Polska Brain Jelly

A plea for help

by on Mar.25, 2009, under TV

I’ve sent an email to the CEO of DirecTV today in the hopes that he’s a reasonable person and can do something other than rudely regurgitate the company line about no cancellation fee waivers.  Below is a copy of the email (edited out names and other personal info).

Mr. Carey,

My name is Me (edited), and I’m a recent DirecTV customer.  I signed up for DirecTV back in January because DirecTV had the best deal on HD programming for the price.  I used the online portal to sign up, and included in my order were local channels.  The install went fine, and everything was going well until I tried to find the local channels.  It turns out DirecTV doesn’t offer local channels in my area, a fact that wasn’t told to me when I signed up for the service, nor when the service was installed.  I learned this only after I called customer service because I could not find them.  If I had known that local channels weren’t available, I would not have chosen DirecTV, as there are several shows that my family watches on these channels.  I wanted to cancel when I found out, but the customer service rep I spoke with said I could get a waiver for the national affiliates.  She said that the waiver might take up to 45 days to go through, and I wanted to give DirecTV a chance to fix the problem.  Approximately 45 days later I get a postcard from DirecTV stating that the waivers had been denied for all but two stations, Fox and PBS.  I called customer service again, and was basically told that DirecTV couldn’t do anything but submit the waiver again sixty days later, but that I could try an antenna to pick up the locals.  I installed an antenna on my roof, however I only pick up one local: Fox.  I’m simply too far from the towers to get a signal.
Since I was told in the beginning that I would get locals with my service, and since I had gone above and beyond to let DirecTV fix the problem and tried myself to resolve the issue, I wanted to cancel my service and get service with someone who provides locals.  I called customer service again and asked for cancellation.  I explained why and the customer service rep offered to put in the waivers again (which made me wonder why that couldn’t have been done when I had called previously instead of being told I would have to wait sixty days).  I declined, stating that I just wanted to get service that provided locals.  I was advised that there would be a cancellation fee, and I asked that be waived since DirecTV offered a service that it couldn’t deliver, which was the reason I was canceling in the first place.  The CSR told me she couldn’t waive the cancellation fee, that I would have to wait until it was levied and then dispute it with the billing department.  I asked to be transferred to the billing department so that I could get the fee waived with them.  I was told the only way to contact the billing department was via the website or through the postal service.  At this point I asked for a supervisor.  I was connected to Christy (Floor Manager, ID 409977).  Christy was confrontational from the beginning, basically stating that the fee wouldn’t be waived regardless of if DirecTV offered services it couldn’t deliver on because I had activated the equipment (I really hope somebody reviews the recording of that call placed on March 23rd, 2009 approximately 7:45 pm Central). I explained to Christy that I would never had signed up for the service much less activated the equipment if I had known that locals were not available.  Christy said that didn’t matter, I was responsible for the cancellation fee and that I couldn’t contact billing directly.  I asked for her supervisor and she said he didn’t take phone calls.  I asked for his name (Basil), his ID number (she wouldn’t give it) and his title (Floor Manager).  When asked why her supervisor had the same title she did and didn’t take calls, she said she had misspoken and that he wasn’t available to take calls (again, I hope someone reviews that recording).  Shortly after, the call ended with me feeling like I had just been scammed. 
Mr. Carey, I had no ill feelings with DirecTV going into the cancellation.  I understand that sometimes mistakes happen, and I worked with DirecTV to resolve the issue.  It just didn’t work out in this instance and I wanted to move on with the possibility of coming back to DirecTV if and when locals were available.  I now feel like DirecTV is forcing me to pay for their mistake (stating locals were available when they weren’t) or intentionally deceived me and performed a bait and switch.  After my conversation with Christy, I’m beginning to think the latter may be the case.
All I want is the cancellation fee waived.  I cannot believe that I’m being treated the way I am when I have given DirecTV so many opportunities to try and resolve this issue after being promised a service it couldn’t deliver. 
Me(edited) (Account XXXXXXXXXXXX)
Fingers crossed.

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