April 11 - We had called Direcway.com prior to this date to order a Direcway satellite system to connect our computer to the internet via satellite.
On April 11 Tim Wolf from "Wolf's Custom Instal's" (no longer in business) came to install the system we had agreed on. Our understanding was that the system would cost $99 per month with approximately 50% of that going to pay for our monthly service and the other 50% for installation and equipment over the course of a year at which time we would begin to only pay for the service because the equipment would be ours. We were told that there is a one-year commitment. Mr. Wolf installed the system on a pole (which cost an additional $60, and I paid him with a check). He finished installing and came in to the house to install the software and hookup the modem that was part of the system. He told me that he needed my credit card information for "verification" and he entered it into the system. He then left without giving me any information about the company's billing policies or any information about how to operate the system.
June 22-I discovered my bank account was overdrawn and when I looked at my statement I found three charges from Direcway*HNS totaling $325.31 that were paid on June 20, 2002. One charge was $13.34; another for $91.98 and the third was for $219.99. In addition to these three charges my bank also charged me for 5 overdraft fees totaling $140.00 ($28.00 each).
I called the phone number listed next to these three charges (800-347-3272) and spoke to a woman named Chris. I explained to her that we had some charges on our bank account that we were questioning because we had never received a bill from them and did not give them permission to debit our account. She checked our information and told me that the $91.98 charge was for two months of service, she was not sure what the $13.34 charge was for, "possibly equipment or service" she said. She also told me that she could find no record of a charge for $219.99. She apologized and said that billing was closed and she was not going to be of much help to me, but she would pass our information along and hopefully someone would call us back.
June 24-I called Direcway and spoke to a woman named Lynette in the billing department. She told me that she did have a record of the $219.99 charge and that it was for two months of service. She also told me that the $13.34 charge actually should have been $40.00. She said the $91.98 charge was for two months of service also. When I asked her about our bill she said their policy is not to bill their customers. She would be more than happy to sign me up to receive a bill for a fee of $5.00 per month.
I asked her to send me a copy of their billing policy but she refused saying that the installer should have given that information to me. I was told that she would "expedite" the matter over to another department, and I MAY get an email from them within the next 24-48 hours. I told her that I did not think it was right that they took money from my account without my permission and she told me that the installer explained it all to me when he was here. When I informed her that he had not she told me that normal procedure is for the customer to be there to enter their own information and at that time the installer would explain their billing policies.
When I told her that the installer was the person to enter the information into the computer she said that had I been doing what I was supposed to be doing then this never would have been an issue. I then asked her why the installer would have entered the information himself rather than have me do it and her response was, I don't know, maybe it was because you are a woman. After hearing this I asked to speak with a supervisor and was told that they do not have supervisors there.
She told me that there was absolutely no one else that would be able to help me with this issue and that she would not give me any numbers to contact their corporate offices. She refused to connect me to anyone that would help me. I then asked her to connect me to someone who would refund my money and cancel my service and she put me on hold and never came back to the phone. After approximately 15 minutes I hung up and immediately called back and spoke to a man named Eric.
I explained what had just happened on the phone with Lynette and that I would like to speak to a supervisor. He told me that he would connect me and gave me the supervisor's names (Tim, Vince, and Nevin). After holding for a little bit he came back and said that it might be a few minutes and could he just take a message, I told him it was important that I speak with a supervisor immediately to get these problems resolved. Although he did end up connecting me to a supervisor named Tim, he said that if I held on the phone that would prevent him from helping customers.
Tim came on the line and I explained what had happened so far. I told him that I wanted a complete refund of the money that they withdrew from my account, copies of my bill and a refund of the fees that my bank had charged me for the overdrafts caused by them taking the money without authorization. He apologized and said he would try to help, but that this had to be handled by the billing department, he said that he would expedite the matter to the appropriate person and he would try to get in touch with me later in the day. He did call back later that day, but said that he had no new information and that he would try to call me tomorrow. He also told me that I should await an email from billing that would come within 24-48 hours letting me know what will happen with this matter.
June 25-I called Direcway to speak to Tim to find out what information he had for me. He said that he had not had time to do anything with this matter and that he would have to expedite the matter to the appropriate person and that I should expect an email within 24-48 hours. (The same thing that he told me the day before). I again told him that I wanted my service with them stopped, a complete refund of the charges including the overdraft fees as well as a copy of what those charges were for.
This time I was told that the $219.99 charge was for the Direcway Duo system. I told him that was not what the installer installed and that he had given me a receipt that stated that he had not hooked up the Dish to my television programming. He told me then that I would need to get in touch with the installer myself and find out why he reported that he had installed that system but in fact did not. He also told me that the $91.98 charge was for two months of service.
I spent the rest of the day trying to get in touch with the installer. The business card that he gave me had his cell phone number and an 800# on it. I tried calling the 800# several times but could not get an answer. The cell phone number on the card had been disconnected. Then, around 9 P.M. that night, I got in touch with the installers girlfriend. He had written her number on the back of one of the cards in case we needed to get in touch with him. She told me that they were having much the same problem with them and that I should call back around 10 P.M. and he would be home.
I called back and spoke to the girlfriend again and she stated that he was not in yet but that she would have him call me as soon as he arrived. When the installer (Tim Wolf) called back I explained the story to him and he said that he remembered very clearly that he had installed the duo system at our residence. I then told him what he had written on the receipt he had left for me about not hooking that up he said Oh that's right, I took that back with me. He said that Direcway was causing him problems with the service he gets at his home as well and that he is no longer in the satellite installation business.
He then later in that same telephone conversation told me the name of the man he says he is currently installing satellites for, Tom Sparks. He tried to convince me to call the company and tell them that he told me the service was only $59.99 per month and that that is all that I would pay. I gave him the amounts that I had been charged and he said that the math just doesn't add up. He also told me to call him back after I told the company about the $59.99 per month price and let him know if it worked. He said he planned to do the same thing if it worked for me.
June 26-I still had not heard back from Tim the supervisor and so I decided to call Direcway again to see what information he had and to report what the installer had told me to tell them. Tim was out and I spoke to a woman named Kristen. I explained the story thus far and told her that I wanted our service disconnected, the equipment removed and a complete refund including bank fees. She told me that she would go ahead and have them do that but she would have to transfer me to another department. She connected me to Paul.
I gave Paul the details of the story and he said that they would be more than happy to assist me. He told me that he would like to keep me as a customer and that if I stayed with them he would see to it that I got some of my money back, and two free months of service. He said if I did not want to go that route then they would not be able to make a refund and I would be charged an additional $400 if I wanted the service disconnected. He said that I only had 30 days from the time of installation to contact them regarding problems. I tried explaining that had this happened within the 30-day period I would have complained then, but it did not and that was beyond my control.
It did not matter, he said, I could either keep the system and get some of my money refunded (for the DUO system) and two free months or I would have to pay an additional $400 without receiving any refunds. I told him that I felt like they were trying to force me to remain a customer by giving me the choice to remain a customer and get a little help or cancel my service and get charged additional fees. The two free months would not come close to equaling the amount of money that was charged on my account, not to mention the fact that I beleived they illegally obtained these funds. I asked to speak to a supervisor.
He put me in touch with Ishmael. He explained that he was a supervisor and tried again to explain to me what my options were. I told him that this has become such a long ordeal and that I could not understand why they have not been willing to help me. He called me the wrong name three times during our conversation and said that their policy is not to send bills to their customers. That I could take what little help they were offering me and keep my service or that I could cancel my service and pay additional charges and recieve no refunds.
I told him that I was not happy with this and all I wanted was a refund including the fees, copies of my billing statements, service disconnected and for them to come and claim the equipment. He told me that he could not send me a bill because that is a service that has to be paid for. I told him that having been forced to go to these lengths just to get a telephone call from someone was ridiculous and that I was no longer interested in remaining a customer due to the unauthorized charges, poor customer service and the way that I have been treated during all of this.
I told him that had they simply responded to my problem and corrected it in the beginning then I would have chosen to continue my service with them. He then put me in touch with his supervisor, Kathleen Wells. She gave me her direct number as 866-259-9445 and said that I must have a pin number to reach her directly, she gave that to me as 103722. She seemed like she would be very helpful and asked me to let her do some checking and she would see what she could find out. Could I please give her more time? She told me that she would try to contact me later that day but it could be the following day before she could.
June 27-Kathleen called to tell me that they are going to finally refund PART of my money, but that they will still charge us $400 if we disconnect our service with them. These people are liars and bullys and theives! DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THEM.
Pendleton, Indiana Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Direcway