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My >90 minutes on the phone with DirecTV


docj

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Today I had a lengthy saga with a series of DirecTV CSR's that ended well, but the sequence of events that comprised the marathon call was downright comical (in a rather perverse way) so I thought it might be worth sharing the experience.

 

Initially, I thought this would be a rather simple call. I have an HR44 Genie and wanted to add a wireless mini-Genie client (C41W). I had purchased and installed the necessary Wireless Video Bridge and I had gone all through the setup of the mini and had gotten to the screen where I was instructed to call DTV for activation (mini-Genies cannot be activated online). That's when the fun began---

 

  1. The first CSR asked me for the serial number of the C41W and then asked me "where did you purchase the Bridge and the mini?" To which I responded--Amazon. She asked me for the serial number of the mini and a few minutes later came back on the line to tell me that it couldn't be activated because it was an already-leased item on someone else's contract which happened to be in Collections.
  2. I told her that the device appeared to be "new in box" and had been purchased from Amazon as new. I asked to be transferred to Retention (which does still exist despite rumors that AT&T had done away with it). Elapsed time at this point ~10-15 minutes.
  3. I was transferred to a CSR in retention who was very pleasant but once again reaffirmed that there was no way she could activate that device. She asked me rather directly "Why did you buy it on Amazon anyway, instead of having us install it?" I told her that was actually none of her business and that I had heard that AT&T was promoting service calls over user-installed equipment and I wouldn't tolerate that. We're at about 30-40 minutes at this point.
  4. Finally, I gave up and agreed to let her schedule a service call if it could be arranged faster than I could order another mini. That seemed easy until I explained that the service call would be in TX even though the billing address for the account is SD. That freaked her out and she put me on hold for another 5 minutes while she apparently verified that we've had a TX service address on the account for 3 years.
  5. So she takes down the address but then was unable for another ~10 minutes to get her system to accept the address of the relatively new ownership RV park we live in. I explained that several of my neighbors have DirecTV so that someone must know where the park is. I offered to show her my deed on the property. Finally, she manages to get the computer to accept the address and we schedule an appointment for next Wednesday. And she even offered to cut my bill by $30/mo for 24 mos if I was willing to take a 24 month contract and the mini would be free with no installation fees. Everything seemed fine and she passed me over to the Verification Dept which has to record that you agree to all of this.
  6. I get sent to Verification at about 70 minutes into the call and that seems pretty perfunctory until I ask that person to verify that this is a C41W being ordered to which he responded "no it's a C41 (wired)". He then explained that he couldn't change the order and the only thing I could do was cancel it and start all over again. :wacko:
  7. So he transfers me back to the queue and I wait another ~10 minutes to get another CSR to whom I explain my tail of woe. She asks me for the serial numbers of the Bridge and the mini and "voila" 5 minutes later she tells me that she had activated the mini. She said that the system needed to activate the Bridge at the same time the mini was activated because the system couldn't activate a mini without having a Bridge to communicate with it. With her still on the phone I redid the PIN number sequence which is used to get mini's to link to the main Genie and amazingly the new receiver was suddenly operational. According to my phone the total elapsed time was 93 minutes.

 

I guess you can say that all's well that ends well and I have verified that I still am getting the $30/mo off my account which now has been annotated as "High Value Customer", but I question whether or not the aggravation was worth it. I did tell tell the final CSR that I thought she was incredible and that I'd buy her a "virtual Margarita", but I wouldn't know where to send it! :D

 

I honestly don't know whether she worked magic with respect to the serial number of my device or what. I did look at it closely afterward and noticed that it had an early 2015 manufacture date, but there was a July 2016 sticker which I bet was from a DirecTV refurb center. What probably happened is that the device was probably originally leased to someone whose account is now in collections, but it was refurbed and sold again to a retailer. Probably when the first and second CSR's couldn't get it to activate they assumed that there was an ownership issue, when, in fact, the problem was probably that they hadn't asked for the serial number of the video bridge. Bottom line this proves once again that if you don't like what a DirecTV CSR is saying, just call back and talk to a different one.

 

If there's a key take away from all of this it's that the new AT&T/DirecTV is taking a rather belligerent attitude about user-supplied hardware. The bottom line is don't take that from them. In no uncertain terms I told the CSR that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of authorized retailers of their hardware and they better not give me any grief about having bought from one of them.

 

Even if this rant doesn't help anyone else, it has made me feel better just recounting it! :P

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I have found. Buying a HDMI switch and running HDMI cable to the other TV in the MH saves me the $7 a month.

Using a Genie with RF remote. :)

 

You might be interested to learn that the two mini-Genie's I now have are costing me <$10/mo total. Apparently client devices no longer incur the full "extra receiver" fee.

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Since I am going to be running 4 HDMI cables from the Genie to 4 TV's that is only saving me a little over $120 a year?

 

But I am doing away with a HR23 & a H25, so really I'm saving $168 plus taxes. The one already shut off was a H21 and that is saving $84 plus taxes.

 

I was OK with paying them $5 month for each lease(3 back then) then they went to $6 and to $6.50 now $7 plus more each year for package. Then the DVR service from $7 to $10 and the DNS both coast from $14 to $20. Over the years my package from $54.49 to $69.99. Then the Genie added $3 Whole Home. Only thing they haven't raised the price on is HD service at $10

 

With no COL SSA raise and AT&T wanting more $ added every year. With the HDMI switch and some cable, my AT&T bill will be lower.

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Take a look at this article. https://reelrundown.com/tv/Secrets-of-Directv You may get some tips about calling DirecTV and making some demands. As a result of yesterday's fracas I am saving $30/mo for two years. That's not an insignificant savings.

 

I think the cable and satellite companies are going to become increasingly sensitive to people becoming "cord cutters". Two of my adult children have just done that at their homes. If I had access to cable or fiber internet at my home base I'd cut the cord in a heartbeat.

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I was OK with paying them $5 month for each lease(3 back then) then they went to $6 and to $6.50 now $7 plus more each year for package. Then the DVR service from $7 to $10 and the DNS both coast from $14 to $20. Over the years my package from $54.49 to $69.99. Then the Genie added $3 Whole Home. Only thing they haven't raised the price on is HD service at $10

 

 

I'm not at all dissing your concerns about price pressure; I already agree that we spend too much on TV. I'd rather preserve the ability to tune TVs to separate channels and look for other ways to cut the costs. Furthermore, our new C41W is in a building adjacent to the MH so wires were not practical and if I had to invest in wireless HDMI I might as well just pay DirecTV for the extra TV IMO.

 

Just an observation, but we have only East Coast DNS for $15 rather than both coasts. We always DVR everything we watch so it's no big deal to us if our shows come on real early when we're in the western time zones. And we dropped back to the next lower programming package which my bill says is $62/mo. From what I can tell all we lose that we cared about is the Weather Channel and that can be easily offset by using the computer.

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Good tenacity. I've always said I consider my self a fair, but insistent customer. I'm fair when things happen, as well 'things happen'! But, I'm insistent on good customer service, and will keep elevating until I feel I've received it.

 

Thanks for sharing your 90 (But bet it seemed like 360!) minutes. And I second your advice about sometimes just calling back and getting a different representative. If I don't feel the person working with me is going to be able to help me, I excuse myself saying I'll have to call back later. Thank them, then move on and call in again. You can get a fill for whether a not a rep has a clue or not. My most frequent reason fro calling, or chatting, is to change service address. When they don't know what "DNS" is, even after explaining it's a mobile account for RV and Boat owners... I just move on.

 

Your post reminds me I need to call and figure out what the ATT and Direct discounts will be by combining. Have never researched it, and need to do so.

 

Best to you, and all,

Smitty

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My call to DISH on Sunday for a billing question. I get the automated service and navigate down to service and am told that there is approx. 8-10 min. wait time. Would I like to hold or get a call back in the same order in which I called. I chose the call back. 10 minutes later I get an automated call back and sit on the phone for 10 minutes waiting for a live person to answer .WTH

 

 

Todd

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