Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Buyer Beware!!

It is hard to be a consumer these days.  Lemon juice isn’t really lemon juice.  You never know what is in your food unless you grow it.  You try to keep your bills down but somehow your cable bill just keeps going up and up and up… along with other bills.

My sister wanted to simply add a DVR to her package from Direct TV.  They sent her a DVR which she hooked up and got working.  There was a free weekend of HBO so she tried out the new DVR and recorded items.  Four days later the DVR is broken.  Okay it is an electronic and was shipped so maybe it was packaged properly or maybe she got a faulty one.  She calls Direct TV to have them replace it and is told by the tech that he has no more DVRs.  Odd wouldn’t you think they would stock those?  He tells her she will have to upgrade to an HD DVR which of course will cost her $236.50.  She has no tv and no other options according to what the person at Direct TV said.  She places the order and they set up an install time. 

They signed up with a bundle through ATandT / Direct TV and got their phones, internet, and satellite tv all for one low price two years ago.  However, the price for all three services has skyrocketed to almost $200 a month which is RIDICULOUS! 

I stopped by because my mom likes me to help her with the bills and dealing with these companies because she is hard of hearing.  I call ATandT and ask them if they can lower her bills.  I explain she is on a fixed income and that income has recently gone done.  The unhelpful customer service person says oh gee I’m sorry but we can’t do anything for you.  I too have ATandT and have had to call every single month that I’ve had it because their billing has been wrong.  They suck for customer service.  They tell you one thing and don’t follow through.

I call Charter.  I left Charter a year ago and in some respects wish I hadn’t left them.  My mom left them two years ago.  I get a very nice respectful man on the phone.  I tell him what they need.  I tell him about their fixed income and how they are spending a LOT with Direct TV and ATandT.  He fits all their needs into one tidy little package for $50-60 less than AT&T and Direct TV. 

The sad thing here is probably in a year we will have to go through this hassle again to get lower prices of switching around from this service to another.  When will companies realize it is cheaper to keep a customer than to win one back. 

I call Direct TV to cancel the service.  I explain how upset and frustrated they are with the service and that no one fixed anything.  I explain how the cost of the services are too expensive.  They kindly say they will cancel the order for the HD DVR.  They would like to keep them as customers though and can easily send out the DVR and it will be here in three business days.  I say no thank you, they failed and we want to cancel the service.  They tell me that there will be a $460 cancellation fee.  I tell the customer service person that no we will not be paying that fee and in fact they can refund the fees that go along with the order for the DVR.  She says I’m very sorry ma’am but I can’t do that.  I say then let me speak to your manager. 

I’m on hold forever.  I think they are hoping I will go away.  I hope they were listening because I’m not going away.  I wait and get another customer service person.  We go through the same argument and she says the same.  They can cancel it but there will be this fee.  I say no.  She says well I can get you to my supervisor.  On to the third person I go.  He came on the line all smooth and just let me help you.  I’ll send that DVR out right away.  I don’t know how this could have happened.  If you’d talked to my people that isn’t what we would have done.  I say bullshit.  Well okay I didn’t swear at them because that isn’t nice and doesn’t accomplish anything.  However, I do tell him that they pulled a scam and got caught in it.  This scam nullifies the contract and we will not pay the cancellation fee.

Now mom is worried about her credit rating and doesn’t like to not pay bills.  My sister is worried about her credit card that they have on file.  There are a lot of angry frustrated people around me.  I was not nice to the gentleman.  He offered to lower the package rate $20 but then of course with all the fees we have to pay the amount they would end up paying would be the same so not really saving money.  We go back and forth for over an hour on the issue. 

The final resolution – well they are getting Charter on Friday.  There will be a fight over the cancellation fee.  I will be calling the consumer protection agency, sending a note and calling (if I can find a number) to the head of the company, blogging, posting on Facebook and Twitter, and anything else I can think of to prevent my mom from having to pay this charge. 

There was a class action suit against the cell phone companies over charges like this.  They aren’t right and I’m going to do everything in my power to prevent Direct TV from getting the money they think they are owed after they scammed my sister and mom. 

Wrong deeds shouldn’t be rewarded and I hope I can stop that from happening.  Here is my warning beware Direct TV.  I strongly suggest that you don’t do business with them.  It is my opinion that they are disreputable and will rip you off. 

2 comments:

  1. I wish you had asked Charter to pay that fee with Direct TV. Often times, if you tell them how upset you are with a competitor, they will pay that cancellation fee for you, but you have to talk to the "right" person. I count on having a fight like this every year, no matter who has the contract. I ask immediately for the "customer retention" department. It saves a lot of time. When I get them on the line, I ask, "What are your specials going right now and do I get it or do I switch?" I have never had this fail for me. Your next option is a Roku. This is the neatest thing since sliced bread and I'm hoping to eventually get my partner off cable and strictly onto the Roku. Another option is also a digital antennae. The initial outlay may be a little bit of money, but you would be surprised how many local channels you get. All the main networks for sure. Then you can tell the cable companies to kiss your ass! LOL Please look up Roku and see if this might help. You can get a great one for less than $100. Hulu Plus is like $8/mo. All one needs to pay for is internet.

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  2. Thank you for all the suggestions. I'll definitely check out the Roku. I've had sporadic success with the customer retention department. They are actually the ones who told me they could do nothing for me when we left Charter a year ago. Then a week later they called and said oh we want you back and offered me a mediocre deal which didn't cost less than the one I got from AT&T. It just depends on who you get and whether they are willing to work with you.

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