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May 14, 2010

DirecTV Before My Day Started

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

Maybe I just didn’t fully grasp what the customer service representatives were saying. Maybe it was too early in the day.

This morning at a rather early hour of 5:35, I went online to check and download my DirecTV bill. When I punched in www.directv.com, I was met with an ad touting DTV’s latest upgrade — Whole Home DVR Service. Essentially, if a subscriber has a high-definition DVR and either another HD DVR or a regular HD receiver, DirecTV can now network these receivers and allow the non-DVR to view recorded DVR content. As someone who fit this category, my interest was piqued. There have been several times when I wanted to watch my recorded content, but I found myself in my bedroom where my non-DVR exists.

The Whole Home DVR Service by DirecTV sounded like something I would like.

I called DirecTV customer service and inquired about Whole Home. The CSR checked my account and found that I had the requisite receivers already, but I would require a service call to install new networking equipment at the satellite to allow for the Whole Home service to be activated.

The agent told me:

1. There would be a monthly $3 charge for this service, which was not outrageous. DirecTV charged $7 a month for their DVR service and with the increase, it would be inline with what Cablevision charges for their sub-par DVR service.

2. I would need to “commit” to staying with DirecTV for two more years. Currently, I am out of my previous “commitment” period. But since I am not leaving DirecTV, the two-year “commitment” was not unreasonable.

3. A technician would have to come out to the house and install the new networking equipment at the satellite. But this where I got a little confused.

The CSR said that the charge for the technician to come out to the house and install the needed equipment was $99. Fine. It is OK to charge for this installation. But then she told me that there would be another $49.99 installation charge on top of that initial $99 charge, bringing the bill (with tax) to over $158.

I was a little perplexed. Why would I pay $99 for the tech to come out to install this new equipment and then on top of that installation charge, be charged $49.99 for installation? I couldn’t get my arms around this dual installation charge, so I asked. She reiterated what she had just told me — there is a $99 charge for the tech to install the new equipment and a $49.99 installation charge.

Confused, I asked one more time and I received the same answer.

So I asked why I was being charged twice for installation? Is that $99 charge for the equipment and not for installation? No, she said, $99 to install the new equipment and $49.99 additional installation charge. Instead of getting into an argument, I thanked her for her time and hung up.

Now, I figured that maybe I got an agent who didn’t get the complete memo on this service and she got her charges mixed up. Thinking I would get an agent with a better grasp of the service, I call back. Much to my surprise, I received the same information from a new customer service representative. After telling the new agent that the charges didn’t make any sense — charge me once for installation, not twice — I hung up the telephone.

Thankfully, by the time of the second telephone call, it was a little after 6am and it was getting to be time for Morning Prayer. I poured a cup of coffee and left for church.

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