DirecTV Customer Service Is So Bad It Drove Me To Comcast

Jesse says DirecTV’s customer retention reps went with the hard sell to make sure the company didn’t lose a customer to cable TV. As a parting shot, a rep disregarded Jesse’s complaint that the company called too often and ended the conversation with an insult.

Jesse writes:

I was a DirecTV customer with a premium HD package for two years. I recently decided to cancel my service due to DirecTV’s inability or unwillingness to remove the HD portion of my package and exchange my HD DVR for a normal, no frills receiver.

In the two months since I’ve canceled I’ve received three different calls from your “win-back” department. The first two times I politely explained why I’d left DirecTV and asked not to be contacted again as I am now a Comcast customer (and in a contract as are DirecTV customers). The third call from this team came this morning and was quite unpleasant. I was short with the gentlemen on the phone since this is now the third time I’ve been called after requesting no further contact. I told him that his records ought to show that I’ve asked to receive to further calls and he responded it was “not his job to keep records”. I was about to ask for a supervisor when he said, “you can’t afford it anyway,” and then hangs up on me! Not only can I afford it, I bought premium content such as NFL Sunday Ticket for two seasons. That is absolutely unacceptable to have someone working the phones of the team that is trying to win customers back, who is going to speak to a customer in such a way.

As a result, Comcast now has a customer for life (congrats Comcast since I buy premium content, high-speed internet and in the future, likely phone service as well).

DirecTV will never have my family’s business again and via Facebook, Twitter and obviously email, I plan to tell everyone I know about this horrid experience with a company that evidently wants my business so bad.

Unless Jesse is a Comcast plant, this story almost makes me want to sign up for DirecTV just to ditch it for cable and see if I can get an indignant retention rep to talk smack about my mom.

Comments

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  1. abberz3589 says:

    All of these companies suck.

    • Sammich says:

      Bingo.

      Swear off a telecom company for life due to a rude CSR (and admittedly, this one sounded more than just a little rude), and you’ll soon find yourself without any companies you’re willing to do business with.

      • Beeker26 says:

        This. Every company has its share of bad reps. Jesse sounds like he needs to settle down and have a beer. There are bigger fish to fry in the world.

    • Peggee is deeply offended by impetulant, pernicious little snots disrespecting her and violating her personal space at Best Buy. says:

      Seriously. I get so tired of people praising a certain company to the skies when that company (in this case, Comcast) did nothing except sit there while ANOTHER company offended the customer in some way. I had to hear about it at my last job ad nauseum from people who had never tried to resolve a problem with us, and who had no idea/didn’t care how badly workers were treated. We had an item in stock when Other Company didn’t, so we are awesome and just won a loyal customer for life!!!1!

      Double points to the ones who called in to give an official compliment to Representative X simply because their package arrived more quickly than expected.

  2. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    From the dragon’s lair right into the lion’s den.

  3. c!tizen says:

    playing a little D/A: “That is absolutely unacceptable to have someone working the phones of the team that is trying to win customers back, who is going to speak to a customer in such a way.”

    Technically you’re not a customer, but that still doesn’t excuse the comment.

    Back to non D/A: I’ve received really great customer support from Directv, but then again I haven’t tried to downgrade anything yet.

    • Alvis says:

      Still a customer, just not DirecTV’s :)

    • reynwrap582 says:

      I downgraded my plan without any issues, but I wasn’t dropping from HD to SD, so that’s another kettle o fish. Switching plans on the website has worked very well.

  4. Eyeheartpie says:

    How funny. I went the other way.

  5. BenChatt says:

    I love how indignant the OP was in defending his ability to pay for premium content. It smacked of the playground.

  6. Skellbasher says:

    “Comcast now has a customer for life.”

    You’ll probably change your tune in a couple years.

    • Sword_Chucks says:

      Took me less than 9 months

    • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

      Really, years…I was going to say 4 to 6 months at the most. Once the OP feels how crappy Comcast is…we will see them posting complaints about it here again. Big deal, they called 3 times and made a sarcastic remark….think someone needs a bit thicker skin.

  7. redwing41 says:

    Got news for you, rich Jesse: cable companies are no better.

  8. nybiker says:

    I’m guessing the OP didn’t get Michael White (the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer) during a Undercover Boss segment. And since he said the CSR is a male, he didn’t get the rep that helped Mr. White during his gig.
    Also, I’m guessing he meant ‘no further’ in this phrase “I’ve asked to receive to further calls” instead of ‘to further’.
    After I canceled Directv, all I’ve gotten from them are snail mail envelopes, no phone calls. And at this point, I am not even sure I’ll go back (to them or any sat or cable co) even when I am employed again. I’ll probably just get an HD antenna installed on my roof for signals.

  9. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Yeah, I bet that customer service rep goes home at night and tells his kids to eat their vegetables because “there are some people who can’t even afford premium content.”

  10. areaman says:

    Sometimes one can say it’s lucky to step in cat poop because they did so in avoiding stepping on dog poop.

  11. IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

    I got similar calls from DirecTV when I cancelled as well. It’s funny how these companies expect a month free or 6 months free of Showtime will make up for cancelling a new contract.
    I would rather put a campfire out with my face than move to Comcast though. Comcast

    • Mom says:

      I got the same calls when I quit DirecTV, but none of them were snarky or snide. I would rather they didn’t call me, but I understand that they’re trying to get my business back. One of the truisms in the business world is that if you can get a customer who has left to come back, you’ve probably got them for life. So a customer who’s just left is more valuable than a completely new customer.

      In my case, DirecTV was better than cable, but when I switched to HD, there was no place to put the dish where it could see all of the satellites, so I was SOL.

  12. katarzyna says:

    Good luck with that….

  13. rpm773 says:

    As a result, Comcast now has a customer for life

    Well, now, give them the same fair chance you gave DirecTV.

  14. Opdelt says:

    I currently have DirecTV, of whom milks me of around $100 a month. The service isn’t all that great for how much it costs. Most of the movie channels seem to have a subtle 1/2 second voice delay, which is maddening at times. Some of the HD channels look plain awful (FX HD looks like 480p). My HD DVR is laggy as hell at times (push a button and it does something 5 seconds later). The on-demand movies are overpriced ($4.99 for Old School?!). Sadly, I am stuck with them until my contract is up July 2011, at which time I will be switching to a competitior (sure as hell wont be comcast).

    • senior chick says:

      I have Direct Tv, don’t have their HD satellite yet. I am waiting for their TIVO to be released. I heard that their DVR isn’t very good. Maybe that is part of your problem.

  15. Macgyver says:

    “The third call from this team came this morning and was quite unpleasant. I was short with the gentlemen”
    Well if you’re gonna act like a dick, they gonna act like a dick to you also.
    Just move on, he’s making a big deal out of nothing.

  16. DashTheHand says:

    A Comcast customer for life….until they do equally stupid things.

  17. CrankyOwl says:

    I hate DirecTV with the fury of 1,000 suns. I believe I may have mentioned that 5 or 6 times already. I deal with the business accounts part of DirecTV, which one would think would have better customer service. But nooooo. Comcast is so much better — at least in the Portland area. Right now I’m trying to explain to DirecTV CSR’s that they applied one of our checks to one account instead of to the 2 accounts it was supposed to go to. No luck so far. I asked if I could talk to someone in Accounts Receivable & they were dumbfounded.

  18. DaveWW says:

    I’ve been pretty happy with DirecTV’s support/reps (not sales, but CSR and Tech Support) for several years. Though yes, the new DVRs are a bit laggy.

    • markrubi says:

      The new HR24 dvr’s are not laggy. I have one along with 2 of the older HR20 models. All the other one’s are slower especially the older they get. I have one dvr that is 6 yrs old. It is so much slower than the other one I have just like it. It is about 3 yrs newer.

  19. IphtashuFitz says:

    If I was this guy then any time I get a call from DirectTV in the future my conversation would go something like this:

    Them: Hi, this is Joe Schmoozer from DirectTV
    Me: Stop calling me.

  20. Bativac says:

    “I was about to ask for a supervisor when he said, “you can’t afford it anyway,” and then hangs up on me!”

    Call center employee here: that guy was either amusing his coworkers, who chuckled at his antics, or has the usual “holier than thou” attitude of lousy call center reps.

    With these companies, it really is the luck of the draw regarding how well the call will go. Get a decent rep, have a good experience. Get a complete ass, have a terrible experience.

    The outbound callers are notorious for being pushy jerks – that’s part of their job, to push you into buying.

  21. kathygnome says:

    And here I left because DirecTV has the sorry position of being behind Comcast in the number of basic HD channels they offer. They can call me back when they get basics like AMC.

  22. Deezul_AwT says:

    I’ve had Comcast, and before that Adelphia, cable modem service since 2003. No problems. When there’s been an outage (maybe 5 in 7 years) I’ll call the customer service line and usually and automated system will give me a report based on my phone number. I switched my phone service to Comcast after I saw I could get more features for about $10 less compared to Verizon. I still have a need for a land line, so I won’t be ditching it for cell only service any time soon.

    • Limewater says:

      Comcast is fine if you’re lucky enough to have NOTHING go wrong. The second there’s any sort of technical or billing problem or anything out of the ordinary happens, they start to really suck in a hurry. And the phone reps have no problem lying to you. I’ve had far more Comcast call center reps lie to me than not do so.

      • Battlehork says:

        My replacement cablebox was going to be authorized in “24-48 hours” for about two weeks before I just canceled the TV portion altogether.

        • Limewater says:

          I won’t tell you how many separate times I’ve been screwed over by Comcast because, frankly, it’s embarrassing that I gave them that many opportunities.

  23. i_t_man says:

    I love these letters..”This company screwed me so I’m leaving and going over to the company that never screws anyone!”

  24. njack says:

    Comcast customer for life? ROFLMAO.

    OP will be writing in again at some point with a tale of how Comcast screwed them.

  25. BlkSwanPres says:

    Try Dish, I personally have never had any problems from them.

  26. TooManyHobbies says:

    It’s pretty rich for someone working cold calls for DirecTV to say that someone else can’t afford something. Pot, meet kettle.

  27. markrubi says:

    First Directv does not charge the $10 per month HD access fee anymore. So asking for a non-hd set top box is pointless. Why not have the HD box being no difference in price? Swapping to a non-dvr will save about $7 a month. As for premium HD I am not sure what the OP means unless they had to top tier package Directv offers. Down grading to any other package can be done online or phone. Correct me if I am wrong but didn’t Comcast win worst company in America here on Consumerist at some point? Good luck to the OP with Comcast.

  28. Gulliver says:

    “I am now a Comcast customer (and in a contract as are DirecTV customers)”

    really? I am glad you can speak for DirectV and its OTHER customers. I am in no contract, and never have been with either Comcast OR DirectV.

  29. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Wow. That was one rude CSR. I have DTV and every time I’ve called, I’ve gotten absolutely stellar phone reps. The last one was incredibly nice and helped me find a downgrade that would allow me to keep my service and pay less.

    Of course, I haven’t gotten the cold call or “win back” people, so there may be a huge difference in the quality of CSR recruited for that job.

  30. vizsladog says:

    Me thinks the OP has brought this on himself. I have been a DTV customer for over a decade and on the very rare (3 or 4 in 10 years) occasions when I have needed a CS rep I have found thatthem to be knowledgable and friendly. I think DTV provides excellent visual quality.

    If the OP was “short with the gentleman” it sounds like he was being a jerk to someone who was just doing his job. By the way, was his caller ID not working? Why did he answer the phone to begin with?

    • Peggee is deeply offended by impetulant, pernicious little snots disrespecting her and violating her personal space at Best Buy. says:

      “Why did he answer the phone to begin with?”

      Why doesn’t he just get rid of the phone altogether so the company doesn’t have to take no for an answer?

  31. Populamus says:

    You are going to love Comcast… they never call back!

  32. doobiewondersmoke says:

    I switched from Comcast to DirecTV about 7 months ago. So far I really enjoy it and like it far more than Comcast. My only complaint is that the DVR box talks too much to the server when connected to the web (I just leave the NIC unplugged and do without on-demand services) and completely kills my internet connection. My other complaint would be the reps that I get in India. They’ve always been really nice, but I can’t understand them half the time and it’s difficult to communicate. I don’t begrudge them though. They’re just trying to make a buck like the rest of us. I place blame squarely on DirecTV for the outsourcing.

  33. KyBash says:

    Three calls and he goes ballistic? If you’re short-tempered, they know there’s no chance of making the sale, so why shouldn’t they get snarky right back?

    There’s a cute little thing we had in the 20th Century called “Caller ID” so we didn’t have to answer if it was someone we didn’t want to talk to. Maybe he can get a retro phone service that has that option.

    For me, DirecTV is a two-faced beast — the channel line-up, signal quality, and other tech specs are far better and cost far less than any other available service, but the few times there was a problem, CSRs were absolutely no help.

  34. NotEd says:

    Well it could be worse. from personal experience when the OP downgraded from the HD-DVR to a standard receiver they would probably automatically enroll them in a new contract, so an ETF would be in their future.

    My household upgraded from an HD STB with a DVR I owned to a HDDVR from DTV early this year, ’cause they updated the box and cripple the ability of my old school ReplayTV DVR to change channels. When the installer rewired my home to allow the HDDVR in that room we also had our service from my home office relocated to another room in my house.
    When they did that the tech put the defective box in my home office, ensuring the ReplayTV still wouldn’t work. After hours on the phone with Tech Support I was able to get them to swap the bad box out for me for one that at least worked, even if it still had to be reset every few weeks to retain communication.
    Fast forward 10 months and we call to cancel our service to save money. A week after I returned all the boxes we get a bill for an ETF based on a contract that appears to have started after the bad box was swapped out.
    When I called to complain the series of CSRs told me that “a new contract is automatically started when a new HD receiver is activated on an account”. Apparently we were told this on the phone when the upgrade to the HDDVR was made. Unfortunately all arrangements were made via the net so we have proof that no information about starting a new contract was ever there.
    Didn’t keep them from automatically deducting funds from our account though, even though direct access to our checking account was removed from out user account prior to cancellation.
    Anyway, never going back to DirecTV. Ever.

  35. Clogtowner says:

    Neither Direct nor Dish could pay me to take their “service”. Until they introduce a menu of choices I am not interested.

  36. HoJu says:

    I had just the opposite experience just minutes ago. I called DirecTV support because I was having a problem with my DVR going black. The CSR was very sweet and nice and after the troubleshooting she said “I think we’re going to have to set you up with a service call. We normally charge $50 to come out but since you’ve been a customer for so long I can wave that fee for you.”

    I didn’t even ask. She offered.

    Can’t beat that.

  37. CBenji says:

    Two times, at two different homes I tried to sign up for Direct TV. I had heard they were having a good deal, and all my friends had them so I thought I would get them. I called them and the people who came to install it could not do it. The installer was late by over an hour in both instances even it was a different installer on both times.

    The second time was on a Friday at 4:00 PM even though the guy was supposed to be there at 2:00, and he had excuse after excuse as to why he couldn’t install the damn thing. I had just closed on my house that morning. I hauled my plasma, 3 LCD’s, and all the stuff that needed to be in the house up and was ready and waiting for him for over two hours. One side of my basement is above ground, and he kept going on about how really my house was like a 3 story instead of a two story. Of course then we didn’t have a good spot to install it, and blah, blah, blah.

    I went with Dish Network, but later found Comcast to be way cheaper. Just the other day at the warehouse club there was Direct tv trying to get me, and I just laughed. When I had Dish Network & Verizon together my bill was almost 1/3 higher, and the first Direct guy didn’t show up 2x. No thanks.

  38. AngryK9 says:

    My mother passed away in 2007. And despite telling DirecTV that MANY TIMES, they STILL send junk mail in her name trying to get her to come back to them. They stopped calling here every day at least, ever since I threatened them with legal action…

    • Peggee is deeply offended by impetulant, pernicious little snots disrespecting her and violating her personal space at Best Buy. says:

      According to many of the comments, it’s your own damn fault for answering the phone. Or for having a phone at all.

  39. RogueWarrior65 says:

    This is what happens when you only have two choices for TV who are most likely colluding with each other on prices. My DirecTV bill keeps going up but I don’t get any new channels for it. And at last count there were something like 36 home shopping channels. Thirty-friggin’-six!!! You would think they’d find some way to pay for normal content off the friggin’ shopping channels.

  40. b612markt says:

    i enjoy utorrent

  41. laffmakr says:

    And why does Jesse keep answering the phone when they call?

    If you have caller ID and it’s a number you don’t recognize, voice mail it. If it’s the number you recognize as DirecTV, voice mail it.

  42. swindy4 says:

    As a sales support agent, you never know who’s lying to you: the people within your company trying to make the sale or the customers trying to get as much for free as possible.
    I end up having to apologize to almost every person I speak with about how they were treated, the information they were given or how I can’t give what they want for free.
    What I bring to the table is that I’m much older than most agents, can speak english clearly, have a college education and as a 10 year customer of Dish Network I understand how the system works. It doesn’t help much because I don’t know if the retail customers are as stupid as they seem or if it’s an act to get what they want. Either way, it’s a lose-lose situation for all parties involved.

  43. BillyDeeCT says:

    I inquired THREE TIMES about why DirecTV’s Free HD for Life wasn’t offered to existing subscribers. After getting several run-arounds like being offered a $10/month credit to offset the HD charge for 12 months (first offer) to 20 months (second offer) I thought if being a long time customer meant they wouldn’t give me the Free HD for Life that they deserved to lose my business totally. I put up a brand new over-the-air TV antenna and switched to another provider that saves me $70/month. I told the rep when I cancelled that unless they could offer me free lifetime HD like they do for new subscribers they could cancel my account and it would be a cold day in hell before I sign up for them. Well, it’s been a few months and I couldn’t be happier! DirecTV can go suck an egg for all I care. Oh, and I got one ridiculous “we want you back” offer – sorry, not good enough!

    All in all most if not all these companies stick on ice, but DirecTV has a Better Business Bureau rating of “F” while Dish Network and (hold on to your hat for this), Comcast even have a “C” rating from the BBB. There has to be a reason why DirecTV gets a failing grade and I know from what I experienced it’s easy to figure out!

  44. Mudilo says:

    I found DirectTV regular service to be epically bad. I used to live with my dad, and he had DirectTV, so when I moved out, I called to cancel anything outside of the basic cable. It was the weirdest thing ever- 3 out of 4 reps I talked to were just not paying attention and answering questions based on a bit of info they heard me say, rather than listen. I had to beg them to disregard, to prevent them from messing anything up with the account.

  45. T-Man says:

    DirecTV’s business model is so immoral it should be criminal. I took the bait with a Verizon/DTV combo package that was going to cost me $75/month for 2 years which included 2nd tier channel package, DVR, and 3 Mbps DSL. Nothing big, just the basics. I first learn of the $480 DTV early termination fee after the 3 hour dish install is complete and I am all setup. $480? For what? This should have been my first hint that this was going to be a sh*tty experience. After the first bill comes for $145 I find out that my $75 (pre-tax obviously) bill will not come until my rebate was processed. Rebate? Oh yeah, that was on me to request and submit. So I submit my rebate online and they say it takes up to 8 weeks for it to take affect. 2 months? For what? So I suffer through 2 more ridiculous bills then due to work I am forced to move. I decide to keep DTV and Verizon at my new place to avoid the hassle and early termination fees. The move is a hassle to say the least: $50 moving fee (advertised as “free”, but turns out only applies to preferred customers of 2+ years) plus $90 cash on the spot for the installer at the new place to install a dish (this was very shady and unexpected). So, I expect my next bill to be $75…nope…turns out my Verizon and DTV service were de-bundled and I was now paying full price for each! On top of that their was an unapproved STARZ+Showtime charge! Verizon and DTV never communicated with each other and at each stage along the way I had to sit through 2 agonizing customer service calls to get action on an issue. I decided to bite the early termination bullet because of my intense dissatisfaction dealing with these criminals. DTV early fee = $360, Verizon early fee = $150 (never disclosed to me prior to signing). I had 5 months of DTV/Verizon service and am stuck with $510 in early termination fees. How is any of this legal? I gave it to the account cancellation reps, but what else can I do? Is legislative action needed to reign in the shady practices of these utilities in much the way credit card companies are being made to simplify their credit card terms? This was one of the worst consumer experiences of my life.

  46. nosvcnosale says:

    DTV’s voice prompt system is absolutely the worst. What they are really saying is their time is much more valuable than mine, so try to navigate the most impossible and worst voice recognition system we could buy.
    Then when you get a CSR on the phone, they act like they are totally helpless.

  47. senior chick says:

    Good luck with Comcast. We had them years ago (under a different name) and every time we had a storm with winds It went out.

    I would contact the CEO Michael White–write him a letter telling him of your experience and see what happens.

    By the way, we have had Direct TV for about 12 years and have always had excellent service, but if I had cancelled and got a rep that said that, I think I would have behaved as you did, but I bet you will not be happy with Comcast either. They have a long way to go for good customer service.

  48. Michelle says:

    Direct TV is hideous!! I requested my service to be canceled 6 months ago, only to discover this morning that my service was suspended, not canceled. I had incurred an erroneous debit from bank account frm Direct TV and when I called, was advised of their mistake. However I was told that my credit would not be issued for 6-8 weeks. After waiting on hold for over 20 minutes a supervisor who identified herself only as “Princess”, no last name and no extension, reiterated that her CEO Mike White of Undercover Boss Fame would expect her to adhere to policy and i woud not be getting a credit any sooner than the 8 week time frame. She was rude and condescending! I can’t beleive their commercials boast of their award winning customer service!

  49. ken says:

    I have 1 year & 2 mos. left on my contract & will be glad when it’s over! Since I became a customer-I’ve had a lot of problems with receivers & each time customer serv. keeps me on my cell phone for what seems to be an eternity while they have me going through multiple steps to fix the problem & once was even told to go buy a set of cords & call them back once I had the cords. I pay extra each month so if something goes wrong the company will fix it! , but they don’t pay me for my time or my cell phone minutes. Also I’ve asked them several times not to call at certian hours because of my work schedule & each time they ignore my request & tell me that’s because it’s when they are available (in other words it’s what works for them instead of the paying customer) I guess my business just doesn’t mean anything to them. As a note to future subscribers RUN don’t walk RUN to another company,

    sincerly, UNSATISFIED

    • ken says:

      this is Ken again, I got so caught up in my statement that i neglected to say that the company I am with rite now is DIRECTV . sincerly UNSATISFIED!!!!!