DirecTV Expects Consumers to Pay to Ride in Black Hole

J.C.’s TV started flashing black every so often, like a very slow and annoying strobe. His phone calls to his cable service provider, DirecTV, earned him several unfulfilled promises but no results.

He finally discovered the service interruptions were caused by a new DirecTV software patch designed to enable interactive features that J.C. has no intention of using. Furthemore, DirecTV wants him to pay to fix the problem they created.

Insult to injury, after the jump.

“I use Direct TV and two and a half weeks ago the television in my bedroom started flashing black, flashing black, flashing black, at random. I tested to make sure it wasn’t on my end by resetting the receiver and trying the living room receiver on my bedroom television. I called them and went through the automotive trouble shooting before getting sent to a real person. I explained my situation and the man said this has started happening to a lot of people and he would have my receiver marked to be patched.

After a week of black flashes which seem to time themselves for dramatic moments like when Uncle Junior shot Tony I woke up to find the info bar now flashing constantly. I called to report this new development and ask what was going on. The woman took the information and said she would try to get it fixed. I asked if I could get compensated for my week of problems and they gave me $5 off my bill for the next six of months. This was nice of them.

A week passed with no changes so today I called and asked them to just send me a new receiver. The man said he would but it would cost me $15 in shipping, I asked if they would pay it and after he talked to a supervisor he said he would. He said he couldn’t send out a new receiver himself but would put a note that the shipping was free and transfer me to the right department.

The lady I spoke to next took down my information, placed me on hold, and played the love song from Karate Kid Part II for me to enjoy. When she got back she asked some questions and told me that because I owned my receiver and it was out of the 90 day warranty I would have to pay for $150 for new one or sign a one year lease. I said I would prefer not to do either option and asked if they can ensure that they patched my system like the first guy said they would. She then informed me that the reason this all started in the first place was because Direct TV patched everyones receivers to prepare for more interactive stuff I would never use anyways. I asked her “So, you guys come into my house through a phone line, broke something I own with a bad patch, and expect me to have to purchase a new one?” and she said yes. So, I told her I would call back later “after I see what type of prices the Dish Network has and send an email to my favorite consumer blog so they can give you some bad press.

J. C.”

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