[Mods - please tack this thread.] Hi Folks, This thread is intended to educate all DirecTV subscribers about how DirecTV manages their equipment, and the limitations on customers when ordering equipment. On February 28, 2006, DirecTV ended their former practice of *selling* receivers to customers, who would then own those receivers. As of March 1, 2006, new customers or customers upgrading receivers began getting additional up-front discounts, but the equipment provided was no longer "owned", but rather was leased. Leasing receivers offers several advantages: - Allows DirecTV to lower the up-front cost of expensive receivers, making it easier for customers to afford the receiver setup they want. - Allows for better (cheaper) upgrade offers, again because of the lower up-front cost of the receivers. - Allows for receivers that are returned, by customers who have upgraded or canceled service, to be refurbished and recycled into the field. - Allows DirecTV to afford to replace leased receivers for the cost of shipping (around $20) if they break. Owned receivers only had a 90-day warranty, and if you didn't carry the Protection Plan, and your owned receiver died, you had to buy a replacement. For an expensive receiver like an HD-DVR, that could mean a $500 or more savings for a lease customer. Of course, the lease program also has some disadvantages: - DirecTV requires a 2-year programming commitment, starting from the activation date of any leased receiver. Early Termination Fee (ETF) for canceling prior to your commitment expiration date is $20 x months remaining. All new and upgrade leased receiver activations reset the commitment to 24 months. Owned receiver activations and "dead receiver" replacements do not (or at least, are not supposed to) reset the commitment. [Always ask to be transferred to the Access Card Team to activate an owned or replacement receiver, and be very clear that this should not reset your commitment. Other CSRs don't have the ability to activate a receiver without the computer extending the commitment.] - Because DirecTV needs to be able to recycle all of the returned leased receivers they get back, DirecTV does NOT promise, advertise, or guarantee that you will receive any particular model or submodel of receiver. You are only guaranteed to receive a model from a specific class of receiver. As of this writing, those classes are: - Standard-Definition (SD) receiver [i.e., D11, D12] - SD-DVR [i.e., R15, R16, R22] - High-Definition (HD) receiver [i.e., H20, H21, H23, H24, H25] - HD-DVR [i.e., HR20, HR21, HR22, HR23, HR24] If a CSR suggests, implies, agrees, or promises you that you will receive a specific receiver model, that CSR is either poorly-trained and wrong, or is lying to you to get you off the phone. CSRs have NO WAY of specifying a specific model of receiver; the computer ordering system only allows a receiver CLASS to be ordered.* A CSR may offer to add "notes" to your work order requesting a specific receiver model. These notes HOLD NO WEIGHT and installers not only may not receive those notes, but are allowed to ignore the notes completely. A note on your work order means almost nothing, because the installer is required to follow the work order, or if possible, modify it as needed, but work orders do NOT specify model numbers, only classes, and the installer will only have the receivers assigned to his truck/van that day. DirecTV specifically does NOT track the individual model numbers on an individual tech's truck, and DirecTV has a very large number of independent subcontractors, who aren't even a part of DirecTV's internal inventory system, and will never be. So, given the current business structure, it isn't possible to track receivers down to that level, and even if it was possible, it isn't in DirecTV's best interest. Tracking receivers at that level would cost a LOT of money in time and effort and programming, and would ultimately not gain them much if anything. The bottom line is: if you call DirecTV as a new customer, or as an existing customer for an upgrade, and DirecTV sends a tech, or, for certain upgrades, ships a receiver, YOU WILL GET WHATEVER RECEIVER MODEL IS AVAILABLE, with refurbs being the first priority to deploy. It isn't in DirecTVs financial interest to buy more new equipment if they have unused refurb equipment available, so refurbs get shipped first, until they run out. So, how do you get the specific receiver model that you want? Simple: For a leased receiver, order the receiver model you want from a DirecTV retailer, either local or online, rather than directly from DirecTV. Yes, that means you will probably pay full lease price, and will have to give up any additional discounts that DirecTV may be offering. Note that this receiver will be a lease; you are NOT "buying" it, and you WILL have a 2-year commitment when you activate it. Another method is to buy the receiver you want outright. Most folks look for used, owned receivers on eBay or Craigslist, or right here on DBSTalk.com. Just be sure to get the Access Card number and RID number and check the receiver with DirecTV to ensure that it is: - owned, not leased - has no outstanding balance on it, and - can be transferred to another account. You will need to obtain a new access card from DirecTV to use an owned receiver that was previously activated on another account. NOTE: leased receivers CANNOT be transferred from account to account per DirecTV policy, and are therefore "unusable.". The third method, for those wanting to OWN their receiver AND have it NEW, is to call DirecTV and ask to purchase an OWNED receiver. This is a fairly unusual request and many CSRs will tell you it can't be done, but it can. The Access Card department will know. Yes, you'll likely pay MSRP for it, but it will be new, and will be owned. The fourth method is to purchase an HR21 Pro, which was never leased, and was intended to be SOLD (rather than leased) by retailers, for customers looking to own a receiver. Hopefully this will help clear up one of the most common questions we get here at DBSTalk.com. *Yes, there ARE a handful of exceptions where specific models are sent out. For example, in markets that don't have HD locals available via satellite, if you plan to use an OTA antenna for HD locals, you can advise DirecTV that you need your receiver to have OTA capability, and they will send you a refurb H20 or HR20, which are the only models to have built-in OTA tuners. Of course, you give up certain capabilities: the H20 has no networking capabilities (no Whole Home service) and the HR20 can't do 3D.