DirecTV: The Story of Bad Customer Service

UPDATED: http://weblogs.asp.net/jgaylord/archive/2008/06/09/directv-the-saga-continues.aspx 

I've had DirecTV service for 3 years now. During all 3 years I've subscribed to the premium package, the NFL Sunday Ticket, and NHL Center Ice. I have high-definition service with DVR capabilities. So, I pay a decent amount each month to DirecTV. Over the past 3 years I've also had my share of customer service "experiences." When I wanted to upgrade to the HD-DVR receiver, I had to talk to the customer retention department to try to get some money off the receiver. Comcast, at the time, was new to our area and had a great HD/DVR offer for new customers. I finally received some credit for my HD service. When the installer came out, he threw my old dish off my house breaking it into little pieces and leaving a hole in the yard. They also took my old receiver. I called up and complained and all they did was leave the old receiver on the porch.

Since I've had the DVR service, my receiver displays a message that it's Searching for service in tuner 2... 771. Obviously this is because I have only 1 cable line plugged into my receiver. Funny thing is, most receivers from their competitors including Comcast, Verizon, and the Dish Network, don't require 2 cable lines. I used to be able to reboot the receiver and it would work fine. However, one of the updates about a month ago really botched it up. I placed numerous calls to customer service and spent a ton of hours on the phone. This last time they were going to send me a new receiver. I asked to speak to customer retention and wouldn't you know, they actually knew more about my issue than customer service. They told me the only two options I had were to (1) record a channel that had that message and then click over to a new channel (I could delete the recording) as this would force the receiver to tuner 1, or (2) purchase a single wire multi-switch from a third party (roughly $300). I also found out that DirecTV has offered single wire mutli-switch's to select customers for a year now. So, I called them up again and asked for one. I was told that I couldn't get one until they were out of their beta period. I emailed customer service and received this message back:

"I understand that you would like to order a Single-Wire Multi-switch . At this time the Single Wire Multi-switch (SWM) is still being tested by our installers, in select areas only. Our systems automatically determine if SWM is right for your household - based on your equipment and location.

The Single Wire Multi-switch (SWM) is not available for purchase yet but we hope to have it widely available for installation soon."

I've even threatened to leave but have not had any luck with DirecTV support. So, here are my options. I can either (a) stick it out with DirecTV and wait another n years until the SWM is out of beta testing (b) leave DirecTV for a different service and lose out of the NFL Sunday Ticket. At this point, I'm not sure what I'm going to do because I hate having to deal with canceling service and subscribing to new service. But, I might not have much of a choice.

Published Monday, June 2, 2008 9:45 AM by Jason N. Gaylord
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