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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Seeking advice: Is damage claim process with DirecTV worth the trouble?


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61 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   jimconnor

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:04 AM

Here is my situation. I switched from Dish to Direct in January. Service has been so-so, but most of the kinks have been worked out. Last week our dish took a direct lightning hit. Two TVs were killed completely, one is still working but lost the HDMI input that satellite connected to. Also lost the HDMI output on the HR34 receiver.

Upon inspection I found that DirecTV installer had come down from the dish and just connected to the existing Dish wiring. The ground wire was just snipped and the whole mess was wrapped in electrical tape and tucked under a downspout.

I feel like the lightning hit was a result of the non-grounded install, which then in turn caused expensive damage to my personal property. I talked to customer service and they opened a damage claim, but I have to submit written professional estimates for the TV repairs.

Here's where I could use advice - is this even worth the trouble? If Direct is most likely going to deny the claim anyway, I don't know if it is worth the effort to haul the TVs around and possibly have to pay for an estimate. I am fairly sure the repairs will be quite expensive compared to the costs of the sets. It's extremely likely I will just be replacing at least two of them versus repairing.

Has anyone been through a similar experience with DirecTV, and how did it work out? Thanks for any help you can provide.

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#2 OFFLINE   domingos35

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:37 AM

Here is my situation. I switched from Dish to Direct in January. Service has been so-so, but most of the kinks have been worked out. Last week our dish took a direct lightning hit. Two TVs were killed completely, one is still working but lost the HDMI input that satellite connected to. Also lost the HDMI output on the HR34 receiver.

Upon inspection I found that DirecTV installer had come down from the dish and just connected to the existing Dish wiring. The ground wire was just snipped and the whole mess was wrapped in electrical tape and tucked under a downspout.

I feel like the lightning hit was a result of the non-grounded install, which then in turn caused expensive damage to my personal property. I talked to customer service and they opened a damage claim, but I have to submit written professional estimates for the TV repairs.

Here's where I could use advice - is this even worth the trouble? If Direct is most likely going to deny the claim anyway, I don't know if it is worth the effort to haul the TVs around and possibly have to pay for an estimate. I am fairly sure the repairs will be quite expensive compared to the costs of the sets. It's extremely likely I will just be replacing at least two of them versus repairing.

Has anyone been through a similar experience with DirecTV, and how did it work out? Thanks for any help you can provide.

sounds like another directv sloppy install.
your best bet is your homeowners insurance

#3 OFFLINE   macfan601

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:39 AM

Here is my situation. I switched from Dish to Direct in January. Service has been so-so, but most of the kinks have been worked out. Last week our dish took a direct lightning hit. Two TVs were killed completely, one is still working but lost the HDMI input that satellite connected to. Also lost the HDMI output on the HR34 receiver.

Upon inspection I found that DirecTV installer had come down from the dish and just connected to the existing Dish wiring. The ground wire was just snipped and the whole mess was wrapped in electrical tape and tucked under a downspout.

I feel like the lightning hit was a result of the non-grounded install, which then in turn caused expensive damage to my personal property. I talked to customer service and they opened a damage claim, but I have to submit written professional estimates for the TV repairs.

Here's where I could use advice - is this even worth the trouble? If Direct is most likely going to deny the claim anyway, I don't know if it is worth the effort to haul the TVs around and possibly have to pay for an estimate. I am fairly sure the repairs will be quite expensive compared to the costs of the sets. It's extremely likely I will just be replacing at least two of them versus repairing.

Has anyone been through a similar experience with DirecTV, and how did it work out? Thanks for any help you can provide.


Have you talked to your Home Owners Insurance Company? Mine is State Farm and they have always replaced anything for me that took a lightening strike or power surge with no hassle. Seems to me there is a $5,000 limit per claim on it though if I remember correctly.

#4 OFFLINE   dpeters11

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:43 AM

But if you file a claim through insurance, doesn't that potentially cause your rates to increase? I know I get a discount for not filing any claims. You have to weigh whether the cost of the deductible plus an increase in rates is worth filing a claim.

#5 OFFLINE   jimconnor

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:45 AM

But if you file a claim through insurance, doesn't that potentially cause your rates to increase? I know I get a discount for not filing any claims. You have to weigh whether the cost of the deductible plus an increase in rates is worth filing a claim.


The deductible is my issue with the homeowners policy. I have a $1000 out of pocket even if they cover it. In all honestly, I can replace both dead TVs for that amount - that's why I hoped to get DirecTV to cover the loss.

#6 OFFLINE   domingos35

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:48 AM

The deductible is my issue with the homeowners policy. I have a $1000 out of pocket even if they cover it. In all honestly, I can replace both dead TVs for that amount - that's why I hoped to get DirecTV to cover the loss.


good luck

#7 OFFLINE   bigglebowski

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:52 AM

Our shop does electronic repair mostly for TVs and I would say you have a better shot at a claim then a lot of claims I have seen over the years. I wont delve into whether or not if there had been a good ground that the result would not have been the same because the complete lack of it is cause enough for them to take care of it.

Having said that in some cases lightning strikes can be easy repairs and should be cheaper than the cost of new sets. I would at least try to get the estimate fees paid for before getting them looked at.

Certainly the one that still works but no HDMI means that one needs a new "main" board. More than likely the others need this too as the hit came in over signal cables rather than power. Any modern TV power supply usually only has a standby 5 volts running and a trigger from the main board will turn on the other voltages to operate the set.

As far as the homeowners, most deductibles we see people have are $500 which would certainly be higher than all 3 repairs. I know Directv will pay this as I know we have done some in the past. In cases like this whether its movers, installers, signal providers or insurance we usually have the customer pay us and let them be the ones to collect the check. While it may not happen as fast as you might like I see no reason this will not be paid for.

Did you lose anything that wasnt a TV or Directv equipment? Do you see a mark on the dish where it was hit?

#8 OFFLINE   hilmar2k

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:56 AM

How would failing to connect the ground wire cause a lightning strike? And even if it had been connected, it would not have helped. That's not the point of the ground wire.

That said, it should have been connected properly, and if that will get DIRECTV to cover your equipment, more power to you.

#9 OFFLINE   jimconnor

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:56 AM

bigglebowski: That's helpful. I see that you happen to be in Charlotte. What area is your shop in? I'm still trying to figure out the best place to take these sets for repair estimates. Just PM me if you don't want to post all the info here.

#10 OFFLINE   samrs

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:58 AM

DirecTv collects the information and forwards it to the installation company.

They in turn get with you to investigate and determine liability. Then make an offer for restitution. They would also make sure your install is up to spec and provide a number for any future issues. Customers are usually right, within reason.
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#11 OFFLINE   jimconnor

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:59 AM

How would failing to connect the ground wire cause a lightning strike? And even if it had been connected, it would not have helped. That's not the point of the ground wire.


I'm no electrician, but from what I have read there is build up of static electricity in the dish over time - the grounding prevents this. Without it, your dish becomes a magnet for lightning. (Maybe completely wrong, but like I said, my training came from Google, so it's not worth much. :) )

#12 ONLINE   WestDC

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 12:00 PM

But if you file a claim through insurance, doesn't that potentially cause your rates to increase? I know I get a discount for not filing any claims. You have to weigh whether the cost of the deductible plus an increase in rates is worth filing a claim.


That's what Insurance is for!!!!

Legit Claims do not carry a threat of increase. Call every month and they will drop you before they raise the rates and you next insurance policy will reflect your past usage history in it's Price increase.
"Let's Have Some Fun!"

#13 OFFLINE   n3vino

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 12:31 PM

How would failing to connect the ground wire cause a lightning strike? And even if it had been connected, it would not have helped. That's not the point of the ground wire.

That said, it should have been connected properly, and if that will get DIRECTV to cover your equipment, more power to you.

I'm not an electrician, but I don't believe grounding prevents a lightining strike. I thought the point of the ground wire was to re-direct the lightining to where the ground wire is attached keeping it away, in this case, from going down the cables to the equipment.

#14 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 12:41 PM

I'm not an electrician, but I don't believe grounding prevents a lightining strike. I thought the point of the ground wire was to re-direct the lightining to where the ground wire is attached keeping it away, in this case, from going down the cables to the equipment.


Quite right.
Question is, is there any proof that a properly grounded dish does not do the job?
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#15 OFFLINE   macfan601

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 01:10 PM

But if you file a claim through insurance, doesn't that potentially cause your rates to increase? I know I get a discount for not filing any claims. You have to weigh whether the cost of the deductible plus an increase in rates is worth filing a claim.


Depends on how many and how often. I make a couple of claims a year and have never had an increase.

#16 OFFLINE   macfan601

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 01:11 PM

The deductible is my issue with the homeowners policy. I have a $1000 out of pocket even if they cover it. In all honestly, I can replace both dead TVs for that amount - that's why I hoped to get DirecTV to cover the loss.


LOL, with that kind of deductible on your Homeowners you really don't save any money. At that rate you might as well self insure.

#17 OFFLINE   hilmar2k

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 01:17 PM

I'm not an electrician, but I don't believe grounding prevents a lightining strike. I thought the point of the ground wire was to re-direct the lightining to where the ground wire is attached keeping it away, in this case, from going down the cables to the equipment.


That little ground wire will not redirect the lightning. The ground wire is to bleed off the static build-up from the dish. Does not protect you from a lightning strike.

#18 OFFLINE   RBTO

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 02:03 PM

Don't know how to answer your original question about whether it's worth filing. I would say it's worth a try.

The ground wire on your dish doesn't drain any charge off the dish - the pole is usually partially grounded itself, and it's unlikely the dish would accumulate any charge. A solid ground (to a local ground rod), however, does play a protection role in that it should divert at least part of a lightning strike. It also assures your dish is not "hot" should there be a failure in electrical wiring somewhere that might electrify your dish and present a personnel hazard. Having the dish grounded doesn't appreciably change the likelihood of having or not having a strike.

If the dish is ungrounded, a good portion of a strike will follow your coax to the nearest ground (likely your receiver) and spread to other ground paths that are connected along the way.

In any case, if the dish were properly grounded, it's very likely less damage would have resulted in the strike. That factor alone, is supportive of a filing, but how Directv will treat your case, I can't address. I would be sure to mention the botched install (specifically the ungrounded dish) in the filling.

Edited by RBTO, 30 May 2012 - 02:08 PM.


#19 OFFLINE   hilmar2k

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 02:21 PM

Don't know how to answer your original question about whether it's worth filing. I would say it's worth a try.

The ground wire on your dish doesn't drain any charge off the dish - the pole is usually partially grounded itself, and it's unlikely the dish would accumulate any charge. A solid ground (to a local ground rod), however, does play a protection role in that it should divert at least part of a lightning strike. It also assures your dish is not "hot" should there be a failure in electrical wiring somewhere that might electrify your dish and present a personnel hazard. Having the dish grounded doesn't appreciably change the likelihood of having or not having a strike.

If the dish is ungrounded, a good portion of a strike will follow your coax to the nearest ground (likely your receiver) and spread to other ground paths that are connected along the way.

In any case, if the dish were properly grounded, it's very likely less damage would have resulted in the strike. That factor alone, is supportive of a filing, but how Directv will treat your case, I can't address. I would be sure to mention the botched install (specifically the ungrounded dish) in the filling.


I would say that the lion's share of dishes are not pole mounted.

#20 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 02:28 PM

That little ground wire will not redirect the lightning. The ground wire is to bleed off the static build-up from the dish. Does not protect you from a lightning strike.


What guage wire would one need, then?
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