On September 20th we inquired about getting set up with satellite TV service in our home. We called several companies seeking the best deal. On the phone the company that promised the most was Directv. Unfortunately for us, they delivered the least.
First of all, since we are not big TV watchers, we requested the minimum package they offered; it was one priced at 29.99. All parties agreed that this is what we would receive and then an installation date was arranged for 9/27/09.
On that day, an installer showed up and mounted a big, ugly satellite dish on the top of our house. While I was dismayed at the unsightly object now on top of our new home, I was even more put off by the first bill.
It arrived days later and to our shock it was for well over the amount we had agreed on per our telephone call on 9/20. We had been "assigned" a plan that cost $55+ each month. I called and tried to get the adjustment made - no one at Directv was willing to make the change in our plan.
So, I called the company and explained that for that reason first and foremost, as well as several others, I wanted to exercise my consumer rights and terminate our contract while I was still in the 15-day window allowed to residents of TX. Even Directv reps seemed to know this was an option for me, especially when there is a difference in the terms set out in the contract that was mailed to us (in our case e-mailed) and what was presented at the time of sale (on the phone).
Well, here begins the unpleasant journey of the what we have now labled the great Directv Hoodwink.
At first we were told absolutely "no" we were not entitled to terminate our contract and we would in effect be forced to be a customer of Directv for two years, or pay a hefty sum (over $500) to break our contract early. Well, since I knew there had to be provisions for terminatging a contract if what was requested was NOT what was delivered, I persisted and called back. This time I got a more "sympathetic" agent who genuinely seemed concerned not only about the inconsistencies in information being given to us and rude treatment I had gotten on my first call, but also about the fact that I had been told one thing and given another.
She informed me that we were in fact in our 15-day window and what I was describing did qualify as a condition under which the early termination without penalty clause would apply. She gave me her employee ID number and told me to tell the "disconnect agent" to use the "ECF tool" to close the account with no early termination fees. Thankful to have finally met what I thought was a voice of reason, I proceeded.
The disconnect "specialist" supposedly applied the ECF tool, did a bit of typing, reiterated to me thatwe would be released without penalty, and gave me instructions about how to return the receiver and remote. In good faith, we disconnected our receiver and waited fo the Fed Ex box he said would come to arrive.
Side note: While waiting for this box we got FOUR calls from various Directv agents trying to convince us to return, give it another chance, accept service for a $100 credit and a reduced monthly fee...it was almost comical.
Then, just one day after sending off the reciever in that Fed Ex box, came a great big surprise: a copy of charge levied against our credit card for a whopping $500.69 for "early termination charges."
Tonight, I called and spoke to yet another agent who claimed the whole "you-are eligble-to-disconnect-without-penalty" was just a mistake and I had been given bad information about how the 15 day rule is applied. She suggested that the original agent I spoke to "made a mistake." She refused to do anything further for me, including refusing to send me an emailed copy of all the notes various agents had put in my account record that she refered to so convienently refered to during our call. She went on to suggest that I write a letter (yes, you read that right...a letter, as in snail mail) to the billing disputes department to dispute the
bill" and the call was ended.
So, what is the moral of the story?
Do NOT do business with Directv - they are the used car salesmen of the satellite TV world. Real experts at bait and switch!
Second, if a service provider requires you to enter into a two-year contract to give you something that is supposed to be for your "entertainment," ask yourself why that would be necessary. If it really is a great service offered at a great price, wouldn't consumers just choose to stay without a lengthy contract.
If you ignore my suggestion adn have a problem expect a HUGE run-around and fees assed even if you are assured you will not incure any.