DirecTV May Suck.

UPDATED Jan. 19, 2012: See comment below

Uhh… DirecTV… do you suck, or are you just shady? That’s what I’m trying to figure out.

I want to order. I have perfect credit. I have never missed a payment on anything ever. I have owned my home for almost a decade, and don’t plan on moving at all.

It all comes down to about $23.

They want me to pay for them to ship hardware from their facility directly to their installer. I think that is ridiculous. The installer can’t do their job without the equipment. Certainly I’m not going to pay for an internal shipment. And they’re certainly not shipping anything to me.

In any event, DirecTV has been sending us these mailers. It’s basically the same offer as online, but an extra $5 off each month for a year. You have to call to receive the offer. Note the bolding.

Today I call, ready to order. We almost made it through the whole process, but it came down to $23.

It is worth noting, for those who might call and order DirecTV in the future, that I found the conduct of their representatives to be unsettling. I felt like I was being sold, not being allowed to buy, which is basic salesmanship 101.

They kept telling me of features for which I qualified, as if I was getting something that other customers do not get. Their website and advertisement indicate that just about everybody gets these features, if they want, when they sign a contract. Tactics like those can come off as shady. They also revealed details of their location and personal lives that, according to a supervisor, they are not permitted to reveal. It leaves me with the impression that they run a pretty sloppy ship over there.

We went through the whole ordering process, including intrusive questions about what I like to watch on TV that should have been avoided by simply asking if I knew what package I wanted, or if I needed help deciding. So at the very end, they tell me it will be about $23 for shipping. What? I thought shipping was free. Nope, not with this offer, apparently.

It says at the bottom of the mailer, “$19.95 handling and delivery fee may apply.” So it may apply. Ok, then, if it may apply, then why does it apply to me?

I’m told that in order to get the Shipping and Handling fee waived, I have to order online. But, the mailer they sent me directs me to order by phone to get the special deal. If I order online, it is impossible get the deal contained in the advertisement.

While they were happy to tell me about all these features for which I qualified, and raved about my credit, they were unable to tell me a single situation where I would be able to get the deal from the advertisement, but not pay for them to ship hardware to someone who isn’t me.

According to the DirecTV people with whom I spoke, in order to get the deal as listed on the flier that was sent to me through the mail, I must pay shipping. Period. Nothing would actually be shipped to me. Period.

Instead of saying a fee may apply, they should have said that a fee does apply. Put it right on the advertisement, and let me decide if I want to spend $23 now for $60 in bill reduction over time, or to save the $23 now and not get the extra discount over time. Why hide the shipping fees by saying they may apply, when customer service representatives insist that it must apply in order to get the deal on the advertisement that enticed me to call?

Can that be viewed as anything but shady? How many people signed up from similar fliers as this, and paid shipping without questioning it? Did they know that the flier said they may have to pay shipping, but the actual offer required them to pay shipping? Of course, they wouldn’t have qualified because, according to DirecTV, the fee that may apply, definitely applies. One thing seems clear,though– the mailer didn’t make it clear that I would pay shipping, and the company can’t tell me any situation where shipping could be avoided.

Twenty bucks, twenty bucks, twenty bucks. It adds up. Lots of mailers. It looks like lots of people may have had to pay a shipping fee, but really had no choice if they wanted the deal in the advertisement.

Now I’m not so sure I want DirecTV. Between the way they seemed slimy on the phone, the seemingly shady fine print, and their unwillingness to recognize that $23 makes or breaks a sale, I wonder why they deserve my business.

The thing is, I would be a great customer. I love football, and I love hockey. The person who referred me to DirecTV– and would benefit from the referral– did it based on the NFL Sunday Ticket, and the NHL Center Ice package. While there hasn’t been a single football or hockey game in the last five years that I have wanted to watch but couldn’t, it would sure be a lot more convenient to just turn on the TV. DirecTV really wants to lose those two sales over $23?

Anyway, I tried to call their corporate office, but– get this– they were closed due to weather. It doesn’t bode well for such a large company when their corporate office in Idaho, which receives 32 inches of snow a year, and is covered in snow for two months a year, is closed due to snow.

In any event, I will try to call their corporate office again tomorrow, and ask how I can get the deal from the advertisement and still fall under the may portion of the fine print. Either their customer service department doesn’t know they can waive the fee, or DirecTV has charged a shipping fee to every single customer who ordered based on the mailed advertisement, even though the fine print indicates that only some people have to pay the fee. And that ignores the fact that nothing is ever actually shipped to the customer.

That is all.

8 thoughts on “DirecTV May Suck.

  1. Alright then, I am now a DirecTV customer.

    Between my original post and this comment, I re-reviewed the advertisement that DirecTV sent me through the mail. In doing so, I realized that there was a website address on the bottom of one of the inserts. I put in the website– directv.com/2years– and what does it say in big, graphical letters?

    NO STARTUP COSTS.

    Now, I might not be the brightest guy in the world, but to me, NO startup costs means NO startup costs, period. No install, no equipment, and most importantly, NO SHIPPING. None.

    I called the corporate office and asked to speak with someone who could clarify why their offer simultaneously states that I may have to pay shipping, and that there are to be NO startup costs.

    I spoke with a nice lady named Betty who, at first, held out that the shipping cost wasn’t a startup cost. I then directed her to the website. She read it, and agreed– it doesn’t mention any shipping fees, and explicitly states that there are NO startup costs.

    They should have signed me up yesterday. All three DirecTV employees with whom I spoke– Jeremy, Tina, and Dustin– all lost a sale because they were not willing to see things from the customer’s perspective.

    Betty signed me up. I paid shipping. She is crediting me. That is fair.

    Additionally, she is escalating the issue. The offer sent through the mail contradicts the website to which the recipients of the offer are referred. Customer Service is not fully up to date on the offer, obviously. I doubt many sales have been lost, but I bet a lot of people have paid for shipping without question when it was not necessary at all.

    Betty did a great job. She listened to my concern, agreed that the mixed offers were contradictory, and, most importantly, she LET ME BUY.

    My service will be installed on Saturday.

    That is all.

  2. Do you have the number you called? I just spent the last 2 hours on tthe phone with them over the same thing and then was told to call back tomorrow because the system went down.

  3. Hi,

    Sorry, no I do not have it.

    I looked through all of my notes and it wasn’t there. I must have misplaced it.

    Sorry, and good luck!

    Mike

  4. DirecTV sucks in many, many ways. Most sucky? They force you to pay up-front fees for receivers you are only leasing! Then they additionally charge you monthly fees per receiver IN ADDITION to the fees for HD and DVR service. Yes, their package deals waive certain fees or at least discount them – if you sign up for auto billing, paperless billing, etc. But it’s an unnecessary hassle and seems unfair. It also makes determining the actual cost of service extremely difficult.

  5. Oh… And get a load of their tiered service plans. Remember the days when repairs of a company’s equipment were free? Not with these jokers…

  6. Yes, I agree Direct TV is an underhand operation. They invest in strategy to rip consumers off. They are trying to come after me top pay for a service I was not receiving at an apartment I was renting closer to my job. I ended up moving from a very nice apartment because of direct TV. Basically, I was paying a monthly payment and the service was off. It turned out that they are not receptive to servicing customer but broker a poor service. Not sure why they are still around. Their threat in my case is credit. But little do they realize that I really don’t give a poop of their plot to attempt at affluent muscle. My history in utility bill payment speaks for itself. Poop on Direct TV. Google publicize numerous similar complaints about Direct TV. In retrospect, Maybe there are people out there that are falling for their massive marketing farce.

  7. Got transferred three times after listening to a long recording that said you must call a certain number for the refer a friend number.

    They tried to get me to pay a fee to have the man get the equipment delivered and wanted a credit or debit card.

    I am calling Dish as the company is shady !!

  8. Mike, thank you for your blog on this issue. It is two years later and I just went through the same spiel and yes, it did come down to $23. I said it was unnecessary and didn’t make sense and she was adamant that was the only way to get the service. When I said no thank you, she asked me to wait and hold and never came back after 5 minutes so I hung up….what a racket….I saw that when you try and return your equipment, they give you a box and prepaid stamp, then they claim they never received it and charge you $400. Forget it….I figure out how to get Hallmark another way.

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