DirecTV Gives New Customer Free Sunday Ticket, Takes It Away, Gives It Back

This story comes from tipster Dan, a Consumerist reader, and his co-worker Brandon, a DirecTV subscriber. Brandon saw that DirecTV was running a promotion of free NFL Sunday Ticket for new subscribers. He already had an account, but his subscription was pretty new, so he wondered whether he could get in on that. He could! Hurray! He had one glorious weekend of football, and then it was all taken away. He wasn’t eligible, DirecTV representatives explained. Brandon knew better. And Dan knew how to help him get the hours and hours of gridiron action that he deserves.

Brandon is a co-worker of mine; he bought a new home back in March and when setting up his services, he chose DirecTV as his entertainment choice.

In early September, he noticed the commercials DTV was running on television, which offered free NFL Sunday Ticket to new subscribers.

A few days before the first Sunday of the NFL season, Brandon thought to himself, “Hey, I haven’t been with DTV very long; I wonder if I might be eligible for that?”

So, he called DTV and asked the very helpful CSR, “Hey, I haven’t been with DTV very long; am I eligible for that?”

The CSR pulled up Brandon’s account and proudly announced that – lo and behold – indeed Brandon was eligible for the promotion and said he would add it to Brandon’s account immediately. A sunbeam shined on Brandon and he could hear a choir of angels singing, ‘Hallelujah’ in beautiful harmony. Free football for the entire season? Brandon was thrilled! But, he is a bit skeptical at times; he asked the CSR more than once to confirm that he was indeed getting the NFL package and the CSR even invited Brandon to check his account while they were on the phone. Brandon obliged and sure enough, the package was there and waiting for him when the season started.

Opening Sunday, Brandon was able to watch all the football he could possibly handle and he was the happiest man in the land.

The following Sunday – we’ll call it Week 2 of the NFL season since it was the second week of the NFL season – Brandon was the saddest man in the land. Why? Well, Brandon’s magical vessel to the world of all things NFL was now just staring back at him with a grim, forbidding, black face and inviting him to call DTV if he wanted to subscribe to NFL Sunday Ticket. The full day of football was now just a rumor as far as Brandon’s television was concerned.

Brandon did not go on a rampage; he did not tear the house apart and he did not run out into the street scaring women, children and small animals. No! He is smarter than that, so he called DTV to correct this horrible error so he could get his football on.

The CSR he spoke with told him he wasn’t eligible for the free Sunday Ticket promotion and it was never applied to his account. Brandon said something to the effect of, “But it was right there last Sunday; I could hold it, love it and treat it like the precious pet that it is. I loved it and now it is gone.”

The CSR explained that the pet Brandon had held the previous Sunday was just a stray and that it had run away; the Sunday in question had been a free preview for Sunday Ticket, so any DTV subscriber could watch all the games. Brandon explained again and again that he had been told that the package was applied to his account by the previous CSR, but the current rep said there was nothing noted in the account and she could not give him the package. Brandon asked to speak to the CSR’s boss, who told him the same thing, but the boss said something which sounded odd. He told Brandon, “Since your account is less than a year old, we couldn’t apply a credit even if we wanted to.” Hmmm… then how do they apply a credit for all the new subscribers? Brandon asked to speak to the boss’s boss, but was told he had reached the top of the chain and that was that.

Defeated, Brandon got off the phone with DTV and sat down on his couch to weep. (Okay, I made that part up.)

The next day, Brandon called me about something work related but as we were talking, he mentioned the DTV issue. Brandon does not read Consumerist but fortunately for him, I do; I told him I would check your site when I had time and get him the email address to President and CEO, Michael White’s office.

I sent him the address and cautioned him to be detailed without being wordy and to be polite. Keep it simple: “Here is what I was told, here is what I actually got, here is what I am asking.”

He sent his email that night at around 10 PM and the next morning, he received a phone call from a woman who works in Mr. White’s office. She told Brandon that he was indeed eligible for the promotion and couldn’t explain why it had been applied and then disappeared. She was polite, friendly and apologetic as she applied the credit to Brandon’s account and she thanked him for his business.

Thanks to Consumerist, Brandon is once again the happiest man in the land.

Well done, Brandon and Dan! If you need to clear up a problem with DirecTV, the company e-mail format is firstname.lastname@directv.com.