DirecTV Contractor: No, We Won't Fix Our Botched Installation

DirecTV’s installation contractor, Ironwood Communications, insists on mounting Archie’s three receivers directly to his wood shake roof, even though the subcontractor they retained claims that an under-eave attachment is necessary to avoid damage.

Archie writes:

My wife and I are extremely frustrated. We’ve been DirecTV customers since we got married and moved into our new house 2.5 years ago. A month ago, we decided to renew our expired contract with DirecTV for another 2 years and got HD. The installers from Ironwood Communications came out (employee number #0123) and installed our new HD satellite dish and brought us 2 receivers when we had asked for 3. So they had to come back out a week later (#1682) and bring us the 3rd receiver (we were compensated with one month free HD). We have had issues with our HD channels (some of them were not working) since the first installation, and we finally called about it and had techs come to our house again a 3rd time (we again were compensated with one month free HD). We scheduled for 12/16/2007 from 1-5pm. The tech (#1502) arrived at 4:30pm. He told us that DirecTV had moved the HD channels to a new band and they were told for months that installers had to tune the dish to interact with the additional band and it should have been done when the first installer came out, or at least the second installer. He made the HD channels work, which was great.

But he told us our satellite dish was mounted incorrectly – he said it was poor work and was himself annoyed at the job the installers did. He noted that the dish was mounted on the fascia board of our roof, only attached to 2 of the 5 points the dish plate was supposed to be attached, and was already cracking our fascia board because of the weight of the HD dish. The tech told us per reccomendation, the dish should be mounted at 5 points (though there are 6). This tech told us he would change it for us, however since he was sent out to only fix the HD channels, he couldn’t change the scope of his job. We were fine with that and appreciated the fact he told us the satellite was mounted incorrectly. He told us to call DirecTV and tell them we would need the satellite dish relocated and to tell them a tech advised us to do this.

So we called and asked for installers to come out to relocate the dish. This would be the fourth time in one month that DirecTV had to come out, and all for issues that the tech’s did not cover correctly the first time. We scheduled for 12/21/2007 from 1-5pm. By this time were were a bit tired of all the installers coming at the tail end of their window, so we requested that we be scheduled earlier in the window. The tech (Leo, #352, from Mountain Satellite, subcontractor of Ironwood arrived at 4:10pm). The installer came, and looked at our dish. He noted that it was done incorrectly as the 3rd tech told us, but he told us that he would not be able to relocate the dish that day. Leo said he could not mount it on the roof, since we have a wood shake roof – the best way to mount the satellite was to use an under-eave mount, which needs to be specially ordered from DirecTV. We were not happy about this…we just wanted the satellite dish mounted correctly as they should have done in the first place. Leo told us that he might be able to come back the next day to install it if they get the under-eave mount. He would have his supervisor call at 10am to let us know if they have it and when they could come. He left his name, his supervisor’s name (Marco, #353) and Marco’s phone number.

We are at this point very frustrated. My wife calls DirecTV and we want compensation for the ridiculous amount of time and visits it’s taking to do what should have been done correctly the first time the installers came. She talked to the representative, the supervisor, and finally the manager (Ryan, #3787) of the call center. This manager tells her that there is no one above him, he’s the last person she can talk to, and all he offers is either for us to file a damage claim on our roof, or $100 off an HDDVR. The HDDVR offer was the exact same offer we were given when we were first renewing the contract, and quite frankly, is not an offer that tells us DirecTV values us as customers – we’d have to pay $199 to get the compensation offered us? He was very rude to my wife, and it was then we decided to find someone else to talk to, which is how we found your email. And after looking at The Consumerist at, we come to find out that people have been getting the HDDVR at no cost or for much cheaper only for being DirecTV customers!

10am on 12/22/2007, there was no call. We call Marco’s number at 10:30am and get voicemail. I left a voicemail. I called DirecTV and tried to get through to the local subcontractor to find out what’s going on. It takes about half an hour of back and forth with the representative on the phone to find out that tech’s are scheduled to come out between 12-2pm. We don’t know how that got scheduled since we never agreed on a time and the rep was asking us if we had something scheduled, so it must have happened in the time I was talking to the rep on the phone. While it’s nice to have a 2 hour window instead of a 4 hour window, we’ve essentially been waiting since 10am, so it’s just another 4 hour window to us. Though it takes me a while, I finally convince the rep to let me talk to the local contracting office and get from her that they’d try to come at the beginning of the 2 hour window. The tech’s come at 2:05pm.

It’s Leo and his supervisor Marco. Marco tells us Leo never told him he was supposed to call us. They didn’t bring the under-eave mount as they don’t have one, and only came to look look at the issue and figure out what they could do. They both say again, the under-eave mount is the best option as they’re not supposed to mount on our type of roof. While talking to my wife about what’s happening, Marco calls the supervisor from Ironwood who tells him to go ahead and mount it on the roof, it’ll just need longer screws and they will not give us the j-mount at no cost. I was not comfortable with them putting it on our roof since Leo and Marco both told me it wasn’t a good idea. My wife called DirecTV to find out if there was a general rule about not mounting on wood shake roofs while I continued to talk to the techs. DirecTV customer service was no help as they had no idea the ways that dishes should be mounted. Leo and Marco told me even if they did mount it on the roof, it would definitely crack some of the tiles, and if we were ever to remove the dish, we would have to replace the tiles. I could not understand why they would want to knowingly damage our roof. The techs finally called their supervisor from Mountain (Frank) who told them to not mount it on the roof as it was not safe. I talked to Frank who told me that mounting on the roof was not secure, it could leak even though they’d try their best, and if the dish wobbled even a little, it would affect our signal. He said he would order the under-eave mount and let us know by 12/26/2007 of it’s status and would do his best to get us the mount at no cost (but no promises).

My wife was still on the phone with DirecTV, finally talking to another supervisor (Tony, #100101757), because this time, we at least thought we should get the j-mount at no cost and not wanting to even get into the issue we had the previous night. This supervisor was much more understanding. He was briefed on the situation before he talked to my wife on the phone, and still asked her to describe in her own words what happened. Tony then offered $10 off our bill for 12 months as compensation for the mount. We accepted that offer.

We are filing a damage claim with DirecTV for the damage it’s already done to our roof. It took over a dozen reps, supervisors, techs, and managers before we talked to 2 people who were willing to listen to us calmly and understand our situation. Frank and Tony were more helpful than anyone else had been.

On 12/24/2007, William (from the local Ironwood office in Morgan Hill) came for an unscheduled and unnannounced appointment. He tried to convince me to mount it on the roof and that he would use silicone to prevent leaks. He also said that even if there were leaks, since he’d mount the dish over the part of the roof that isn’t above our living space, that it would be okay! He wanted to show me a dish in our neighborhood that had the dish mounted on our type of roof and proceeded to walk me around our neighborhood looking for one. He found a dish that appeared to be mounted on the roof but short of walking on to the customer’s property he could not tell. I told him we were going to wait for the other mount. He told me that the mounts are very popular and he doesn’t know if he’ll get one anytime soon and we might have to wait a while to get one. After 15 minutes of trying to push me into changing my mind, he left. This was the 6th time DirecTV has come to our house in five weeks.

We got a recorded call on 12/26/2007 that we had a relocation scheduled for 12/28/2007 from 8am-12pm. We expected that meant the mount had come in and we would get the dish relocated. The tech (from Ironwood, #1651) came around 9am. He did not know about the extra mount and did not know our situation at all. He looked at our chimney as an option but decided it wouldn’t work (something about there were no gutters for him to put the wiring). He told my wife that even if we got the other mount, it would be attached to our fascia board from the back, making it seem pointless. He also said it was okay to mount it on the roof – he would use tar to keep it from leaking, but also said he couldn’t guarantee that it wouldn’t crack the tiles. My wife sent him away as it was a wasted trip and another waste of our time. This was the 7th time.

At this point, we don’t know what to do. We are at a complete loss. I left a message for Frank from Mountain to find out what’s going on. We have had 7 visits from techs trying to get our HD system set up correctly when it should have taken only once, maybe twice, and it still isn’t done. Your rudest rep was the highest ranking rep we spoke with – we definitely feel that Ryan is a poor customer support agent.

If we had gone with Comcast, we would have never had a satellite dish to deal with. We are very disappointed with the customer service we received and feel we still haven’t been compensated for the incompetence of your installers. We looked online and saw that many DirecTV customers have had many issues with Ironwood and I can’t understand why you would continue to contract with a company that obviously can’t do their job.

I have attached photos of the installers shody work and damage to our fascia board. These are the same photos we will send in for the damage claim. We have called a roofing company who will come out and asses the damage for the damage claim. We also asked them if it was a good idea to mount satellite dishes to our wood shake roof. He described how it could be done, but the best way to protect our roof would involve removing some of the shakes, installing the dish on the base of the roof with some extra materials, and then putting the shakes back on the roof, which he obviously felt was better handled by a roofer. The techs who came out to our house only ever wanted to mount the dish directly on the shakes.

We just want the dish installed correctly and safely at no additional cost to us (for extra parts or labor or anything) and compensated for the headache this is causing us.

Let Chase Carey, DirecTV’s mustachioed CEO, know that his company is employing incompetent contractors. Send him an email at:, or call DirecTV HQ at: (310) 964-5000.

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