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Directv Upgrade Woes


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12 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   walks357

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 06:58 PM

Just a vent (and a question) here....

I was scheduled for an upgrade to the new 5 LNB dish and replacement HD receiver last month. The contractor, Mastech, called to cancel that appointment and scheduled me for the first week of Jan. An installation guy showed up and said immediately "I need a 40 foot ladder for this job and I don't have one with me". So another appointment was made for today. Another installation guy shows up today (different from the first guy) and says "I need to take down your OTA antenna because the new 5LNB dish comes with an OTA that you have to use and I also can't install the dish because you are going to need a piece of wood installed on the side of your house to support the bigger dish. (My current dish is mounted on the side of my house.) You need to call Directv and reschedule." Before jumping in his truck to drive off I asked him to explain why he needed to remove my current OTA antenna and he insisted that my current antenna would not work with the new receiver. Obviously this guy has no clue as to what he is talking about and I have no confidence these guys can do this installation. I called Directv tonight to explain this situation and let them know I did not think their contractor was qualified to complete this upgrade. Directv's response was that this was the only contractor in my area (northern VA) and then they rescheduled the installation for the end of Jan.

Anybody out there have any recommendations on other options I might want to pursue? Should I find another contractor (there are a couple of qualified companies in the area - Fairfax Antenna installed my current dish). I've already been charged $99 for this upgrade which should include a 5 LNB dish and new HD receiver. Am I stuck with the incompetent contractor from Directv?

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#2 OFFLINE   Earl Bonovich

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 07:01 PM

Sadly... If you want the "upgrade" offers, you will probably have to go with what ever contractor they send to you.

I would try to get intouch with a "higher" level person at that installation company and talk to them, as the rep today clearly didn't have a clue.

(What kind of finish is on the outside of your house now, that it could support a 3LNB, but not the 5LNB... I know it is bigger... but it is not "that" much bigger, that the proper anchors wouldn't work)
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#3 OFFLINE   walks357

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 09:14 PM

My house siding is 'masonite' which is basically something like pressed cardboard. It's not a very good material (and no longer manufactured). I'm not sure how my current dish is anchored but I've had no problems with it for several years.

You may be right, I may not have a choice through Directv as far as installers go...

#4 OFFLINE   hamltnh

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 09:47 PM

Just a vent (and a question) here....

I was scheduled for an upgrade to the new 5 LNB dish and replacement HD receiver last month. The contractor, Mastech, called to cancel that appointment and scheduled me for the first week of Jan. An installation guy showed up and said immediately "I need a 40 foot ladder for this job and I don't have one with me". So another appointment was made for today. Another installation guy shows up today (different from the first guy) and says "I need to take down your OTA antenna because the new 5LNB dish comes with an OTA that you have to use and I also can't install the dish because you are going to need a piece of wood installed on the side of your house to support the bigger dish. (My current dish is mounted on the side of my house.) You need to call Directv and reschedule." Before jumping in his truck to drive off I asked him to explain why he needed to remove my current OTA antenna and he insisted that my current antenna would not work with the new receiver. Obviously this guy has no clue as to what he is talking about and I have no confidence these guys can do this installation. I called Directv tonight to explain this situation and let them know I did not think their contractor was qualified to complete this upgrade. Directv's response was that this was the only contractor in my area (northern VA) and then they rescheduled the installation for the end of Jan.

Anybody out there have any recommendations on other options I might want to pursue? Should I find another contractor (there are a couple of qualified companies in the area - Fairfax Antenna installed my current dish). I've already been charged $99 for this upgrade which should include a 5 LNB dish and new HD receiver. Am I stuck with the incompetent contractor from Directv?


Couple of comments--I had my 5 LNB installed a couple of weeks ago by Mastec--a pole mount--I ended up having to finish the job by installing extra supports/braces, etc and performing the precision alignment myself. After the experinece you had, DirecTV should be paying you. I negotiated the new dish and 2 H20's for $0 out of pocket and an then received an additional $60 credit because I had to finish the job. You will probably have to keep playing installer roulette until you find a competent tech. They do work on Saturdays and Sundays, so I suggest a weekend appt. and keep a very close eye the tech. I still have an OTA, but it is in my attic--I'm guessing yours was attached to the dish? Call customer retention and negotitiate a new deal--this upgrade should cost you $0 and you should receive some credits for your time and trouble.

#5 OFFLINE   bpratt

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 09:41 AM

I know it is bigger... but it is not "that" much bigger, that the proper anchors wouldn't work)

Actually, the new dish and mast is about 35 pounds. The 3 LNB dish and mast is much less.

#6 OFFLINE   redskin9

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 07:29 AM

Just a vent (and a question) here....

I was scheduled for an upgrade to the new 5 LNB dish and replacement HD receiver last month. The contractor, Mastech, called to cancel that appointment and scheduled me for the first week of Jan. An installation guy showed up and said immediately "I need a 40 foot ladder for this job and I don't have one with me". So another appointment was made for today. Another installation guy shows up today (different from the first guy) and says "I need to take down your OTA antenna because the new 5LNB dish comes with an OTA that you have to use and I also can't install the dish because you are going to need a piece of wood installed on the side of your house to support the bigger dish. (My current dish is mounted on the side of my house.) You need to call Directv and reschedule." Before jumping in his truck to drive off I asked him to explain why he needed to remove my current OTA antenna and he insisted that my current antenna would not work with the new receiver. Obviously this guy has no clue as to what he is talking about and I have no confidence these guys can do this installation. I called Directv tonight to explain this situation and let them know I did not think their contractor was qualified to complete this upgrade. Directv's response was that this was the only contractor in my area (northern VA) and then they rescheduled the installation for the end of Jan.

Anybody out there have any recommendations on other options I might want to pursue? Should I find another contractor (there are a couple of qualified companies in the area - Fairfax Antenna installed my current dish). I've already been charged $99 for this upgrade which should include a 5 LNB dish and new HD receiver. Am I stuck with the incompetent contractor from Directv?


See the posts of my experience with MASTEC and upgrades under "MPEG4 in D.C. Area". I'd call Fairfax antenna and see what they would charge, they might cut you a break and you have nothing to loose. Good luck.

#7 OFFLINE   mya23rd

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 08:51 PM

Every few weeks I read another post about someone getting screwed by Mastec. There are endless posts on here about how horrible they are, and I myself have had a horrible experience with them on two seperate occasions. There installers, correction, the entire operation is a joke. From the managers to the installers, I wouldn't want any of them touching my equipment or doing anything to my house. Their installers will jerk you around to no end and treat you like crap because they know they can get away with it. Each one of them will have some bs excuse and tell you to reschedule, you'll never see them again and your stuck waiting around all day. It took me 8 seperate installers to get my dish installed and the last one wasn't even a Mastec tech.

My advise, if you can afford it, pay the extra bucks to have someone other than Mastec do the job. You mentioned you are in the NoVa area and as you may have read in other posts, Fairfax Antenna, seems to be a fairly reputable installer. I haven't used them myself but they seem to get very good comments from most people. They sound professional and competent. They are definitely expensive but well worth the peace of mind. After my first horrendous experience with Mastec, I told them to go f..k themselves and paid someone to come do the installation. I can't remember the name of the company because it was a while ago, but it cost me a few hundred bucks but the job was done flawlessly. I had a very strong signal, hardly ever lost the picture, and never worried about the dish when it got really windy.

Like I said, if I were you I would hire someone professional to do the job, it will save you plenty of time and frustration. It really sucks to have to pay for something that you shouldn't have to pay for, but the reality is that if you want the job done right, it's gonna cost you. This issue is really DirecTV's fault, but they don't seem to care or even realize how much damage this is doing to their business and customers. This situaiton has been the case for many years and no matter how many people complain, it doesn't make a bit of difference. Consider the genius idea of having only one contractor handling an entire area, how stupid is that. With some competition from other companies they would have an incentive to do good work, and just from a practical standpoint it leaves customers with no options of they enconter a crappy installer. It really pisses me off, as you can tell.
Good luck to you and let us know how it goes, I hope you can get it worked out.

#8 OFFLINE   walks357

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 10:27 PM

my23rd -

I can see you, unfortunately, have had the same type of experience with Mastec and I've read many a horror story from others who have dealt with them. I think what I'll attempt is to have the next Mastec installer who shows, leave the dish and receiver with me without doing any installation. I don't know if they will do that but I consider it my equipment since I've already paid Directv for it. Then I'll schedule the installation with Fairfax Antenna (they are expensive, but the job will be done right). Directv doesn't seem too concerned with the complaints they are getting about this. Hmmm....I just received an advertisement today from the Dish Network, they are offering a free switch over....I wonder if Directv cares about that?

#9 OFFLINE   redskin9

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 07:02 AM

my23rd -

I can see you, unfortunately, have had the same type of experience with Mastec and I've read many a horror story from others who have dealt with them. I think what I'll attempt is to have the next Mastec installer who shows, leave the dish and receiver with me without doing any installation. I don't know if they will do that but I consider it my equipment since I've already paid Directv for it. Then I'll schedule the installation with Fairfax Antenna (they are expensive, but the job will be done right). Directv doesn't seem too concerned with the complaints they are getting about this. Hmmm....I just received an advertisement today from the Dish Network, they are offering a free switch over....I wonder if Directv cares about that?


DISH won't be any better.They use a contractor called Via Satellite to do their work in No. Va. I had them and was so P_ssed off with their poor service that it prompted me to switch back to D*. You get the same problems and run around. I suggest that you let MASTEC try to take care of you, you might luck out. If not then you can pay someone else to tweek what's wrong, should be a little cheaper. They won't just leave the equipment because you have to sign off on the install and then there is a 90 day warranty period. If you want to be really brutal about it you can keep calling D* about any little issue that can justify a service call (real or made up)and keep having MASTEC come back. They don't get paid for call backs for problems that should have been taken care of the first time. You could also do the above and then not be home on the scheduled day (read blow them off like the installers like to do) and reschedule time and time again. It's probably not a good idea in the long run but what can they do? Blacklist you?
The option that I'm going to pursue is to buy my own meter and do everthing myself (I need to get my dish off the fence where it was temp mounted to get rid of them and put a new 2 in pole in the ground this spring).

By the way. Call D* and tell them you don't expect to pay $99 for the upgrade.Read the posts and see that everyone else has been able to get this waived. Ask for a supervisor to argue your point if you can't get it resolved at a lower level.Good luck and keep us informed.

#10 OFFLINE   tsbrady1

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 08:34 AM

I don't think they will just leave it because the installer will not be paid until it is activated, so I am pretty sure they are required to do the install. I had the same issues with the D* contractor here in the Atlanta area, Ron's TV so this is not isolated in your area, I finally went to Value Electronics and had their local guy do it, he wasn't perfect either but at least he showed up. If D* wants to grow their business by introducing new technology and new equipment they must do a better job of getting competent installers or they will fall flat on their faces.

#11 OFFLINE   mya23rd

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 09:57 PM

I agree with both redskin9 and tsbrady1. The Matec technician will not leave the equipment. They must install it (if they can even manage that) and then have you sign off on it, as others have mentioned. The only way I know that you can get the equipment is to either go to BestBuy or Circuit City, pick up the entire system including dish and receivers. Before you do this you obviously can just cancel your previous order with DTV and go to the store to pick up the equipment. I'm not sure if this has changed in terms of walking out with all the equipment, when I bought my system from Radio Shack a few years back, I paid and walked out with the entire system. By the way, when you buy it from a retailer such as BB or CC, they will ask you if you want to schedule an install. Say yes to this because you can always just cancel the appt when you have gotten someone else to install it. So basically buy the equipment, then make an appt with Fairfax Antenna or whomever to come install it. I don't know maybe you can even buy the equipment from them, if its decently priced. Of course you can also go online to SolidSignal.com or ValueElectronics.com and buy the equipment from them.

Also, don't expect much difference from Dish Network because as was mentioned, they are just as crappy. Before getting DTV I had Dish for a very short time and their installers are just as bad, honestly I woudn't say they are as bad as Mastec to be totally fair, but don't expect excellent service. If DTV is your preference, then do what you have to to get it working. Even if it dents your wallet.

Finally, as tsbrady1 mentioned, DirecTV is very concerned with this issue because if they were they would have done something about it years ago. I seriously wonder if they have any idea how much it is hurting them. But from some statements I've heard from DTV execs, I think they sort of know but just don't care. They are much more concerned with pumping up that subscriber number. A few months ago they hit 15 million customers and anyone who has DTV can remember all the commercials they ran promoting this fact. Maybe if they improved the installation process they would be bragging about 17 or 18 million subscribers, or who knows maybe even more. They are just too short-sighted in my opinion and with this new management and ownership group, who are emphasizng cost cutting and efficiency, the situaiton is going to get worse in my opinion. Also consider the fact that now the installations are getting much more complex with the new 5 LNB dish and new receivers. I read somewhere on one post that an installer admitted to a customer that he has no training on the new dish installaiton and didn't even have a signal meter. Give me a break!!!

Anyway, let us know what happens and I know how frustrating and annoying this whole process can be. It really shouldn't be this much of a pain in the ass.

#12 OFFLINE   redskin9

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 01:55 PM

The last time I checked you can't buy the 5 LNB dish, only rcvrs from BB or CC. You would have to go thru Solid Signal or Value Electronics for the dish. Starting 3/06 it has been announced that D* will begin leasing equipment and that may affect the sales of future rcvrs. They got you anyway you look at it.

Also, past policy by D* dictated that you must schedule installation/activation within 30 days or incur a hefty charge when you were able to purchase the entire system from BB or CC.

#13 OFFLINE   walks357

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 10:36 AM

Just an update on my 5LNB installation. Mastec scheduled me for a morning appointment yesterday (8AM - 12PM). They called at 10:15 to say they wouldn't be there until 1PM - 3PM, but 10 mins. later, the installer called to say he was on his way to my house. He arrived at 10:30AM and the first thing he says is "You need a 40 foot ladder for this house and I don't have one". I pretty much went off on him because this was the third time I scheduled an installation and each installer said "you need a 40 foot ladder...". I specifically had the D* installation shop note the requirement for a 40 foot ladder on the service order.

Anyway, the Mastec guy calls his supervisor and they agree to meet back at my house in an hour and a half with a 40 foot ladder. Three hours later, Mastec calls to say they can't get back to my house until after 5PM. The installer and 2 supervisors show up at 5:10PM. Both supervisors say they can't do the install because of the mounting location (current dish on the side of my house). "The new dish is too heavy, there is no place to mount it, etc., etc." The installer guy said "we're here, we got the ladder, this is the third attempt, let's give it a try." So up he went with the new hardware. He found a suitable location for the mounting plate which appeared to be solid enough to keep the dish up in high winds (hopefully) and he did the install. He even had a meter with him (surprise).

So the bottom line is, the installation is done, I'm getting my local HD stations along with all other D* channels. If it had been left up to the supervisors, the install probably wouldn't have happened, so I'm thankful to the installer for making it happen, but what a nightmare this whole experience has been....




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