Resilient Customer Gets DirecTV To Drop Price Of HD Box From $299 To $0

A DirecTV customer service representative offered Justin a free upgrade to a better HD box as part of DirecTV’s legacy program. Justin, a 2-year customer, was disconnected before he could accept the upgrade. When he called back, he reached a CSR who demanded $299 for the same box.

Luckily, the new CSR didn’t put up much of a fight when Justin insisted on the free upgrade offered by the previous CSR. Justin writes:

So I’ve been a Directv customer for about two years now and recently they have been advertising like crazy (you’d have to be living in a cave the past few months not to see the ads) about their expanded HD package, “now more HD channels then ever!” Yet I noticed despite the fact that I pay for the HD package, we get all of 9 channels in HD. Where are my other supposed 61 channels in HD, I thought. Well anyhow, a friend signed up for DirecTV recently and was bragging to me about how many HD channels he now had. The envy boiled within, to the point where I finally got worked up enough to call customer service and find out what was the deal. The woman that I reached in customer service said that I just needed an upgrade on my equipment. She said I would need a new box as well as a new satelite dish. I said “great, what’s that cost?” She said, “oh we have a legacy program where we will swap it out at no charge, let me just transfer you to that department.”

She transfers me.

I wait.

I wait some more.

I hear clicking.

I realize that I’ve been disconnected.

I call back, get annoyed by the computerized menu you have to jump through to actually speak to someone. Finally I get to the right department, and I’m on the phone with (we’ll call him Jim – because his actual name was Jim) Jim. He begins to tell me that HD Box that you need to get all of the new HD channels costs $299.99. I said no, the customer service lady said that as part of the legacy program that the upgrade or swap out would be free. Jim said, no the box is $299.99 but what I can do for you is give you a hundred dollars off, so the cost to you would be $199.99.

I again, said, “no, the customer service person told me their would be no charge. I have been a customer for over two years, and why should I pay anything extra to get a service that any new customer would get automatically. Am I penalized for my loyalty?”

Jim came back with, “well I can take another discount of $10, so the total to you would be $189.99.”

I said “Jim, we are clearly at an impass here. Just transfer me to a supervisor, so we can pound this thing out, because I don’t feel that I should have to pay anything for this.”

Jim paused.

He now said “well I can take $200 off, so the total to you would be just $99.99.”

I said, “Jim, come on now you have to see the comedy in all of this. I mean this isn’t Tijuana, we shouldn’t be bargaining. You started at $299 then we went to $199 then $189 now $99.99. Maybe I should wait to see what’s behind door number three.”

Finally he said they would take one discount of $250, and another discount of $49.99 making the cost zero.

It just goes to show that the average American probably starts at the $299 level or the $199.99 and says well gosh, if that’s what it is, then I guess. It’s too bad you have to be a persistent bastard like myself to get an occasional fair shake in this world.

Supreme Court rulings aside, corporations are not people. Put down your guide to social etiquette when you pick up the phone to call a corporation. You don’t gain a license to be rude, but you can be firm with your requests. Ask for things you don’t expect necessarily expect to get, and escalate to a supervisor if a CSR dares to utter the N-word (No.)

Persistence pays—in Justin’s case, $299.

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)