Saturday, May 15, 2010

DirecTV Questionable Dishonest Business Practice (aka Bait and Switch)

Wow, did DirecTV hose me.  I had called to cancel and switch to DishNetwork based on the fact that the service had become too expensive (~$90/month) and I didn't want to pay a few hundred dollars for a few new high definition receivers.  They enticed me not to switch by offering me the receivers for free and a $20 discount on my bill.  When they actually came to install the gear, they installed different equipment than they'd committed to.  When I called back in I was told they'd never signed up for the high definition DVR's and that I was welcome to cancel.  I escalated it, more because I was ticked that they'd suckered me and got nowhere, not even an apology.

I wrote the letter below and then waited for a bit.  After not getting a response from my earlier calls to speak to a manager, I called back into cancel.  Apparently their cancellation desk has a little more leeway than their customer service desk and they ended up apologizing profusely and giving me what they'd originally promised.

Here's the letter I submitted.  The response I got back was, "We show you got what you wanted in the end".  No "We screwed up." No "I'm sorry for your inconvenience".

Disappointing.

To: Ellen Filipiak, VP of Customer Care
CC: Michael Palkvoic, EVP of Operations, Better Business Bureau

Hi Ms. Filipiak,
I've been a subscriber with DirecTV for a long time and very happy with the service. I'm writing to express my concern about a dishonest transaction that happened in your department. I am cc'ing the Better Business Bureau and Michael Palkovic on this as well.

Due to the costs associated with upgrading my existing DVRs to HD, I had recently called DirecTV to cancel my service to switch to Dish Network. On that call, I was offered two new HD DVR receivers at no cost if I stayed with DirecTV. I agreed, but that was not what was installed. When I called to ask about the mix-up, I was told that what they were only giving me the HD receivers, not DVRs, and that I must have misunderstood.

I asked them to go back and listen to the call and what was committed. I shared that the rep I spoke with had some English language challenges that might have accounted for the mix up.

I would not have switched from DVRs to straight receivers. I was very clear on the call as to what I was told about getting the DVRs, and frankly, I was surprised I was getting such a great deal.

I am going to move forward with the cancellation of my account and switching to Dish Network because of this incident and I thought you should be aware of it. Through this incident, I go from being a happy long-time customer of DirecTV to someone who sees DirecTV as a company with questionable business practices.

Thanks,
Dave Kurt

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