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An Infuriating, Unbelievable, & Unacceptable Cust Svc Issue w/ an Almost 20-year customer!

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by Lord Vader, Feb 11, 2014.

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  1. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Supreme Member

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    I was so furious with DirecTV yesterday evening that I came the closest I've ever come to canceling my service outright--and it was totally their fault. Despite the fact that they admitted they screwed up, they refused to fix the problem that THEY caused!!!

    Here's what happened...

    I called yesterday early evening to deactivate a very old HDVR2 receiver from my account because I replaced it with an HR24. The heavy accented, noticeably foreign CSR gentleman removed that receiver from my account. So far so good. I hang up, go to watch TV, press "List" to bring up the playlist, and am told on screen that "DVR service is not activated on my account. Please call...". Within seconds screams emanate from other parts of my abode because others watching receivers in other rooms lost all their DVR functionality as well. It appeared obvious that the CSR deactivated not only that one DVR from my account, but also deactivated all DVR functionality from all 12 receivers I have!

    OK, a major but correctable error, right? Not so fast! I call DirecTV, get yet another foreign sounding CSR (seriously, the heavy accents are annoying to me due to communication and comprehension issues), and am told, after he admitted the previous rep erred, "I'm sorry, Mr. NNN, but I can't fix the problem." Now, instead of offering to transfer me to someone who could resolve my issue, he just repeated his supposed inability to fix the issue. I then firmly but politely demanded to be transferred to someone in tech support, where I did quickly get some regular sounding gentleman on the phone.

    I explained my issue to him; he researched it; then he comes back to tell me, "It's definitely our fault that this happened, Mr. NNN. I can turn back on your DVR service; however, I noticed you have a balance of $56.51 that's past due. I won't be able to reactivate the DVR service until this is paid."

    I was stunned at this response. Now, in the almost 20 years I've been with DirecTV, I've never had service disconnected to non-payment. I haven't even come close to a cutoff date. My monthly bill these days is in excess of $200--easily. I can't use auto-pay for a couple particular reasons I won't get into here and now--no biggie, though, because I've always set up payment online. Apparently, for whatever reasons, there was a past due balance of $56.51. How long past due? A whopping 7 days! My February invoice just came via Email today, in fact, and there was the past due balance showing on the invoice.

    I never pleaded for more time to pay that. I never said I can't or won't pay it. (I actually did pay it right there on the phone.) I also didn't think it was a major issue because of its low amount, recent reclassifying to a past due status, and the fact that on the Email invoice, it did show in red a service disconnection date of 2-28-14, which is obviously almost 3 weeks away.

    So this tech support CSR guy repeats his statement to me, after I voiced my intense displeasure and outright anger over this, that "the system won't let me reinstate your DVR service until the past due amount is paid." He did state several times that the DVR service was NOT turned off due to this past due amount. He also repeated that the deactivation of all DVR functionality was, in fact, a mistake committed by DirecTV, and that he was "sorry for any inconvenience" I might have experienced.

    I never lost my cool, never swore, never treated him unprofessionally. I never demanded credits or freebies to make up for their stupidity and error. However, I was absolutely assertive, outspoken, and audibly furious that DirecTV screwed up but refusing to correct THEIR mistake until a past due amount was paid. I even posed to this tech support guy this scenario: "Suppose that your previous CSR accidentally turned off all service to all 12 of my receivers, resulting in the entire account going dark. Are you telling me that because there's a seven day past due amount of $56.51, DirecTV would not reactivate the entire account?" Incredibly, the gentleman replied, "Yes. The system wouldn't be able to let us turn it back on until you paid that balance."

    From my perspective, the issue never was and shouldn't be the fact that a small portion of the January bill remained unpaid (for whatever reason--I think it was a simple oversight); rather, the issue was that DirecTV screwed up but then had the audacity to tell me they wouldn't rectify their screw-up, and that I was to blame for this decision not to correct THEIR mistake!

    Wow. Just wow. I have never heard of something so outright asinine, and I've dealt with a lot of customer service departments in my life. This one takes the cake. It's also something I shall never forget. For this reason alone, no matter how extreme people think my decision is, I will recommend to anyone who asks to not sign up with DirecTV.

    I'm that pissed off about this.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. directv newb

    directv newb Mentor

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    I understand the first CSR made an error and that was his fault, the second tech support rep acknowledged that it was "their" fault, but if the "system" will not let them fix it while there is a past due amount showing on their screen I don't exactly know what the second rep was supposed to do for you. The system showed a past due amount, which you seem to acknowledge, the first rep turned the dvr service off and the system wouldn't let it be turned back on until the balance was caught up. I see your point but I also see where the second tech rep was coming from. His hands were tied because your bill was past due.
     
  3. toricred

    toricred New Member

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    I had a similar issue when I went to cancel DirecTV to change over to Dish network. I called them on a Friday to verify the ETF amount so I could make sure I had the money available and told them I would be calling the next day to cancel. I explained my situation in detail and they didn't like it, but what could they do. The next day when I called to cancel they acknowledged the previous day's discussion, but refused to cancel until I went over the reasons again. I couldn't believe they would provide that level of support and I requested to speak to a supervisor. After 45 minutes he came on and quickly cancelled the account without further questions. In fact we were disconnected as I was saying goodbye and he even called back to make sure I didn't think he had gotten angry and hung up. That supervisor's service is what I expected in the first place.

    The original tech kept telling me she couldn't move forward without my providing a reason. When I refused, she got very irritated and refused to listen to anything else including some dumb reason I gave her just so she could put something in the system so we could move forward.
     
  4. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    I think I've lost something similar and it was because the receiver I deactivated was listed as my primary.
    A second call had it fixed.

    Sh!t happens and if you get to the source it shouldn't be too big of a deal.
     
  5. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Supreme Member

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    Systems are programmed by humans. There is always a way to get something done, despite what the "system" says. Who's in control at DirecTV, people or machines?
     
  6. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    I get you're pissed, but "really" do you want 10,000+ CSRs to have admin access to the customer data base? :nono:
     
  7. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Supreme Member

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    They have different levels of CSRs. When I had the problem elevated to tech support, THEY above many others there should have the ability to override the system.
     
  8. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    I know this is pointless, but... So you want tech support to override accounting? :nono:
    I get the first CSR made a mistake and may not have noticed they were deactivating your primary receiver.
    Had you not had an unpaid balance, you wouldn't have compounded this.

    DirecTV is far from "perfect", but they're not much different than.....
    It's how well you can deal with a CSR these days and it doesn't seem like you did very well.
    Why let an idiot and a mistake get to you this bad?
     
  9. inf0z

    inf0z Legend

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    I understand what you're getting at is that it's the principal of the situation. This is a pretty one off situation however. DIRECTV would be opening up a huge amount of financial risk and problems by providing that type of access to all technical CSR's. In special cases like this, if a normal CSR isn't able to resolve the issue ask for a supervisor, or just pay your past due if you can afford it.
     
  10. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    The "undo" button is most appreciated ... when I worked retail decades ago cashiers were not trusted to have an "undo" button where they could remove an item once keyed in to the register. But at least there was a system where someone in the store could come fix the problem ... usually within 10 minutes or so. Fortunately "undo" at the register became common - and I appreciate it when I'm behind a person who had a cart that was bigger than their wallet. The register operator patiently voids items until the total is within the money available. (The first registers I operated didn't allow items to be added after pressing the total key - and the entire sale had to be rerung to remove items. But I digress.)

    Even "undo" would not have helped Vader as he hung up before noticing the problem. Gotta go to the returns desk. It would be nice to have someone who could do an override ... not necessarily the tech support people, but enough people that some level of supervisor could approve the variation from the rules.

    At the end of the day it worked out because the customer did the right thing. I don't fault DirecTV for having rules ... but when one reads the "I complained and got free ..." threads one wonders why reversing their mistake without demanding payment is not possible. Do CSRs get bonuses for collecting past due amounts?
     
  11. inf0z

    inf0z Legend

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    Supervisors can do this override in a situation like this. The reason this is in place is to prevent customers who have a past due amount from adding more to their bill. (Basically no more drinks until last night's bar tab is paid.) CSR's do not get any form of bonus from collecting a past due. (Unless your account is in collections, I'm not sure how that works to be honest.)
     
  12. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    I had a similar issue last year, but the CSR I got was smarter than the one you and the TS dealt with and she knew in advance that one of the receivers I wanted to deactivate was my primary. She told me she'd have to manually add them all back after removing that one and it would take some time as I have a lot of receivers. She gave me the opportunity to do it later if this wasn't a convenient time, but I had her go ahead and while she did it she'd take me off hold to update me every few minutes on her progress.

    It was annoying Directv's system works in such a stupid way, but I know that wasn't her fault and I gave her a 10/10 across the board when I got the "how did we do" email from Directv over that call - but left a comment that maybe they should explore the idea of having their system automatically transfer "primary" status to another receiver if the primary was deleted to avoid that hassle. Probably the people who programmed their system did such a poor job that changing that would be too difficult and Directv decided it wasn't worth the effort years ago.

    Everyone who ever has to deal with CSRs knows you get some good ones like the one I got, and some bad ones like the one the TS got. Unfortunately it isn't just Directv, but nearly everyone's support works this way. So often that when I have a rare highly positive experience, like the one I related, it sticks in my mind months later. It should be the other way around, but we all know it isn't.

    I had a whopper just yesterday trying to RMA a $59.99 router to DLink (the second time I had the same problem, this was the replacement that failed) and they forced me to walk through an hour of troubleshooting. Well, until I got so angry I told the guy I'd complain to his supervisor about his lying to me as I was on the fifth or sixth "just one more thing I want you to try" before he'd believe what was obvious, that the router had a dead WAN port. The ONLY reason I didn't hang up 15 minutes into that charade was the principal of the thing - because I don't want the beancounters to "win" by using terrible customer service as a way of reducing their warranty replacement costs.
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

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    Yep;

    Happened to me as well many years ago;

    Had an SD-DVR TIVO at the time deactivated which neither I nor the CSR realized was the assigned primary receiver which took down all my other receivers. Naturally other viewers in the household howled.

    Immediately called back of course, and even though I had no unpaid balances the first level CSR couldn't turn my service back on since she didn't know how to change the primary receiver assignment to another.

    Escalated me to a supervisor, nice guy and a real speed demon with a computer keyboard as I've never heard such a rapid clikity-clak sound of the keys over the phone as he reauthorized and reassigned the primary box and then reauthorized my other boxes one by one.
     
  14. hasan

    hasan New Member

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    Been there, almost had that done as well. The CSR was smart enough to know that the Primary couldn't simply be deleted and took care of it right on the spot. (several years ago).
     
  15. joed32

    joed32 Hall Of Fame

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    If I'm getting nowhere with a CSR I just thank them, hang up and call again until I get someone who can transfer me to a supervisor. It does no good to argue with them.
     
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  16. Beerstalker

    Beerstalker Hall Of Fame

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    I do understand your frustration. The issue with deactivating the primary receiver on an account and having it cause multiple issues has been known around here for a while, and DirecTV obviously knows about it as well. They should upgrade their system to eliminate the issue, by either not allowing you to deactivate the primary receiver, or by automatically setting up another active receiver as the primary one. If that would take too much of an overhaul of their system then they definitely need to do a better job of training the CSRs to spot the issue before it happens and take the steps needed to keep problems from happening.

    That said I think you are definitely overreacting a bit.

    Put yourself in the CSRs shoes. If you were at your job and a customer called you up and was very "assertive, outspoken, and audibly furious" and you found out that they had a past due amount on their account, would you go beyond company policy in order to fix any issues? Would you risk losing your job to do something against company policy because someone else screwed up, when that customer owed the company money? Or would you politely say that your hands were tied and you couldn't do anything until their account was up to date?

    Did you ever ask to talk to a supervisor or someone higher up who may have had the authority to go beyond company policy in order to help you out?

    Personally I would have been embarrassed and apologized to them as soon as I found out that I hadn't properly paid my bill and that was the reason they couldn't fix my account.
     
  17. carl6

    carl6 Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Bingo.
    Maybe while they are reprogramming their system as some have suggested, they should also set it to automatically shut off service for any back due balance.
    I have also run into the primary receiver issue, it has been an issue for many years. While an inconvenience, it is a fairly rare situation for CSRs to have to deal with.
     
  18. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Supreme Member

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    I didn't need to apologize for having a small portion of my near $240 bill past due a whopping 7 days. It would have been a far different story had I had a past due amount go beyond 30 days, go to collections, result in service disconnection, etc.

    I have always been an excellent customer with them payment-wise, and for them to come across as so demanding was unnecessary.
     
  19. Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Completely disagree with your take on a past due amount. I know you're good for it, but large companies have policies that freeze accounts that are overdue.
     
  20. Beerstalker

    Beerstalker Hall Of Fame

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    If you went to a grocery store and filled your cart up with $240 worth of stuff and handed the cashier $190 would you expect him just to let you walk out the door with all your groceries and come back in whenever you want to pay for the rest, just because you shop there all the time, and normally pay your bill?

    If your minimum payment due on your credit card is $240 dollars and you only pay them $190 do you think they will just ignore that cause you normally pay your whole amount due? Or do you think you are going to get hit with all kinds of fees and possibly have your interest rate increased by quite a bit?

    I guess I just don't understand why you think that you should be able to pay this bill however/whenever you please, and why you think they should be willing to do whatever you want them to just because you will pay your bill whenever you get around to it.

    Now if the CSR was rude and demanding toward you that is wrong and he should not have treated you that way (I didn't get that feeling from any of your other posts though). But I don't think him just not turning DVR service back on for you (which would be against company policy) is anything you have the right to be that upset about. Did he refuse to transfer you to a supervisor or do anything like that unless you paid the past due amount, or did you not even ask about that?

    Edit/

    I just read back through this and see that it does sound a little argumentitive. I just want to be clear I am not trying to argue with you, put you down, or anything like that. Just trying to get you to see both sides. I used to work at Circuit City in the warehouse and was good friends with a lot of the customer service people there and some customers just treated them outright horrible, so it has always bothered me a bit when people don't seem to take into account their feelings and limitations on what they are able to do. I'm not saying you treated this CSR horrible, but I just want to you to see their side too, it could be this guy really wanted to help you but just couldn't.
     
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