Help! Caught in DirecTV upgrade scam regarding contract

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Ronald Epstein, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Please help!

    Been a DirecTV subscriber for years.

    My contract had expired with them long ago. Was looking to cancel DirecTV
    as Fios was coming into the neighborhood.

    Meanwhile for months DirecTV was sending me literature saying that I had
    to upgrade my equipment to receive their new programming but a commitment
    was required. I did not want a commitment.

    But soon after literature arrived that stated my upgrade was a NECESSITY
    and that DirecTV would do it at NO CHARGE and NO COMMITMENT.

    So I had them come and swap out my dish and DVR with new equipment.
    I was told over the phone and by the installer NO COMMITMENT.

    So today I go to cancel my DirecTV account and they tell me that I owe
    them 400+ for terminating an contract.

    I was arguing with a Supervisor who claims no such free upgrades were
    ever offered and if I can't produce paperwork that claims such I am responsible
    for terminating the contract.

    I can't believe these SOBs lied to me. I no longer have the original literature
    that says upgrade with no contract.

    Anything I can do here?
     
  2. Dennis-hp

    Dennis-hp Agent

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    I making a guess here...but I'd say no. Unless you have a written contract stating there is no commitment, I think you're on the hook for it.

    Both Satellite companies seem to offer great deals to new customers but treat their current customer like crap.

    The best you can do is threaten to contact the better business bureau regarding this issue and see if DirectTV lets you off the hook. If the threat fails...file a complaint anyway and see see what shakes out of that.

    Good lUck
     
  3. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Unfortuantely, you will probably need to play CSR roulette to get someone on the line with a brain.

    I know the letter that you mention, as I got one myself. I no longer have it, but you are right, it clearly stated NO COMMITMENT.

    One thing though.....the upgrade is/was NOT a necessity. Yes, you will not be able to access any of the programming on the new sats, but your gear will continue to work just fine.

    I am a Tivo guy, and will not even consider anything but a Tivo, so we are staying with what we have until such time as the new DirecTV Tivo comes out.

    No FIOS here, so its Comcast (very weak HD offerings), DISH (no Tivo), or stay the course with D*. If the new HD Tivo turns out to be vaporware, then it will probably mean biting bullet and going Comcast with a SA HD Tivo.

    I bet you can find someone at one of the Tivo forums that has a copy of the letter.

    Brian
     
  4. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    That sucks. A couple of suggestions:

    1) Go ahead and file a complaint with the BBB. According to their web site, they have had good results getting DirecTV to respond to them.

    2) File a consumer complaint - by snail mail - with your state Attorney General and the California AG. (DirecTV is headquartered in California.) CC DirecTV on the letters and mark the copies "Attn: Legal Dept."

    3) If one of you local newspapers or TV stations has a consumer reporter, contact them. They might see a story in it, and DirecTV might do the right thing just to avoid the bad publicity.

    Good luck,

    Joe
     
  5. Bob_L

    Bob_L Supporting Actor

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    These posts could help Ron,

    Directv Wants To Upgrade me for free? - SatelliteGuys.US

    Has DirecTV SCRAPPED the 2-year commitment(?) [Archive] - High Def Forum - Your High Definition Community & High Definition Resource

    DirecTV Should Waive Cancellation Fee | DirecTV, Inc. Billing/Payment | PlanetFeedback

    Can DIRECTV charge an early termination fee despite no signature and misleading information from the CSR? - Yahoo! Answers

    Based on those posts, you aren't the only one who got the "no committment" offer. In addition, if you have contact info (perhaps on a work order or receipt that you filed away with tax documents?) for the installer who replaced the equipment , he could probably verify the "no committment" agreement.

    Further, I'm with Joe. I'd register the complaints with BBB and the AG right now. With another business, I found a BBB complaint to be very effective.

    Finally, the DirecTV corporate offices are just a few miles from me in El Segundo, so if you can't get satisfaction, I'm willing to go down there late some night and piss on the building for you.
     
  6. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Thanks for all the great feedback here.

    Got on the phone and called the office of the DirecTV CEO.

    That got things solved. I was able to get the $480 termination
    fee removed.

    Now I am posting the letter I sent to DirecTV on the Internet in
    hopes that nobody else gets duped into an upgrade deal.
     
  7. Bob_L

    Bob_L Supporting Actor

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    Great news, Ron. I guess I can hold my water. [​IMG]
     
  8. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

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    Cool! Stick it to "the man". [​IMG]
     
  9. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Good deal Ron, but somehow I think that the CEO of DirecTV would perhaps NOT have taken MY call.

    Can we count on you to call on our behalf if they try to hose us? ;-)

    Brian
     
  10. David Norman

    David Norman Cinematographer
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    I'm glad things worked out for you Ron.

    If anyone has major issues with DirecTV service/billing/PR, there is one email address that frequently shows up over on dbstalk and often results in something useful. ellen.filipiak@directv.com -- I'm not sure what her official title is, but I know a number of that forum's regulars including the DirecTV insiders trust her when nothing or nobody else seem to be able to help. The followup posts after contacting her are almost universally positive. Even when the end results aren't perfect, she seems to be helpful and concerned enough to smooth out some pretty major issues.
     
  11. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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    Glad to hear that you got it worked out. I'll be interested to hear how the Fios works out for you. Verizon is telling me that it will be available here soon, but I'm ambivalent as long as DirecTV has an exclusive on the NFL package.
     
  12. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    They did the same thing to me about two years ago by saying I could "upgrade" for free for a three month trial period. After the three months I was told I could cancel and that would be that. I tried to cancel but of course they said I couldn't and tried to make me payback the three months and then the monthly total for the next three years. I think this deal originally came with an Internet option, which I took but never received as well yet they tried to say I received that equipment too. I eventually got everything canceled but soon a bill for over $1000 came in the mail and of course telephone calls started coming in the early hours of the day.

    I must have talked to over fifty people before someone finally said they'd take off all the charges but I moved about a week later and never looked into it. I'm not sure if these charges were taken care of or not but it was such a pain that I'll never do anything with them again.
     
  13. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    David,

    I am one step ahead of you. Read this posted about a day or
    two ago:

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htf/...practices.html

    In my case, however, she never responded. I kind of figured she
    would not as the letter points some out some issues I am sure she
    would rather not address.

    Thanks for all the help and well wishes, guys.
     
  14. David Norman

    David Norman Cinematographer
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    I saw your thread over on dbstalk so knew you had already sent a letter to Ms Filipiak. I thought some others might like her email address for later use since I didn't see it specifically attached to your letter.

    I'm actually surprised she hasn't at acknowledged your letter yet at least to offer an apology for you issue. I know she has helped a number of folks over the last couple years with a variety of problems both similar to yours as well as other DirecTV related issues. I'm pretty sure that Stuart and Earl B plus the other head honchos over at the dbstalk forum think very highly of her and have often given her name to people with major and minor issues.

    I've been with DirecTV since almost Day 1 and well before the official national rollout and luckily have never had a major problem, but unfortunately as you note with the increasingly distant CSR/1st Responder these type problems seem to be increasingly common. Unfortunately I can say the same for DISH, Cox Cable, TWC, Comcast, and pretty much any other large TV provider. FIOS is likely still small enough that it hasn't come under such scrutiny yet, though Verizon in general is certainly not much different in complaints from any other Telephone/Cellular provider.

    I hope FIOS works well for you and am certainly looking forward to a Review thread once you are hooked up. I doubt if FIOS or any equivalent will be available in my remote outpost anytime before Halley's next pass, but i'd love to see a 50+Down/20Up internet just for the thrill.
     
  15. rmartinez56

    rmartinez56 Auditioning

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    hopefully this will help. I have, what I believe is the e-mail address of the CEO of Directv.
    Chase.Carey@directv.com try it and let me know how it goes. Good Luck!
     

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