Thursday, August 7, 2008

Oh, let me rant

Two weeks ago, we bought a new flat screen TV. Serendipitously I had received an email from my cousin and a friend both touting the value of the Samsung. One had read that it was rated number one in PC World in the 46 inch size and the other said after two Sony's went out on them they settled on a Samsung. CFM and I sat between three identical 46 inchers and analyzed in minute detail the differences in the blacks, greens and blues. Finally we agreed the Samsung was the best.

In order to use the new flat screen to its full potential, of course, you must have HD so I started looking into our options. We were on Dish Network but they weren't offering anything special to upgrade, pay $125 for the receiver and add $10 to your bill. DirectTV on the other hand was offering the 'free' four months of the premium channels with Football ticket through December - this was very attractive sine we are big football fans - also free Showtime for a year and free equipment and installation, including a free HD DVR. What a deal.

The catch was that we wouldn't get local channels. Well, our local channels stink. The sound quality is terrible and they preempt national programs and special sports "broadcasts at the drop of a hat for local affairs. So I said, that's okay as long as we'll get the national networks. The representative said, absolutely, we could get both east and west, New York and Los Angeles channels which was what we'd had when we'd been with Direct TV before. This was the first of two reps who told me the same thing.

In addition, I asked her, so this is all we'll be charged. Just the $54.99 a month or whatever. She said yes. So I took off from work early to make sure I was here when they put the service in. The technician, a fantastic guy named Mark, completed the installation around 8:00 in the evening and we had all the channels including the networks. The next day, they took the network channels back, no subscription.

I called Directtv about 8 the next evening. After troublesshooting it the tech support guy said, I don't have the 'authority' to fix it. Uh, oh. That was a harbinger of bad fortune to come. He said someone would call me back within two hours. They didn't.

I called back after ten and asked what was going on. As usual with Directv, it's like talking to one of those programmable Roarke drones from the In Death books by Robb.

Drone: I'm sorry ma'am, we will have to send a waiver in so it will be 45 days before we know if you'll be able to get the network channels.

Me: I said, what do you mean it'll be 45 days! I was told I would be able to get them. And we had them last night. I wouldn't have switched otherwise.

Drone: I'm sorry you were misinformed. We have no control over the waivers. We are obligated to submit them before giving you the network channels.

Me: You have control over what your sales people promise.

Drone: We are not allowed to promise the networks until we have the results of the waiver which takes up to 45 days.

Me: And then we might not get them at all, is that correct.

Drone: That is correct.

Me: I wouldn't have switched if I'd known this. We don't want to do without the networks for even 45 days.

Drone: I'm sorry you were misinformed. If you wish to cancel you need to do so immediately - there is only a 24 hour window.

Me: So even though I was promised this, if the waivers don't come through I won't be able to cancel later.

Drone: You must cancel within the 24 hours which has already passed, but I see that they have not put you into the 24 month commitment yet. So if you want to cancel you need to call back and be sure. The commitment would go into effect at midnight.

I was 11:15.

So, I call Dish back (I'd cancelled earlier in the day) and in order to be reinstated, they'd offered to reactivate for free I needed to go ahead and commit) Sheesh. I told them I would call right back - each time you have mention briefly the reason for your call. But in general Dish keeps the records up to date so each support person knows what's going on.

Not so for Directv, I had to call back, go through the entire explanation listen to why I shouldn't cancel, that one of these years they would have local channels, that she's sorry again that I'd been misinformed. And then I listened to a long drawn out version of their cancellation agreement. With their history of ignoring and playing down the actions of their employees and not being responsible for their actions, I fully expect to see charges on my credit card regardless of the situation. THE OTHER THING? It wasn't the only charge. On my account billing online I saw an initial charge for $80 the salesperson conveniently refused to explain when I asked about charges.

So just before midnight I got Directv cancelled and reordered Dish. Then I was told the first appointment for installation was a week from now and we would not have TV for a week!

Do you know what a man without a TV is like? Without that remote in his hand, he's little more than a vegetable. Well, hell, he's a vegetable with it but a happier vegetable.

CFM wasn't handling it too badly, though. Then I thought of trying to take apart the wires and reconnect them. He was jubous as he puts it but after several tries we managed to get the tv in the kitchen working last night. Now, he's as happy as the finest French veggies. After all, in 100 degree heat what else is there to do when you're not working.

Never, never never never again. I thought about telling Dish to put it in my record. No matter what Directv offers I will NOT switch back. (Once they owed me $60 and they told me 'they don't do refunds!' Can you believe it. These people are from Mars.

I've never had bad service or even unfriendly service from the Dish employees at every level.


Leah Braemel said...

I'm surprised the BBB or some organization hasn't challenged them for that type of behavior. It's amazing they're still in business. Makes me appreciate our Canadian companies. (and they're not so hot, but they don't do THAT)

Cora Zane said...

Oh yes, the waiver... ha! Hubby and I contacted Directv to try and get our local stations, that way we could get the area news, weather, and school closings in the den. Well, they said we couldn't get them here, but they'd put in a waiver for us anyway. 45, pfft! About three months later, I'd long forgotten about trying to get the local channels, I got a letter in the mail saying our KTVE-8 waiver had been denied. Basically, Directv doesn't have permission to broadcast those channels. What a complete waste of time and a postage stamp. Ya know?

I hope at least the TV looks fantastic!!