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Feeling slimed after dealing with D*

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by unixguru, Jun 21, 2012.

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  1. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    I absolutely hate having to deal with D*. Given that this is the season of programming lulls and my unwatched list is getting short I finally overcame my reluctance and ordered an HR34.

    My detailed setup is in my signature. Up until a week ago I had a SWM8 and no DECA, just direct ethernet connection to one of my DVRs. As usual, I refuse to let a D* installer hack put new things in my central wiring location so I obtained and installed a SWM16, wired CCK, DECA adapter, band stop, an green splitters. All my receivers were back to working normally including internet.

    I had not been using Whole-Home so my first call this week was to activate it. Of course I couldn't do it online because my account wasn't marked as having DECA (D* fail #1). So I call an 800# that was on an old card that had been sent to me years ago as a "VIP customer" or so I thought. Nope, it's now the PPV ordering number; agent had to transfer me (fail #2). The English was pretty good and I could understand fine although there was a LOT of other voices in the background that made it a bit difficult. No doubt an offshore (India probably) call-center sweat shop (#3). Took maybe 5 minutes of the agent doing multiple things before it finally appeared as Authorized on my DVR (this suggests systemic flaws - #4). Then agent started doing something without clearly telling me what he was doing; I finally realized he was ordering an equipment replacement for my "old" HR20. I asked him to stop and not do that as I planned on returning it in a few weeks after I got some new equipment. $3/mo more for Whole-Home. I asked about the HD/DVR/Whole-Home @ $20/mo package that I heard about. ONLY for new customers he tells me. 17 years and over $150/mo and they are refusing a $1/mo "discount"! (#5) End of first call.

    So now I'm interested in an HR34. Want to get rid of my H20 (and eventually my HR20 once I'm convinced the HR34+my external drive is stable). Of course I can't order the HR34 online (#6). I call the normal customer number and ask for retention. I tell agent I'm interested in an HR34, that I want to upgrade my H20, and what kind of deal can I get. (Perfect English, clear sound, obviously not offshore. One point credit!) First, I can't upgrade my H20 to HR34. I can ONLY ADD an HR34. But I can immediately call back and cancel my H20. Fail #7. I'm offered free install ($50). How generous to have a grunt come to my house to connect 3 wires and take 30 minutes of my time (I figure it would take me maybe 5 minutes to do same). But HR34 is $399; period. I tell agent there is no way I'm paying anything like that knowing full well that many people are getting it for much less and that if D* continues to treat me like this I'm moving to Dish or cable. Agent says he is not authorized to discount and that he has to talk to supervisor. What seems like 10 minutes pass. He comes back on line and says he is still working on it. Another 10 minutes. (What a great time for a bathroom break.) Finally comes back on the line and offers a $200 credit. Wow (NOT)! At the same time I'm staring at my account online and there is a big splashy loyal customer free HD DVR upgrade - a $199 value. I'm so glad I spent 20 minutes listening to music to get the same credit I could have gotten for another model. I hate wheeling-n-dealing so I grumble a bit and finally accept. Fail #8 for having to spend all this time and frustration when I could have just pushed a button on a web page. Of course it takes another 5 minutes for agent to do all the data entry to order and schedule install (#9 as it would again be one button online).

    Then I ask about AM21N off air tuner. Agent can see it in his system but can't see any way to order it. (It CAN be ordered online but out of disgust I order from Solid Signal instead.)

    Then after all that I'm forwarded to "3rd party verification". English very hard to understand (sounds hispanic). Very noisy connection. Another 5 minutes repeating all the legal CYA and reviewing the order. Repeatedly telling me what a fine product I've acquired and how happy I will be with it. Finally I can say "Yes" and be done with it. Instead of a single button push online. Fail #10.

    "Thank you for being a loyal customer for 17 years"… Why do I feel like I just came from a prostate examine?

    Then I start getting calls from an 800 number. My caller id says "TOLL FREE". I never answer those as they are almost always spam. It never leaves a message. I finally google the number and find out it is D* confirmation robocaller. Is it too much to ask for their call to come up DIRECTV INSTALL??? Or leave a message (even if it is going to keep calling)?? #11. They send an email too - gee, suppose it would be too hard to allow confirmation there (hey, just put a stinking CONFIRM link in the email - ONE BUTTON). Fail #12.

    Now I get to endure an installer. And call back again to turn off and return an H20. And eventually call and return an HR20. And finally call again to order an RVU client when it becomes available. By then my hair will be falling out even faster.

    All for around 300 channels of which we watch maybe 20 regularly. Actually, it's about 5 less than that as they are actually off air channels. Half of the stuff we record is off air. $1900+/year. And should my DVR fail (I will be using external storage with RAID-1 so at least a disk fail won't sink me) I will lose on average 2 months of programming I paid for. Apparently I should be thrilled at the privilege of being a D* customer.

    The grief, cost, and value have passed the breaking point for me. I'm stuck with a new commitment but this is probably my last 2 years of D*.
     
  2. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Do you feel better now?
     
  3. sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    :lol: That was the most overly dramatic post/story I've ever read on here. All that complaining and drama over a 50% discount.
     
  4. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    Then you both missed the points entirely.
     
  5. ATARI

    ATARI Hall Of Fame

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    I think he should have just gotten an antenna and been done with it.
     
  6. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I'd guess the main "point" was to vent, which is fine here.
    I feel a bit slimed by reading the whole thing, but I could have not.
    I could pick at some of your numbers/items, but guess that wasn't your point either, so why do it?
     
  7. usnret

    usnret Icon

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    It's nap time. You will get old very quick fussing like this.
     
  8. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    Why? One way to "get a message" to D*. Sure, I could try to complain directly to D* which, at best, would result in a $10 credit; maybe. Followed immediately by totally ignoring the point.

    To shake people into realizing what a bad deal this is. To suggest that more people should raise hell about this state of affairs. To encourage other companies to try something different/better. To get input on alternatives that work.

    For example, the Channel Master CM 7400, although having some early growing pains, is an excellent step forward from a concept perspective. Free off air PVR with Vudu PPV (same $5.99). $50/year for advanced guide data. Sure, model has some problems but I expect a new model with improvements. They get a bit more content (some HBO & SHO series) and better hardware/software and D* is DEAD in this house. Their hardware/software issues are no worse than D* was with the first HRs.

    Jobs claimed to have "cracked" the TV problem. Said this while Apple TV was already in the market so that isn't it - at least not entirely. Do something like the CM7400 and they will bury D*.

    Maybe dbstalk is only for people who love satellite... not for people more interested in the programming and features...

    As for pointless posts, there are 99% that are more pointless.
     
  9. sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    Are you really comparing Apple to DirecTV? Do you realize how completely unrelated their customer bases are? Apple isn't selling Macbooks to Joe Six Pack wanting to watch his Cowboys on his fancy 27" tube tv by any means necessary.
     
  10. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    In looking over your first post, sure something could be different and better.
    I don't want to be called some Fanboi as they sure as hell aren't perfect, and maybe compared to Apple they fall well behind.
    I've talked to a fair amount of other companies and have suffered much worse service.

    Now as I look at most of your items, most seem to stem from what you've done:

    D* fail:

    1. they've got to be mind readers to know what you've installed yourself?
    2. they changed their number from "years ago"
    3. sometimes I can't understand talking to CSRs in this country
    4. sort of goes back to #1 doesn't it?
    5. I too called about this and my option was to change my old program package to the newer one and it would cost me more, to "save $1"
    6. also goes back to #1
    7. it isn't an "upgrade" to change a non DVR to a 5 tuner DVR, it's a new receiver.
    8. yes it can be a pain dealing with them, but if your account status is up to date it shouldn't be as bad. I've had worse calls with other companies.
    9. it took a whole 5 mins?
    10. so you're upset that they took the time to verify the order.
    11. seems self imposed as with 12
    You may see these differently and I see no problem with that, or being able to bitch/vent here without being harassed, which I'm not trying to.
     
  11. Mike Bertelson

    Mike Bertelson 6EQUJ5 WOW! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Ok everyone, discuss and rant away but please keep it civil and on topic...I'm just sayin'

    Mike
     
  12. jdspencer

    jdspencer Hall Of Fame

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    Thanks, VOS. Your reply makes complete sense. So much so, that I now don't need to read the OP. :)
     
  13. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    At a very high level they aren't that different. If memory serves, Apple's computer sales are around 20% of total revenue. Most Apple households have multiple iPod/iPhone/iPad; multiple Macs; maybe an AppleTV. The vast majority of households are NON-technical; I know several senior citizens with Apple stuff. Cloud sharing is becoming the norm. PPV through iTunes. TV mirroring stuff playing on iPad, etc. Bottom line - mostly unskilled people with complicated setup.

    If someone is part of the unskilled crowd they call and actually get much better phone support or they walk into an Apple store and maybe use the genius bar.

    MULTIPLE levels of service. All the way from hand-holding to savvy people ordering directly. I'm on the extremely savvy end and I've never talked to an Apple sales or support person. I can configure and order their most complicated hardware in less than a minute.

    Another great example. We have iPhones. My son's non-smart phone commitment expired recently. I went on AT&T's web site and went click, click, click and his new iPhone was on it's way. It arrived and I went online and went click and it was activated. A couple of minutes later it was working and the old one was disabled.

    Nothing D* does has to be as complicated as it is. Even if you need hand-holding it could still be much better. For the love of... you can't even go online and click a button to cancel/return a receiver! It wasn't that long ago that you couldn't even activate a new receiver online.

    Everyone should care about this. All this inefficiency does nothing but cost them a LOT of money. And we ALL pay for it.

    I don't even have expensive sports packages and I still pay in excess of $2000/yr for this "service".

    I used to get nickeled-n-dimed by the local phone monopoly too. Very similar situation. Charging me to allow their hardware to pass caller id through to me. Fee this fee that. Can't block callers or a multitude of other little things without calling and no doubt paying. They aren't in my house any longer. OOMA blows them away on every count.
     
  14. txfeinbergs

    txfeinbergs Legend

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    Wow, I read the whole thing. All I can ask is how do you get through each day without having a heart attack?
     
  15. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    To resync the context here after my followup was deleted along with another reply, here is my Apple comparison again...

    The post is more about the overall experience. Have you ever ordered a computer from Apple? Apparently Apple feels that it's customer base is smart enough to figure out how to customize a computer order. Depending on the model, how many processors and what speed, how much memory (and gee it can even tell you what memory config is allowed based on how many processors!), how many disks or SSDs at what speed, etc, etc. Apple... which sells mostly to non-technical people.

    If Apple was D* I would be on the phone for an hour to buy a computer. A thousand other people would be ordering at the same time and dozens of different prices for the same thing. Apple may be a small premium (all things considered) but it's powerful, simple, and WORKS. Check out the company valuation and stock price to see which way wins. D* is apparently full of MBA fools that learned how to do business the old fashion way - badly.
     
  16. Beerstalker

    Beerstalker Hall Of Fame

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    Sure, you can do this with DirecTV too. You even said yourself you could have ordered an HD-DVR for free from their website and it would have been sent to you.

    As far as the HR34, they just don't have it set up to be ordered online yet in all markets because it is still limited somewhat in availability. So you might have to call in to order it. Is it really that big of a deal. If you really wanted to order it online so bad you could have went to SolidSignal, or many other websites and done so easily.

    The problem is you expected a discount on the HR34, which isn't something DirecTV just hands out to anyone. If you want that discount you have to work for it. Did you expect a discount on your son's iPhone or did you pay the same $199/299 that everyone else pays for it when renewing their contract? If you were ok with paying the same $199/299 for it then why weren't you ok with paying the same $399 for the HR34 that most people are expected to pay?
     
  17. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    "I think" the big difference here is DirecTV is "installer based", as none of this is a stand alone product.
     
  18. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    Of course not. But would it really be that hard to allow customers to update their own information online? Do they necessarily always have correct info in the system even when only their people do the work?

    They have a list of receivers.

    Multiple choice checkbox: dish type; switch type; CCK type if any
    With each receiver: using whole-home checkbox; TV connection type(s); using external drive checkbox

    Put in under an "Advanced Configuration" page. Maybe even present a quiz to authorize an account for advanced configuration access.

    At a very high level there are two kinds of customers. Those that "know" (and "do") and those that don't. Judging from the activity on these forums there are a LOT of people that know and do. A little bit of effort (development) on D* part makes life easier (and cheaper) for them and the people in the know.

    I'm a low-50's retired/disabled software engineer. Having worked in the top tier of the software industry for 25+ years I understand all about customer satisfaction, development effort/cost, market and legal issues, etc, etc. There is no good reason why D* shouldn't do it and plenty of reasons why they should.

    For those customers that don't "know" and "do" then they just need to clean up their phone service and let the installers loose.

    If D* doesn't want anybody but their contractors touching the setup then they should not allow any satellite equipment to be sold directly to consumers.

    Of course this is a minor observation. Smart companies don't repurpose 800 numbers. They close them and start a new one. Or at the very least the first automated message (after language selection) should be "You have reached the Cinema ordering line. If you were looking for customer service, press ...".

    My intent isn't to be harsh about the people. But just what is the purpose of a CSR? To communicate with the customer to take actions that the customer cannot take themselves. Therefore, shouldn't their primary skill be to communicate well in the native language?????

    The agent in retention had perfect communication skill. As for the 3rd party verification... If all they are going to do is recite legal and CYA crap then why isn't it a prerecorded message that we can understand?

    There is really no excuse for this from any company.

    That's a terminology thing that is all D* problem, not customers. I have box XYZ that I pay $6/mo for. I want a different box with more features. I already have other DVRs so the DVR fee is mute. I'll still pay $6/mo for this new thing. Only question should be how much does it cost to "purchase" the lease for the new features.

    Imagine a granny calling and wanting to do this. Why does D* make the CUSTOMER jump through the hoop of ordering a NEW ADD device and then doing a separate transaction to cancel/return the old?? It's crap customer service, plain and simple.

    Nothing by itself but adds up. Ridiculous that it's needed at all.

    Of course not. The way it is done. Could have been robot speaking clearly to me and then press # to confirm. Or hang up and not listen to it and click confirm in email.


    None of this jumps out as horrible by itself but the accumulated incompetency is a great example of why this country is going down the tubes. Like I said, I used to work for huge supposedly technically literate company - most of them are just as bad or worse. It's never going to get better if people don't start complaining more loudly.
     
  19. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    [again] I'm not saying their system is good or the best.
    "I'd guess" most customers don't really have a clue as to what they have or what they need for adding hardware, so I'm not sure how well a webpage "customer updating" would work.
    The technology has been evolving with SWiM, DECA, 5 tuner DVRs, and the RVU clients.
    DirecTV has also added a verification in the install process to activate receivers.

    Working within their system might not be as hard as working from outside of their system.

    I know this because I've done a lot of my own additions and things only sync'd with my online account after a had the mover's connection and an installer out. On his work order was an IV verification for a DVR I'd had for maybe two years.
     
  20. Beerstalker

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    Considering half of the DirecTV installers out there get confused and are flat out wrong about some stuff I can't imagine how screwed up some people's accounts would get if they were allowed to update their systems on DirecTVs website. Like the installer recently telling someone they can't have SWM and use ethernet for internet/MRV. That is plain wrong, I've been doing it for years now.

    Sure some of us on here know enough and would be able to do it easily, but I would guess 99% of their subscribers would just get confused by it, or royally screw it up because they think they know what they are doing.
     
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