DirecTV CEO Answers Customer E-mail On A Saturday Evening, Promises Help

Daniel’s problem was very simple. He is a DirecTV customer, and subscribed to the satellite provider’s NFL Sunday Ticket package of football awesomeness. He decided not to renew this year, then discovered that DirecTV had already helpfully renewed the package for him. He wasn’t happy, and sent out an executive e-mail carpet bomb to a nice selection of executives. Who answered him, within an hour and a half on a Saturday? President and CEO Mike White.

Here’s Daniel’s original letter:

Dear Mr. White.

I’ve been a very satisfied customer of yours for three years now, and have referred several friends and neighbors to your service. I wish to remain a customer of yours, but after my recent interaction with your customer service department, I am finding it difficult to do so.

For the last two years, I’ve had your NFL Sunday Ticket package. I decided to not renew this year, because my wife and I travel a great deal for business and end up not watching most of the games. Because I use my bank’s bill pay option, I don’t pay a lot of attention to my account. Imagine my surprise last week when my wife called to tell me that our account had been suspended due to a late balance! After some investigation, I realized that I had been auto-renewed for the Sunday Ticket, even though I had not requested it. When I called customer service, I was told that I had been notified of both the renewal and my past due balance.

I’ve gone through all my spam, trash and inbox in my email account (I’m paperless), and there’s nary a word from you of the sort. After three years of over $100/month service from your company, I’m being told that it was my responsibility to receive your emails and I am now on the hook for the entire cost of the Sunday Ticket.

I will certainly pay what I owe, but if this is how your customers are treated, I will have to choose to go elsewhere. This is a competitive market, and there are other options- some at lower costs- than DirecTV.

My question to you is simple: Is it worth losing a $100+ monthly account over a billing mistake? I wish to remain your customer, but I cannot justify doing so if this is how your customers are treated.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your response.


That was sent at 6:09 PM. At 7:34, Mr. White answered:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: White, Michael D
Date: Sat, Oct 23, 2010 at 7:34 PM
Subject: Re: My recent interaction with DirecTV customer service

Dear Daniel, thank you for your note. I have asked our Customer Care Group to look into your issue. I can assure you that we do ensure we formally notify Sunday Ticket users of the auto renew and give them a chance to cancel the service if they wish to. I will have our team see why you might not have seen the notice in your bill this summer. Someone from our Customer Care group will be in touch. Mike White

We haven’t heard back from Daniel yet about whether DirecTV was able to fix his problem, but he was delighted to hear back from the CEO himself (or someone e-mailing as him.) Maybe White’s recent experience installing satellite dishes and manning a call center on the CBS program “Undercover Boss” helped him to see things from us little guys’ point of view.

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