How Your Stupid Former Roommates Can Get Your Parents Blacklisted By DirecTV

It’s a common story: Young person leaves their apartment but the cable bill in her name somehow doesn’t get changed over to the roommates that remain. You won’t have much luck convincing the cable company of the error, but should your youthful screw-up impact your parents’ TV-viewing options?

The Wisconsin State Journal has the story of a couple whose daughter’s former roommates ran up a sizable DirecTV bill after she moved out of the apartment in 2004. As part of the daughter’s settlement with the satellite company, she agreed to never, ever get DirecTV again.

Unfortunately, when she’d originally signed up for the service, she had, like many young people, used her parents’ address as her permanent address. So in August, when the parents tried to sign up for a package deal with DirecTV and Frontier, they were denied.

“[W]e were refused installation because apparently our daughter used our address while involved in the dispute [seven years earlier],” the husband tells the State Journal. “My wife talked to several company people who said it is company policy and not going to change…. There must be lots of people who move and leave satellite bills all over. Why not list the person and not an address?”

After the State Journal contacted DirecTV about the situation, a company rep eventually decided that it would unlink the parents’ and daughter’s accounts because the balance on the old bill was less than $100 and it was older than two years.

SOS: Why did DirecTV blacklist them? [Madison.com]

Thanks to Jon for the tip!

Comments

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  1. mauispiderweb says:

    So far, I’ve been pretty good with almost nothing in my name and I’m gonna try to keep it that way. However, close your accounts lazy people, because this is the crap that happens when you don’t.

    • Ihmhi says:

      Maybe we should all start taking a cue from corporations and have LLCs or something to cover our asses on certain bills so stuff like this doesn’t happen.

      • MrEvil says:

        Get one of those Shell companies like Stephen Colbert got on his show from a lawyer that did it for certain political contributors.

  2. Cat says:

    Did her parents learn nothing after their daughter’s experience with them?

    (And it’s totally the daughter’s fault for not closing the account and mailing back the recievers)

    • howie_in_az says:

      I like how DirecTV’s policy will not change, not now, not EVER, it’s out of their hands…

      … until they are contacted by a journalist.

  3. Coffee says:

    So happy to not have stupid roommates anymore…splitting bills with irresponsible, habitual recreational drug users can only end badly.

  4. nuggetboy says:

    Wait, so a DirecTV bill that’s

  5. Cat says:

    “As part of the daughter’s settlement with the satellite company, she agreed to never, ever get DirecTV again.”

    So, she gets to save $70+ a month for the rest of her life? Good deal!

  6. yzerman says:

    Blacklist over a $100 by someone else? If directv doesn’t want customers why do they keep sending out these stupid mailers and doing commercials :P

  7. samjung23 says:

    DirecTV sounds like a lot of the moderators who run internet message boards. The worst ones IP ban you and never let you come back…even just for saying something they didn’t agree with. Petty and childish.

    • Lyn Torden says:

      The forum operator/owner gets to set the rules on his/her forum, petty or otherwise. But blocking by IP address is just incompetence. People change IP addresses, especially for home computers, all the time. In addition to unfairly blocking someone else, it also means the person intended to be block can still get in.

      • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

        Most ISPs use DHCP and reassign IP addresses to their subscribers on a pretty consistant basis. Let’s say douchebag1 gets IP banned. Niceuser1 gets assigned the IP address that douchebag1 used when (s)he pissed the moderator off. Niceuser1 is now told to go **** yourself. Yeah, that’s a great way of restricting access to douchebag1.

  8. Hi_Hello says:

    back in the day… I heard stories of people who would sign up for a service that has a promotional price offered to ‘new customer’ only. The household would just cancel and change the name to get the better deal.

    • finbar says:

      I had a roomate that did this back in the day, we bounced from dish to comcast to whatever the third option was. I think we made it at good 2 years on promotional rates.

  9. YOXIM says:

    Some day, her parents will realize what a huge favor she did them. DirecTV sucks.

    • Cat says:

      Agree.

      It doesn’t *completely* suck, but the price : value numbers just don’t add up.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        I just spent 45 minutes on the phone with Retention. Ended up with a better discount after a credit that was actually supposed to be a downgrade expired. And they waived my bill for this month. I’ve been a customer since 2006. There is no contract so when it goes up at the end of the period, I will probably cancel for real. Money is just getting too tight.

        I know they don’t personally care about me, but I sure made that retention guy work hard to keep me. I was upset at first but after a while it was kinda fun. :)

  10. blinky says:

    Clearly her parents don’t read consumerist or they’d never try to get DirectTV. Which is, by the way, overpriced

  11. remusrm says:

    the company tries to save you money… and you guys complain?

  12. Lyn Torden says:

    “There must be lots of people who move and leave satellite bills all over. Why not list the person and not an address”

    Duh! These are corporations. You expect competency? Ain’t gonna happen.

  13. AllanG54 says:

    First, they could have gone to Dish, second, they need a name AND address because there’s lots of people with the same names and they can’t blacklist them all.

  14. Cat says:

    “How A Stupid Daughter Can Get Her Parents Blacklisted By DirecTV”

    Is this not the real story? After all, it’s the account owner’s responsibility to cancel, close the account and return the hardware.

    • Phil Villakeepinitrreal says:

      Maybe she actually did things right. Maybe she contacted DirecTV and did all the proper steps to have the account be transferred to one of her roomies, and received information that it was correctly completed.

      It’s not remotely inconceivable that the problem is actually due to DirecTV screwing up…

  15. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Apparently this happens with Comcast too. I overheard a situation like this while I was waiting in line – people from one of the government housing apartment complexes in town were trying to get cable hooked up, but the previous tenants, same address, had not paid their bill. There was quite a bit of back and forth before the Comcast personnel asked them to step aside while they waited on the now lengthy line that had formed.

    • BBBB says:

      I helped someone who had trouble getting electricity turned on at a rental because the previous tenant didn’t pay the last few bills. The lower level “customer service” people just assumed it was switching the bill to a different roommate (as they were required to). Going higher up there was no problem – I had to show them a current lease and note from the landlord that showed it was a new rental and that the deadbeat was not a resident.

    • SmokeyBacon says:

      Wow that is crappy. And then to have to wait for everyone else to be taken care of to continue the whole thing – that would just piss me off.

  16. jp7570-2 says:

    Wonder what would have happened if the parents had sold their house and moved? Would the new owners – who would have the same street address but a different name – also be so blacklisted?

    (That is, of course, presuming you can actually sell a house these days.)

    DirecTV customer service often wins no prizes for, you know, customer service. But they do go above and beyond every so often. They have been very responsive whenever there has been an extended outage, crediting a pro-rated amount back to my account. And they’ve even taken to offering discounts to monthly service if you just ask them nicely.

    • SmokeyBacon says:

      I was wondering the same thing – if you blacklist an address it prevents anyone who lives there in the future from using your service too. It seems like a bad idea to me. Yes, there are people with the same name so that won’t really work either, but there has got to be a better way to handle it.

  17. yaos says:

    How to fix this:
    1. Get Internet.
    2.?
    3. Profit!

  18. scoutermac says:

    I have a solution. Switch to Dish Network. I can even give you a referral. scoutermac@gmail.com

  19. The Porkchop Express says:

    Less than $100 and there was this much of an issue? really?

  20. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    My dad couldn’t get Time Warner because the previous tenant didn’t pay his bill. He had leases to prove he wasn’t there at the time and everything. He just went with DirecTV as a result (and has since gone to U-Verse).

  21. sopmodm14 says:

    they could save themselves the trouble and not get directv at all

  22. RvLeshrac says:

    How is this not the OP’s fault?