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Bad Installation Experience

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by soetart, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. soetart

    soetart AllStar

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    May 25, 2007
    DirecTV installer (apparently from a company called Direct Star (?)) came out on Sunday to do an HD dish upgrade, install an HD-DVR and relocate an R15 from the living room to the bedroom where there had previously been no TV.

    Since I live in apartment a tripod was needed to mount the HD dish on my balcony. I made sure to tell D* that I would need a tripod mount and confirmed a second time with them that the tripod mount requirement was noted on the work order.

    The guy comes out on Sunday and after I explain to him what I want him to do mentions THAT HE DOES NOT HAVE A TRIPOD TO DO THE INSTALLATION!! I ask him why are you here if the order required a tripod and you don't have one. The installer phones his supervisor who says that the company is out of tripods and they won't be in until later this week and I need to reschedule. I never got a good answer as to why he was dispatched to this job in the first place! The installer seemed surprised that a tripod was needed which makes it sounds like that information got lost along the way.

    Finally I asked the installer if he could leave the HD-DVR and do the needed wiring work so at least we would have two TVs. He said that you cannot activate an HD-DVR through an 18 inch dish (can someone verify this). So I ended up with NOTHING!

    Called D* (LIVID!) and explained my situation. The rep did not have an answer why I was not notified earlier that the installer ran out of tripods. She claimed to send an e-mail to the "home office" and someone would get back to me within 24 hours. Unsurpisingly, 24 hours have past with no callback. The rep then rescheduled my appointment for October 3rd and gave me a year of free DVR service to compensate me for my troubles.

    I HATE the communication wall that exists between D* and its installers. I thought D* O&Oing installers would make things run smoother but in this case it certainly has not.

    :new_cussi

    Absolutely Disgusted,
    Bill
     
  2. evan_s

    evan_s Hall Of Fame

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    Mar 3, 2008
    I'm sorry to hear about your frustration but it isn't surprising. The reps you speak to on the phone have no direct method of inputting anything into the system. They say you want an hd dvr and the system automatically determines that you will need a new dish and anything else required. They can add a note but that is all it is. A note that doesn't actually effect anything in the ordering system or ensure the installer will come with a ladder, pole mount or anything like that.
     
  3. idigg

    idigg Legend

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    May 8, 2008
    cancel and get cable
     
  4. RobertE

    RobertE New Member

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    Jun 9, 2006
    Oh where to begin...

    Let me preface this response with the following disclaimer. Nothing below should be taken as defending or justifing what happened.

    As already pointed out, the ordering system determines what equipement is needed to complete your installation.

    While I can't speak for other HSPs/warehouses, we do not stock, carry, supply or use tripods. The dish either goes on a pole in the ground, mounted to the structure or a non pen mount is used.

    Some of the notes that get typed in the "tech notes" sometimes looks like it was typed by a room full of monkeys. Some winners have been: "40 ft ladder needed" - this was for a single wide trailer. "Customer has roof", thats helpfull. :rolleyes: "Call first", but no number listed or number has been disconnected. Etc, etc, etc. So, most techs simply ignore notes as they rarely apply.

    Unfortenately CSRs at times will tell you whatever you want to hear to make the sale and/or get you off the phone. Wireless receivers, dish can go in the attic, it can point any direction, can point through trees, on and on. I've heard all those. :(

    Now for your specific case.

    If there was enough room, a NPR6A/B non pen mount should have been used. If the tech had completed the install with the new recievers and did not install the dish, while that would have got you someone going for the day, he most likely would get hit with a chargeback for an incomplete install. That chargeback quite possibly would have cost him more than what he would get paid to do the job. So, I can't blame him for not hooking up the new boxes.

    With the restrictions and chargeback system that DirecTv and the HSPs have put into play, it either needs to be done correctly (equipment wise) or not at all.

    You can thank the free install and corporate greed for that.
     
  5. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

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    Nov 13, 2007
    Sometime before mid 2010, it is expected that HSP contractors will have (read-only) access to DirecTV's Siebol-based work-order system. Currently, most have ZERO access to the notes and such. I totally understand how frustrating it is for the customers not to be able to communicate to the installers (installers share the same frustration), but at least there is movement in that direction.
     
  6. rudeney

    rudeney Hall Of Fame

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    May 28, 2007
    I'm just a simple guy from Alabama, but I have been in many different roles in this type of transaction.

    As a customer, I find it completely frustrating when a service organization cannot communicate effectively between the sales, order processing, accounting and delivery staff.

    As a 30-year IT veteran, I find it unbelievable that software systems still exist today that do not allow for the easy and effective flow of information with a service organization.

    As a business manager, I find it totally unacceptable that key customer order information cannot be effectively communicated throughout my organization. Especially when a lack of that communication means poor customer service experiences and even losses of revenue.

    Now, I can figure this out, why can't D*!?
     
  7. joe diamond

    joe diamond Hall Of Fame

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    Feb 28, 2007
    There is a choice,

    If Directv became the employer of the installer then DTV could direct what happens...and be responsible for what happens.

    As a customer buying the service of contractors, Directv cannot direct anything....officially. They only pay for completed work.

    Once the boxes are in and activated all is well for Directv. That is the model up to now.

    Someone should have mentioned real early on that tripods are not one of the FREE things DTV will use. How would you like to get a service call to repoint a tripod?

    As always,

    Joe
     
  8. satguy22

    satguy22 Legend

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    Oct 1, 2006
    Direct tv will only let me charge $30. for a tri-pod and they cost more than that plus I have to give them 30% of that and because it come thru my pay check I have to pay extra for workmens comp and other insurance plus fed taxes. No one is getting a tri-pod from me.
     
  9. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

    8,969
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    Nov 13, 2007
    All of the posters above have it right:

    "Free Installation" devalues the installation work in everyone's eyes. Not only is pay low, but many HSPs try to take a percentage of their workers' custom work and/or force them to charge less than break-even for parts. Ask *anyone* who is in the service business if they could survive by charging cost, or less, for the parts they have to stock, and they'll laugh at you, but that's the norm.

    Keep in mind too that installers bear the cost of everyone else's failures. Salesperson lied/omitted something/made a mistake? The installer is one who is yelled at, and then must spend his work time on the phone trying to fix it. Siebel system didn't pass on important notes? The installer has to deal with it, meaning he either loses the job (and the time/gas spent getting their and discovering the problem), or has to drive around and get the equipment needed to make it happen. Customer changes his mind and wants to do a work-order change the day of (this runs about 30%)? Installer has to try to make it happen and still get to his other jobs on-time, at risk of penalty.

    While on one hand I do believe that DirecTV is making some positive steps in correcting communication between customers and installers (and the folks in-between), the constant squeezing of installers to do more work for less money has gotten things to the point where it's surprising that the whole system doesn't collapse (which does happen occasionally in regional areas).
     
  10. JB292

    JB292 AllStar

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    Apr 24, 2009
    For what it's worth, I'm a DirecTV employee. We are not allowed to install a Slimline dish with a tripod at all. It has to either be on a poll in the ground with concrete, non pen, or ubolts connected to a railing, with the apartment management's consent.

    When we see an order for HD at an apartment complex, we pretty much know it won't go. Lots of pissed off, and disapponted customers.
     
  11. rudeney

    rudeney Hall Of Fame

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    May 28, 2007
    Look at your paycheck again, because expense reimbursements are not taxable nor subject to workers comp, insurance, etc. If they are this way on your check, you need to have a conversation with your payroll people. Of course they shoudl also be reimbursing you for the actual cost. If not, then that becomes a tax deduction.
     
  12. MrShowtime

    MrShowtime Legend

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    Apr 8, 2009
    Where in NJ do you live? I am a service tech for DirectSat (the HSP for southern NJ). We don't put KaKu Dishes on tripods. Its just asking for trouble. Depending on your complex, it would either be a railmount (which are very very underrated), a pole in the ground, or a non-pen. And based on the warehouse being out of equipment, it sounds like you live in my service region, cuz they dont ever have anything
     
  13. joe diamond

    joe diamond Hall Of Fame

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    Feb 28, 2007
    Rudeney,

    Ya know if you fail to make a profit in an enterprise after...three years I think...the IRS can rule that the activity is actually a hobby and go back and look at all deductions.

    I had one of those conversations about reimbursement for materials. After adding materials and wages (an HSP subcontractor paying wages!) and considering what he offered for vehicle compensation he discovered real soon he was too far down the food chain to make any money.

    And this was before MASTEC worked their magic on his invoices.

    It ended quickly. Who knew...the FREE installation was actually installers working for FREE.

    Joe
     
  14. rudeney

    rudeney Hall Of Fame

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    May 28, 2007

    You're talking about a self-employment situation. JB292 was referring to deductions on a paycheck which means he is no the business owner.

    But regardless of IRS issues, if you guys aren't making any money doing the job, then you should quit. Honestly, why bother? I know if I were not earning a paycheck, I would not be doing what I do (and trust me, I've quit many times because the pay wasn't enough to make it worth my time).
     
  15. soetart

    soetart AllStar

    86
    1
    May 25, 2007
    Thanks to everyone who responded!

    I actually am a customer in MrShowtimes district and I PMed him with some more details of my situation. MrShowtimes company actually DID get back to me but left a message at my home while I was at work composing my initial message.

    Based on all your feedback it appears the chief culprit is (unsurprisingly) the lack of communication between D* and their installers. FWIW, while I was visibly upset I did my best to be civil with the installer since I guessed (correctly) that the problem was likely further upstream.

    Since this is an apartment complex, poll mount is not an option. The choices in this case would be either tripod or railmount. A Nonpen MIGHT be an option assuming a 36x36 base.

    BTW does anyone know if the tech was accurate when he said he could not activate an HD-DVR through an 18 inch dish?

    Thanks again,
    Bill
     
  16. RobertE

    RobertE New Member

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    Jun 9, 2006
    Before the IV software on the receivers, yes he could activate the HR with any dish. Now with the IV, when the activation signal is sent, it's also told what type of dish is needed. If it don't match, it's a no go.

    The proper non-pen for a kaku dish is 3x3' or 3x4', can't remember off the top of my head.
     
  17. joe diamond

    joe diamond Hall Of Fame

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    Feb 28, 2007
    Rudeney,

    That is where it is! These HSPs tell everyone they are contractors. Self employed contractors are free to quote prices and often miss jobs to lower bidders. They would also be free to trash the DTV suggested price list.

    But it doesn't turn out that way. Misclassification of workers happens all the time. Eventually everyone discovers they are not breaking even and leaves, therefore the high turnover & great service.

    Joe
     
  18. sunoff

    sunoff New Member

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    Jun 1, 2008
    "But regardless of IRS issues, if you guys aren't making any money doing the job, then you should quit. Honestly, why bother?"
    ---Rudeney


    Figure out a way to charge what you need to....or gtfo (get the f out)
     
  19. joe diamond

    joe diamond Hall Of Fame

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    Feb 28, 2007
    Worked for me!

    Joe
     
  20. ThomasM

    ThomasM RF Engineer

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    Jul 20, 2007
    Milwaukee, WI
    Right. Cable installers never make such errors or disappoint customers... :icon_lol:
     

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