We’ve been DirecTV customers since 2000 and have never had a bad experience with them.
Until this year. More specifically, the past couple months, which have been frustrating enough to leave me wondering if Dish Network is really an option or not.
March: New Home Install
The story begins in March, when we moved to the new house. We used DirecTV’s movers’ service, which is where you leave your dish behind and bring your receivers, and they’ll install everything for free to get you up and running at the new house.
When we ordered that, I also said I wanted to upgrade by adding a receiver in my office. No problem. The installers came out and we got everything hooked up, except one problem: My office wasn’t correctly wired for DirecTV. It was my fault. So, we skipped that part of the install. I said I’d have the wiring done soon and add DirecTV in the office when it was done.
Adding an Office Receiver
It took a while, but we eventually got the office wired for DirecTV. I contacted them to setup the new service, but they indicated that I’d have to pay full price for the HD DVR and to have it installed — about $250 total.
DirecTV gives receivers away to pretty much anyone who asks, so why did I have to pay full-price? Their phone and email support wasn’t being helpful, so I complained on Twitter about this and was contacted by someone on their social media support team.
I said the office receiver install was supposed to be part of the move back in March, and it was going to be free then, so why did I have to pay now? After a few emails back and forth, they relented and said they’d give me the receiver for free even though company policy was to treat this as a separate install from the one in March.
Despite their offer, I told them to forget it — I said I’d pay for the receiver if that’s what company policy dictates. I ordered it online and setup an install for two days later.
The Office Install
The installer shows up and gets me connected … but he installed an HR-20 receiver which was the one introduced in 2008. Can you imagine ordering a new car and the dealer giving you a model that’s four years old? The installer felt as bad about it as me and said they were out of stock of the current model (HR-24).
The receiver worked fine, but had a couple concerns:
- It ran REALLY HOT. Like, you didn’t want to touch it for more than a couple seconds.
- Because the receiver is so old, the installer had to connect an extra gizmo to the receiver, along with about 4 extra wires, in order to get it to work with the “Whole Home DVR” system. The extra gear was ugly and took up a lot of space.
I contacted support again and said, You know … since I paid full price for an HD DVR, how about you give me the current model, not one that’s four years old?
The reply had this long spiel about how ALL DirecTV equipment is top-notch, even the old stuff, and DirecTV has the best equipment in the industry, even the old stuff, and I should really be happy with the old stuff. Oh, but since I’m complaining, they’ll order a current model from a different warehouse and ship it to me.
The New Receiver Arrives
The new receiver got here on Thursday and, since I just had an install less than a week ago, DirecTV said I would be able to just hook it up myself and things would work fine.
Turns out that they sent me a lemon. Yes, it was a current model — but it was refurbished and wasn’t fixed correctly. It wouldn’t recieve any programming. Black screen. No sound, no picture. Nothing.
I spent an hour on the phone with them and after getting nowhere, they setup a tech support visit the next day (Friday). When the technician arrived, he spent about 45 minutes here and ended up confirming the obvious: the receiver was a dud.
So, we setup an appointment for him to come back tomorrow with another HR-24 that he hoped/thought they had in stock.
The Other New Receiver
He did have a new HR-24 in stock and got it all setup in about a half-hour and I’m currently enjoying having DirecTV in my office. It’s a blast to be able to sit in my office at night and watch/listen to SportsCenter while writing and getting other work done.
I’m still a bit chuffed about having to pay full-price for a receiver that they were going to give me for free when we first moved in.
And then last night, when I clicked on the email telling me it was time to pay my DirecTV bill, I got more than a bit chuffed when I logged in and saw this ad on my account page:
DirecTV, you frustrate me so.