DirecTV Expect Interest-Free Loans For Overbilling

Man, is the DirecTV billing department staffed by rat-faced bastards or what?

Arun writes us that he found DirecTV was overcharging him $100 a month. His building offers a package that gives him basic cable with DirecTV for free for a year, and he was just supposed to pay $9.99 a month for HD channels.

After he finally got DirecTV to agree to a refund, they wanted to do it piece by piece, over a 12 month period.

“DirecTV must think that customers want to give them interest free loans,” writes Arun.

Incompetence or malice? It’s so hard to decide. — BEN POPKEN

(Photo: SpooSpa)

Comments

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  1. capnfive says:

    He should charge DirecTV a late fee every month they don’t pay him.

    Maybe send them little MS Word invoice or something…

  2. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Yeah, charge them like a credit card would. Assuming 1/12 of the balance is the minimum monthly payment, then charge them interest on everything they haven’t paid off.

  3. orlong says:

    If the guy was an idiot enough to pay for 12 months of service and not question it before then he deserves what he got. Im so tired of hearing people complain about companies when their problem is one they themselves caused by not following rules or policies or just being stupid. Now if he disputed it on the first bill he got then he has a right to complain.

  4. mac-phisto says:

    @orlong: or maybe the guy signed up for autopay. i swear that’s the worst thing anybody could ever do.

    i’d let them pay it piece mail, but then i’ll take free service over their payback period in return.

  5. bnuk013 says:

    This reminds me of what our gas company does. Every other month Columbia Gas does an estimated reading. If it is off then the next month it is corrected by the actual reading. Only thing is that the estimated reading isn’t really based off historical data it is always at least 50% higher than what I actually use. The next month the bill is lower and I get me money back, but still, every other month they are borrowing anywhere from $20 to $75 from me interest-free. multiply that by their 1000s of customers and they hardly even need to earn a profit on the gas anymore…

  6. arun21 says:

    I did not prepay for 12 months. The building that I live in pays for it. I am supposed to just pay 9.99/mo. Instead, they were billing ME the entire amount plus some.

  7. mac-phisto says:

    @bnuk013: you can request that they take an actual read every time (at least in connecticut). contact your public utility dept. to find out what the rules are in your state.

  8. kennethn says:

    The same thing happened to me. DTV billed me $640 for an HD receiver that I never ordered and never received. Since I had set up my account to automatically bill my credit card (big mistake) I had to fight tooth and nail for a refund. Finally, they agreed to refund my money. Imagine my surprise when I got my next month’s bill to discover that I had a “credit” of $640 on my account against which they had processed that month’s bill. Total BS, a refund isn’t an interest free loan against next year’s service charges.

    Many more hours of phone calls and help from my credit card company and it’s resolved, but not without a lot of pain and heartache.

  9. thrillhouse says:

    I still don’t understand how you pay $100 extra per month on a DirecTV bill. I’d be telling them to shut the sit off if I were supposed to pay $10 and they were billing $100+.

    Not sure that I get this, but I’m not sure that I’m seeing the whole picture here.

  10. honestdc says:

    We just switched from Directv to Comcast and am so glad we did! Directv came over to install the dish and wanted to drill a hole directly through the front of our house up to our bedroom. I had to call my husband and tell him to come home FROM WORK to tell this guy where to put the dish. We keep getting statements from them saying that THEY OWE US $10.80… I can’t seem to get them to send a check. Oh, and the dish fills up with snow and stops working until you dust it off… not fun. Especially when you cant reach it. Not a fun service…. at all.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Directv is by far, the worst company I have ever deal with. I have been trying to get a credit refund for 3 months. There repair service was not up to par, and the reception was terrible. The installer ran the cable from the dish thru my rain gutter down spout, gesh. I am so lucky that we have timewarner cable tv in my location. Talking to their phone reps. is like dealing with a d.a…I will call the bbb, and the proper state agency. If I am ever out of cable tv range, I will try dish network, they could not be worst.

  12. directvsucks says:

    I work at Directv and this is what we are encouraged to do – offer a monthly billing credit as opposed to giving a refund. Nobody ever gets refunds even when Directv is at fault (which is most of the time). If you ever do manage to score a refund, be prepared for it to only get applied to your bill – never, ever will you get a refund to your credit card or a check in the mail.

  13. rhanzelka says:

    We (wife and myself) entered a two year contract (that we understood at
    the time to be a one year contract)with Direct TV in late 2007. Big mistake!
    I have had problems with the service from the beginning. It started with
    shoddy installation that prohibited me from locking my home and protecting
    my family and valuables from break in. We are plagued with downtime due to
    faulty equipment that won’t even last through the contract period. When we
    request service on their defective equipment, they tell us they are going to
    charge us to fix their equipment. I had cablevision for 30 years prior to
    getting screwed by Direct TV. This is the worst service coupled with the
    worst product I have ever been stuck with in my entire life. The worst thing
    that ever happened with cablevision was being down for 2-3 hours once every
    year or two because of a down line. When I call Direct TV for service, they
    tell me it will be a week to ten days before they can get to me. So I am
    without television for that long but am still charged for it. I am also
    expected to take four to eight hours out of my work day every time Direct TV
    comes to my home. The last time I was told service would be performed
    between eight o’clock in the morning and noon. The technician did not even
    arrive onsite until 12:10 p.m. Service was not performed until after the
    agreed upon time that it would be completed. That was just two week ago. Now
    the service is broken again and we are told it will be another week before
    they can come to fix it. How long will the FCC go on allowing Direct TV to
    cheat and take advantage of customers? I would love to have the opportunity
    to do a commercial for cable television. After being subjected to customer
    service as poor as Direct TV, I know what the worst is. And to top it all
    off, when my wife negotiated this contract with Direct TV she was told that
    it was a one year agreement. Two weeks ago when we had trouble the last
    time, we were informed that it was a two year and not a one year contract
    that we originally agreed to. I suppose we can throw a little deceptive
    trade
    in for good measure… huh? This is the worst experience I have ever had
    with any vendor in my 50 years and I will make sure I tell everybody that
    has ears to hear.

  14. rhanzelka says:

    They have sent 3 technicians out here to repair and it still doesn’t work.I
    have currently notified FCC, BBB, and Attorney General for the state of
    Texas. I will continue to complain to everybody that has ears until the
    issues with your service are resolved one way or the other. Also the last
    technician that came to my house treated our property like a trash dump.
    There are connectors in the yard under the switch box on side of house that
    he cut off (great shrapnel for lawn mower to kill or harm children and
    unsuspecting passers by) and trash on floor from stripping wire etc behind
    living room TV. We have been promised a visit from a supervisor for over a
    week now to settle the issues that have gone on since the poor installation
    in November of ’07.

  15. thatsme7039 says:

    Being a Directv agent myself i’ve got to say the comment above is completely false. if that particular person still works for dtv it probably won’t be for much longer because obviously they don’t check into policy. I would have to agree with some of the comments above. when i take calls from people with similar scenerios i’m lost in words why someone would continue to pay that much extra money for so long before saying anything and then expect dtv to issue a full refund. come on people, accept some responsibility. once you send in payment for the month you have agreed that the charges are correct. dtv does offer 60 days to dispute a charge, but if you are talking about 12 months dtv doesn’t owe you anything. a programing discount for 12 months is actually generous. again i would have to agree that we aren’t getting the whole story here.

  16. editing-for-free says:

    @thatsme7039…

    maybe you can tell us about how directv “encourages” the customer to voluntarily suspend their accounts on the cancellation call. directv has pretty much destroyed any good will i had built up as a satisfied, high revenue customer of many years…i moved and couldn’t take the service (or the center ice package that i paid $129 for) to my new location because the landlord doesn’t allow satellite dishes. after 15 minutes of blah blah about how that’s illegal, etc the customer service rep tells me that they will deactivate my account but keep it “in their system” so that if i ever want to reactivate it, i could BY CALLING DIRECTV.

    Needless to say, I didn’t…and now I am getting the runaround.

    Here’s my email to them and their clueless response:

    Customer (full name redacted by me) – 06/23/2008 06:25 AM
    I just got notice that my service was disconnected…however, i haven’t used the service in months!!! i called when i moved and explained that i wasn’t able to put a dish into my new location, and the CSR tried to get me to keep it active, but i insisted that i could not. i was then told about some legislation guaranteeing my right to have a dish…all i know is that i did NOT want to keep the account active, and i have notes from my conversation. if someone could call me ASAP so that i don’t have to get the BBB and the media involved, i would greatly appreciate it…i enjoyed directv and would still have it if i could, but i am not about to pay over $200 for service i have not used.thank you!! (me)

    Subject
    —————————————————————
    Haven’t used DirecTV in months after calling to cancel

    Discussion Thread
    —————————————————————
    Response (Kristine C. – 100124824) – 06/23/2008 07:21 AM
    Dear Mr. McCaffrey,

    Thanks for writing.

    I completely understand your frustration, and I would like to help resolve your issue without having to involve the Better Business Bureau. While our corporate office responds to any inquiries that the Better Business Bureau forwards to us, we encourage our customers to call or write us directly with their concerns.

    Based on our records, I found that the account was only suspended until 03/09/08. At that time, your DIRECTV programming restarted automatically and we begun billing your account for services. In addition, your programming commitment end date will be extended for the amount of time your account was suspended.

    We have reviewed the information you provided and we have found that your account reflects the correct amount due. DIRECTV is unable to honor your credit request.

    For your convenience you can access your account online at directv.com.

    On your monthly DIRECTV billing statement the payment due date is listed at the top beneath your account number. If we do not receive your payment in full by the due date appearing on your bill your account will be charged a late fee according to Section 2.c.4 of the DIRECTV Customer Agreement.

    At this time, the total amount due on your account is $208.67; of this total, $129.61 is past due. In order to prevent your account from being forwarded to collections, we must receive payment for the last billed amount within 6 days.

    To pay your account balance today using a credit card, debit card or electronic check (EFT) by signing in at directv.com, clicking on the “My Account” tab at the top of the screen, clicking on “One Time Payment” from the drop down menu.

    If you haven’t registered at directv.com, you can register today, or call 1-800-531-5000 and pay with one of our representatives for a $5.00 phone assistance fee. For a listing of other payment options that we offer, please visit our web site at directv.com/billing.

    Thanks again for writing and giving us an opportunity to respond to your concerns.

    Sincerely,

    Kristine C. – 100124824
    DIRECTV Customer Service

    ….now, never mind for the moment that i wasn’t under contract…or getting a mailed bill, as i got when i had the service. i guess i should have been logging onto their site to look at invoices for services i wasn’t subscribed to? oddly enough, none of the utilities is still billing me…i gave them a move date and they handled my issue without a problem…and the taking me to collections language? I need to stop typing and call the BBB, unless you can suggest someone who can resolve this