Directv Sucks

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First of all, the reason I have Directv is simple: NFL Sunday Ticket is the only way you can be guaranteed to be able to watch the team of your choosing every week. Go Colts!

That said, let’s go through all of the negatives:

  • Poor reception. The slightest wind will blow your dish offbase, causing you to miss an important Jeopardy answer or Peyton Manning touchdown. For all of the advertising of HD quality, the highly compressed broadcast you receive from Directv is much lower quality than local broadcast HD.
  • Horrible DVR. OK, it works. But you need to push “Play” or “Pause” or any other button, then wait for three to five seconds for the box to respond. Where, oh where, is my Tivo?
  • Penny-pinching, Pound-foolish Directv policies. Our bedroom DVR went down last month. Their solution was to send us a replacement box. We do the installation ourselves. They still charged us $20 for their faulty box. $5 for talking to a live customer agent. A series of small fees that show up on your bill. Speaking of which …
  • Billing issues. Our first three bills were completely wrong. All of them needed to be readjusted to get us what we ordered in the first place. Directv drained so much money from my credit card, we didn’t have to pay them again for FOUR MONTHS. We immediately took ourselves off automatic billing, since it was clear these people were not to be trusted.
  • Opaque Services. We get Directv for the football games, right? On the second Sunday of the season, we set up the (oh so terrible) DVR to record the three games we’re interested in and go out to visit friends for the day. We return. Turn on the TV. Black space in each recording. Call to customer service. “What’s wrong with our service?” “Mr. Steussy, I see you don’t have the SuperFan package. That gives you HD. It’s another $100 for the season.” “What??!! No one said anything about that! There’s nothing on your website about this! And we watched the games last week on HD with no problems!” “Maybe we had them on for free last Sunday, but you need SuperFan to watch HD.” “(expletives) I’m already in for $300 for the season – which is non-refundable, right?” “Right” “F***! Go ahead and screw me for the extra hundred dollars. Now turn on a switch so I can see my football games.” “Thank you sir. You’ve now been charged and it’s not refundable. Do you mean the football games you already recorded today?” “Yes.” “We can’t do that.” “F***!”
  • Two year commitment. Why? Is it like you’re giving us something? The cellphone company at least give us a DAMN PHONE. We don’t get anything from you. When we quit the service, we need to ship back all of the equipment, or you’ll charge us insane retail rates for those boxes. I know – it’s happened to me before.

My thought is that the executives at Directv clearly see their future – there isn’t one. The end won’t come as quickly as it will for newspapers, but the writing is on the wall. The future of TV, movies and sports will be delivery over the Internet. That way, the NFL gets rid of the middleman and pockets my (oh-so-painful) $400 (that should only have been $300). The future is already here with AppleTV and Netflix-over-XBox, and it’s only going to get bigger.

The other TV services (cable and Verison FIOS) aren’t looking at so bleak a future. At least they can provide internet access and charge for that! Satellite coverage doesn’t work well with internet connections (the lag is too great), so this is the end of the line for Directv. They know it, and are trying to gouge every last dime that they can.

Unless you have a compelling reason for you to get Directv, I strongly urge you not to. If you do need to have Directv and THERE IS NO OTHER OPTION (football fans, rural citizens, Central and South American expatriates – I’m talking to you), keep a hand on your wallet at all times.

3 Responses to “Directv Sucks”

  1. wina steussy says:

    Thanks for this post, Ed…I’ve been looking at DirectTV lately…lots of neighbors have it, and I’m dog-tired of Charter Communications “opaque services”, “penny-pinching policies”, and “constant billing issues”. Sigh. Guess I’m stuck with Charter, but at least the reception and Internet speed aren’t issues. One of my friends in Europe told me her high-speed connection takes some time to load a Facebook page, ours is instantaneous. And I’ve got the Vonage phone tapping off the Cable modem, so maybe the deal I’ve got isn’t as bad as all the Charter headaches make it seem. Wouldn’t give Charter a CC# if my life depended on it.

  2. admin says:

    Given that you are in a metropolitan area, you might try just shifting to Over The Air transmissions (much better now that they are digital). Anything you wanted to watch on cable channels is likely available on iTunes or another download service for much less than the cost of your cable bill.

  3. Master Chief 117 says:

    DirecTV are actually very cunning. They know the writing is on the wall. Young people don’t wathch as much TV these days as the trend towards the internet continues. DTV now finds themselves stuck with equipment that will be useless in ten years.

    Instead of even trying to provide a good service anymore, they are methodically and purposefully screwing their entire customer base over. They may not win friends and get retentions, but they’ll get billions from consumers while they still can. That’s why they went to their current “leased equipment” scam. It really amounts to a form of racketeering.

    Did you know that if they replace your box for any reason (HD upgrade, repair, etc.) they’ll put you on a new two-year contract, with a $20 per month ETF? They do this even if you are a “legacy” customer who has been with them for ten or more years. They won’t tell you about it until you go to cancel. They are deliberately obtuse when it comes to discussing commitments. You certainly won’t hear about one during the sales pitch, or even see it on the contract….unless you take the paper that the installer has you sign to verify you received the equipment, turn it over, and get out a magnifying glass. It’s actually hidden under an “addendum” and is not part of the main body of the contract.

    Plus, when you cancel, if you’ve ever used your credit card to pay your bill, they’ll automatically charge your credit card for every fee they can come up with. This way, they don’t have to worry about collections, they just pass the buck on to financial institutions. God forbid you give them your bank account routing number, or you’ll find your account drained the day after you tell them to take a hike. There are even horror stories of $500 “nonreturned equipment” fees being automatically charged to former customers years after they quit service. If you ever quit using them, make sure to report your CC stolen so you’ll get a new one, or have your bank account number changed.

    The walls are closing in on DTV. There are class-action lawsuits against them in three states and at the federal level due to deceptive business practices. The attorney general in the state of Washington basically calls them a textbook example of corporate thievery.

    It won’t be long. New customers are down 35%, and their current “churn” rate (lost customers) approaches 2% per month. Not only should you stay far, far away, you should continue to tell everyone you know to do the same.

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