About six months ago I moved into my apartment in Chicago to learn that the only service available was with DirecTV. Not only that, but we were forced to use MDU communications, a DirecTV reseller. With no options for television, I reluctantly purchased my own HD receiver off eBay (The HR-20) to avoid entering into a contract with them for two years. When I received my unit, I called MDU to sign up and the CSR at MDU told me that since I had my own receiver, I could sign directly up with DirecTV. Awesome I thought, I can cut out the middle man. The CSR at MDU even transferred me to DirecTV account set up line himself.
This being The Consumerist, so you know now is just about the point where the story takes a turn for the worse…
I went through the process of trying to get a signal, but was having issues so they dispatched a tech two days later, which required me to use one of my vacation days. The tech showed up and notified me that I would have to sign up through MDU because I needed some special equipment which they did not provide. Great, I’m getting MDU and DTV to point fingers at each other. At this point, I’m signed up for service yet still don’t have any TV. The next day I called MDU to get service set up and a tech dispatched FOUR DAYS later (burning another vacation day). The tech shows up and informs me that I needed some sort of signal splitter, he sets me up and I have service within the hour. This is not where the troubles stop…
Because MDU told me to sign up with DirecTV, I now have an account open with DirecTV and an account with MDU. I didn’t find this out until the first billing cycle. On top of that, I am charged for installation since technically I didn’t initially sign up with MDU first. So now I have MDU Access Fee + DirecTV + Setup fee’s. I spent the better part of nearly two weeks discussing, fighting, eventually yelling, to screaming at these people that their install process was why all of this happened in the first place. They agree to waive the setup fee.
A few days later, I go to check to make sure with DirecTV that I am not in a 2 year contract with them since I bought my own receiver. Low and behold, I’m apparently locked in for two years. I call customer service and they say no problem, fax us in your receipt and we’ll take it off. I fax in my information, the Paypal receipt, along with all the eBay printouts/documentation and am told that since I “got such a cheap price on the unit, they cannot waive the contract”. Wait what? I buy my own receiver from someone completely unaffiliated with DirecTV and you still wont waive my contract? Arent the 2 year contracts used to offer a “rebate” for buying a receiver from DTV?
I also opted in for the HD service, since I am a big Cubs fan and wanted to watch them in HD. It turns out however, that DTV cant get a WGN-HD (the main Cubs channel) signal in this building. I call tech support, they schedule another tech to come out, I burn another vacation day to learn they cant do anything about it. Fine, by this point I’m sick of them all and I can deal with one channel not being in HD even though its the main channel I got HD service for. I’m sick of the headaches.
The final straw came today.
Last night I tried to watch TNT-HD only to see it cut in and out constantly with no audio and that famous grainy “bad signal” picture you get. It was storming pretty hard down here so I didn’t think anything of it, figured it was due to that. But today I turn it on and get a message stating that the “channel is not purchased”. I’ve had this problem before (go figure) where the permissions on your receiver go a little crazy. All you have to do is call DTV and have them “re authorize” your unit and you’re fixed in a few minutes. Today was a different story. I call tech support to complain and they know it’s an issue. The reason?
Apparently on weekends, DirecTV has capacity problems with their system due to all of the “NFL Network” games so they’ve been having to cut service (channels) to everyone. Thats right, they’re DE-AUTHORIZING people’s access to certain channels so they have enough room on their system to provide everyone with their precious NFL Network.
Shame on you, DirecTV for advertising all your new, snazzy HD channels and then having to take them away from people because you dont have enough resources. What did they give me? Oh a free month of Showtime. Whoopty doo, Showtime sucks.
I cant even get the new HD channels they launched (and I pay for) because MDU wont upgrade the satellite on our roof.
….and I cant even switch to Comcast…….
A head-shaking tale of incompetence, poor customer service, and inadequate service. Can they really be called “service” companies if they don’t provide any? That thing about getting locked into a 2 year contract because “you didn’t pay enough” for your receiver on eBay makes no sense. You’re right, the 2-year contract is supposed to recoup the costs of them providing you with a discounted receiver. The NFL issue sounds like it won’t be fixed anytime soon, but we would escalate that contract issue. Escalate escalate escalate. Supervisor supervisor supervisor executive customer service. In fact, it sounds so wrong, it might just be wrong enough to direct your Attorney General’s office attention towards it.