008. The cable company I was using for TV and the Internet did not service the new address.

As I had to switch I looked for ways to save money. I had seen advertisements for DirecTV’s Satellite Service; $29.99 for 150 channels, with a 12 month contract. This sounded like the cheapest way to go, so I ordered it.

A man came to install it, put a small satellite dish out back, and ran a cable into the house. He then told me he didn’t have a receiver box for the basic service, but he would install an upgrade at no extra charge. I agreed, which was my first mistake.

When the bills started to arrive a month or so later it was for $78.24. a month. I called to ask about the $29.99 a month service.

I was told, “You have the upgraded service.” I explained the man who installed it said I could have it at the same price.

“No, he meant you could have it installed at no extra cost.” What installation? You carry the box in from your van, remove it from its package and plug it in.

My attitude at the time was, “Oh well, I have been screwed. Now I am paying about the same as I was previously paying for cable, but I am getting more channel choices."

However, I made up my mind at that moment I would honor the 12 month contract I had agreed to, and that was it; I would then look for an alternative.

A year later in November 2009 I cancelled my service with DirecTV, and found a combined package for TV, Internet, and Phone service, with a local cable company. In total the three services combined, saved me over $70 a month.

Now DirecTV is billing me $225 cancellation fee, which I refuse to pay. They immediately handed the matter over to a collections agency, who start in with the harassing phone calls saying if this amount is not paid it will show up as an unpaid debt on my credit report.

I lodged a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and discovered (A little late.) there are tens of thousands of complaints against DirecTV mostly for the charging of this cancellation fee. Some customers who had been with DirecTV for as much as eight years were sometimes charged over $480 cancellation fee.

As a result of my contacting the BBB, DirecTV sent me a copy of a letter they claim to have sent me back at the end of 2008. (I don’t recall getting it.) The four page letter has tiny type about 8 point, and buried somewhere in it is a clause that the upgraded service is not only more money, but the contract is for two years, not twelve months as widely advertised.

My failure to respond to this letter, which I dispute that I ever received, meant by default I agreed to its terms. This is illegal. Not just my view but those of various class action law suits against DirecTV, currently pending across the country.

Why does DirecTV resort to these shady tactics and downright trickery? They are already the biggest Satellite TV Company in the US. Could they not make enough profit by being honest?

No, it seems DirecTV knows they are wrong, and will eventually settle these law suits, and still come out billions ahead in terms of profit. If the ordinary man on the street behaved in the manner he would be thrown into jail.

My apologies for using my blog for a personal rant, but just maybe it will save someone else the grief I am going through.  

  

Reader Comments (14)

Why do they do it? Because they are the biggest. Monopoly in action. Cable companies generally have it even better as they are handed regional monopolies on a silver platter.

I've been without cable or satellite for about 4 years now. I don't think I'll ever go back, to be honest. Especially now with the digital TV switch. I get more channels than before and many of them are even HD. I still don't turn my TV on that much though unless I'm watching a movie.

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterToddBS

I was thinking of cancelling DirecTV because of the nasty corporate behavior between Comcast and DirecTV... I guess this is just another reason.

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarvinK

Dave,

Make no apologies for your rant. I just canceled my Direct TV service because they dropped Versus the channel that carries all of the cycling races. I had to wait until February to do this even though they dropped the channel last fall. Thing is Versus was included in the line up at the time I signed the contract. However, they still wouldn't let me out of the contract early.

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMatt M

It is a shame that thugs are allowed to control access to our public air waves. My cable billed jumped 100% last fall and the provider claimed that it was caused by computer administrative "updates". So much for the annual contract rate.

Remember the arguments back in the 70s on whether Americans would pay (via cable fees) for commercial free tv broadcasts? Now that we do get billed for reception, the commercials take up more time than ever before... the Olympic broadcasts were dominated by such.

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJack

It's relevant & warrants follow up. At times were best when angry. I have contemplated using Direct TV & now know better. Thank's

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTom Knoblauch

Thanks for the warning. I have been using Comcast cable for a few years. The quality of the service has been a constant problem. I was thinking about swithing to Direct TV. It sounds like I would be "jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire".

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJon Carr

www.directvscams.com Would you reward a kid for stealing from your purse? Of course you wouldn't.Then why is the NFL rewarding Directv with exclussive rights? They lie , cheat , and steal.They charge you to lease their equipment , then charge you upto $5.99 to protect it against repairs.They will also make unauthorized charges to your credit/debit card.This is 100% accurate , google directv complainsts , it will blow your mind , they had over 20,000 complaints in 3 years , thats a BBB record.They have 3 lawsuits pending , in California , Washington , and Oregon.This does not include the silent suits.My goal is to get congress to open the NFL Sunday Ticket to cable companies , And all Satellite companies , At the top there is a Petition , my goal is to get 10,000 signatures then I'm sending the petition to congress.America needs competition , what if there was only 1 electrc company , gas company , Or auto maker?You Get the point , Thanks for your support! Earl David Evans

March 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEarl

Thank you for you post. Helping others possibly avoid this and making everyone else aware is priceless.

March 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Dave, no need to apologize for using your own blog for a rant! It is your blog after all.

March 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim

Hey, this was great info!

Glad I found out before I got the iddy-biddy dish.

March 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRider

Dave,

From my experience, I have lost money here and there (mostly on cell phones) for not properly reading clauses. Its those in-between statements that you don't understand that will eventually bite you. But if there's anything I've learnt, its that when bad things happen to you and your money because of something that was not your fault, learn to pick up the phone and talk to the customer service person with a stern voice, telling them why you don't believe a certain amount of money should be taken from you. It has worked a lot of times.

March 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRon (@Cozy Beehive)

Why does this happen? Because they don’t give a shit.
The customer is not important, nor the product, but profit is paramount.
If DirctTV loses too many subscribers they will simply be acquired (or consolidated) by other investors.
Businesses small and large are being taken over by shareholders looking for payoff. Investors own companies that started as proud, family-owned companies.
That is vanishing.
The result is a real loss not only for customers, but workers who care. No longer are integrity, honesty and good work ethic esteemed. No longer is making an honest, modest living to be emulated.
Look at all the Ponzi schemes in secular business and the governments of the world.
It’s all 'get as much as you can now'; let someone else deal with the fallout and litigation later.

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

holy CRAP, Dave. That sucks.

I'll pass this along to my family, make sure they don't join up.

March 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIra

Dave, I think this happens for simply one reason: because you are such an honest man in your personal life and in your past business practices, you would assume it would be returned as such. I was mentioning to someone the other day that when I was in lending and doing business with dairy farmers, as well as cattle ranchers, you could shake their hand and know the deal was done. The loan papers were merely a formality to keep the bank and regulators happy. But once you spoke with the dairy/cattle men and settled on something, it was good as gold. If I told someone 12 months, then it was 12 months and would expect the same in return. I can't see you caving in to these bastards. Unleash the British in you and give em holy hell.

March 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaltese Falcon

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