DirecTV: All Your TiVo Are Belong To Us

DirecTV claims to rent Tobin the TiVo he bought off eBay. He was first tipped off when he received a $600 bill he knew to be false. After all, “I get my porn on the internet, I don’t need pay-per-view.” Tobin tried to reason with DirecTV, which only resulted in this mind-numbing transcript:

DTV:”We’re showing that you have an unreturned DVR from January 10th”
Tobin:”Is that the HR 10-250?”
DTV:”Yes.”
Tobin:”Do you realize that DirecTV hasn’t offered that model for sale for well over a year?”
DTV:”Well, I’m showing that we sent you a HD DVR and billed you for it.”
Tobin:”You’re showing that you sent me a DVR that you don’t sell? I bought that on Ebay. You’ve made a mistake. You don’t sell that DVR.”
DTV:”But we’re showing that you have an unreturned DVR here, sir.”

Next they’ll bill for your house satellite mount. Make your time. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

directv madness [No maps for these territories]
(Photo: SpooSpa)

Comments

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  1. parliboy says:

    “OK, I have more than one DVR in the house. So can you verify the serial number of the one you claim that we are renting from you?”

    (Not impossible — I share a rent house, and there are four boxes here)

  2. faust1200 says:

    I’m not sure if it’s because of the way the article is written but this whole story sounds strange.

  3. dantsea says:

    Sounds like he bought an unreturned DirecTiVo off eBay.

    I’m really at a loss as to what he should do next, beyond contacting the seller to ask ‘WTF, mate?’

  4. kenposan says:

    If he bought an unreturned unit, how would DTV know that? Wouldn’t they still be billing the person they initially issued it to? The one that failed to return it?

  5. homerjay says:

    If he bought the unreturned unit and activated it as his own, they would have caught that upon activation. This just sounds like there’s a mistake in their log.
    The story ends abruptly- like he’s leaving something out. I’d be surprised if DirecTV doesn’t resolve this amicably- unless this guy just wants to be a PIA– which is always possible.

  6. LuvJones says:

    At&T tried to do the same thing to me. I bought a dish, but not from them. For some reason the chick who had the phone number prior to it being assigned to me didn’t return hers, so they just billed it to my number. They kept saying “ma’am you have a dish don’t you?” I would literally GROWL at them and tell them I bought MY dish through another company you silly dingleberry! It took me about 5mths to get it all sorted out. Come to find the company had already sent the account(hers not mine)to a collection company. So actually they were trying to get paid twice! Grimey Jerks!

  7. Beelzebub says:

    On the surface, this sounds like he bought an unreturned Tivo, but I think LuvJones might have it right — the person who had his phone # or previously lived at his address probably did not return it, or someone messed up the serial #.

    Would love to hear more about this.

  8. dragonpup says:

    I am going to agree with others. It sounds like the seller didn’t return his DirecTV-owned equipment and sold it to you.

    And as a fyi, if you ever see a Comcast box on eBay, there’s a very high likelihood that it really belongs to Comcast. :p

  9. thrillhouse says:

    Been there, Tobin.

    Don’t take their shit.
    -call the normal customer care line
    -Speak clearly and firmly
    -explain the mistakes they’ve made and the evidence that you have to prove it (if needed)
    -If they won’t jive then hang up and try again

    they’ll fold like a house of cards.

  10. formergr says:

    Wait, does DirecTv do things differently now? Back about three years ago when I got my DirecTivo unit, I *bought* it directly from them (for $99 IIRC), and paid (and am still paying) the $5ish monthly fee for the Tivo service. So how can the unit in the OP be “unreturned”? Unless they’ve changed how they do things (entirely possible since it’s been a few years), you *own* your DirecTivo unit and don’t have to return it to them ever.

  11. M3wThr33 says:

    My family is in the opposite situation. When my brother was getting my parents up to speed with new DVRs, there was a bit of a snafu.
    I guess the contract company hired to rewire some things and replace the recievers didn’t bring enough DVRs. So they placed an order for it.
    In this case “they” refers to both DirecTV AND the contractors. And I think the order was placed twice.

    Anyways, they ended up with 2 or 3 extra DirecTV DVRs. My brother called to have them returned but they didn’t show up on our account, just the fulfilled one, so we kept them. They’ve been sitting under a chair since November, waiting until they call for them, or my brother decides to sell them.

  12. homerjay says:

    Hey, Whats the significance of that headline? I’ve seen them written in that strange style a lot but never made a connection to anything.

  13. M3wThr33 says:

    Poorly translated Gensis shmup called “Zero Wing.”
    Inspired many a photoshop image and a remixed song. Now that you have the game name, I’m sure that and “All Your Base Are Belong To Us” can get you any more info you need.
    Encyclopedia Dramatica has more to say.

  14. Scott in DC says:

    @formergr: Directv has changed their policies. They no longer sell equipment, they “lease” it to you. If you bought stuff pre-lease time, then you don’t pay the lease fee.

    it only gets tricky if you add equipment that was purchased pre-lease to an account now. You have to get them to realize that it’s old equipment – once you do you’re fine.

  15. dethl says:

    Regular CSRs cannot change the ownership from leased to owned. You might have to be forceful and ask for a transfer to the Smart Card Distribution Team (as stated in DORIS if I remember correctly).

  16. wee_willie says:

    **formergr – I don’t know about the TiVo, but when my mom had DirecTV installed a few months ago, the installer told us they no longer sell the regular receivers – all must be rented, and DirecTV owns them forever. DirecTV’s really going to hell. A month ago I called DirecTV to arrange for service at my new home. They charged me $79 before they would even set up the appointment. When the installer came he couldn’t put the dish on my roof because my trees would block the signal, but he did offer to put it on a pole which would cost me $75 (the pole, that is). I’m thinking, “no way”, when he shocked me further by stating I would have to bury the cable myself. We’re talking dead of winter, rock-hard ground, and I’m supposed to bury the damned cable which is thirty feet from my house. They did all of this for free a few years ago!

  17. Mcmattyo says:

    I used to work for DirecTV, it sounds like you used someone elses access card, your supposed to get a new one whenever you add a 2nd hand receiver that has been used to your account. Just call DirecTV and ask to speak to the access card department and they can look up that other persons account by the access card number. Also don’t forget to tell them you got it on EBAY they will understand.