Customer Service- a rant

**Fair warning. This is a long, drawn out chronicle of my atrocious experience with Directv. It drips with sarcasm because I’m fed up with their “service” and you may choose to skip this post if you’re not completely bored out of your mind looking for something to kill 20 minutes.**

I’m in the business of customer service. I think that, in all actuality, everyone is in this business, one way or another. So I’d like to think that “I get it” as in, I know how important my customers are and why I need them to continue my business. Hell, it’s why I answer emails on my days off and on weekends. I don’t want to miss out on a chance for a customer to give me their business because I didn’t take the time to send them a brief note letting them know I was out of the office and I would either have someone from my department contact them or I would be in touch the next day.

I’d like to think that is good customer service.

That being said, there is also a service to be provided and I also think that how that service is delivered falls under the realm of customer service, because at the end of the day, people pay for a service and they want to know that their money is well-spent. I know I do.

Anyone with whom I had an opportunity to chat around the time I moved into my current place knows that I loathe the day I signed up for Directv. I had never experienced any problems with Comcast (or Cox, for that matter) yet when I went into Best Buy to purchase a new television, I was blinded by the idea of a discount on my purchase by signing up for Directv. Fail. Of Epic proportions.

The earliest date the technician could come and install my satellite was a week after signing up for service. Fine. Though not ideal, I get it. We had set the date for the following Thursday, being that was a day I could take off of work to be on hand to go through the set up process, let the tech into my house, etc. Like any television service provider, cable, dish or otherwise, they ask you to select a window of time during which the technician will arrive. My time slot was 10am-2pm.

I woke up on Thursday, October 28 at 8am and got the house slicked up (because I am my mother’s daughter) for the impending visit from the technician who would no doubt need access to my living room and bedroom where the second television is located. Prior to scheduling the appointment, the person from Directv who scheduled me, informed me that I would get a call from the tech the day of, giving me an ETA for the setup. So, I did stuff around the house. I cleaned the kitchen, did daily chores and waited. And waited. And declined a lunch invite from a friend because I wouldn’t want to miss the tech. And then I waited some more. Imagine my surprise when 2:15pm rolled around and I had heard


So I called the number on the front of the “Welcome to the worst decision you’ve ever made next to those giant glasses that took over your entire face in the 90s Directv” Customer Packet. The gentleman rep that took my call was pleasant and told me he would contact the tech and call me back to let me know what was going on. Satisfied with that help,  I waited for his return phone call.


At 3:15, I had to call again. This time, another gentleman fielded my call and I explained to him, that while I understood he wasn’t the person I spoke to prior, I was incredibly upset with how this was going down. Then, he informed me he wouldn’t be able to reach the tech because the office through which they contracted to do my installation closed at 3pm so he would have no way of getting a hold of the tech’s cell phone number.

First of all, they close at 3pm? Must be nice. I doubt they started working at 6:30am giving them a full 8 hour work day, but whatever. Not my company.

Secondly, the Directv person tried to argue with me that this wasn’t Directv’s fault because the tech wasn’t from their company. No. He wasn’t. He was contracted by Directv company though. They hired him to represent them, so just because his paycheck doesn’t originate from a Directv payroll account, I really don’t give an ish that he doesn’t work directly for Directv. He was Directv’s responsibility.

I asked to speak with a manager or supervisor because this was unacceptable and I was told that one would call me back. I believe it was at this point that I responded with something snarky like “waiting on call backs is what got me into this mess so am I actually going to hear from someone today?” To which he responded yes, he was simply on a quick break and would be returning momentarily. I asked for the supervisor’s name, in case I didn’t hear from him in the next 20 minutes and I also asked for the name of the person currently helping me.

One can only imagine my shock when 45 minutes went by and no supervisor had called me. I called again, this time straight pissed. I had tried to be firm but not rude before, because truly, I know how it is to deal with angry people when it’s not your fault they are angry. So I opted for making joking-sarcastic comments to mask some of my extreme irritation at the situation. This time, not so much.

The supervisor came on the line when I asked for him by name and I explained this entire situation (which, to be quite honest, was getting old) again. I told him that this was my first experience using Directv and I was not impressed and to be quite honest, I wanted to start the process for cancelling if this was how they treated their customers.

Though pleasant and apologetic in the “that’s-what-the-customer-service-manual-says-to-say” sorta way, he offered me a $50 no-show credit on my account if I would reschedule, I just had to call this other 800 number and tell him I was due a no show credit.

I shouldn’t have gone for it but I did, thinking to myself that surely it can’t be this bad once I actually get the service. Then I can just be left alone with my sporting events and crime dramas. So I rescheduled for the following Tuesday. Then I called the 800 number for my credit. Annnnnd of course, they had no idea what I was talking about. After running that one up the flag pole, I finally got my credit but still think I had to work way too hard for decent customer service.

Fast-forward to almost two weeks after signing up for service, I take another day off of work to wait for the tech. He finally shows within his appointed window. Then he tries to tell me I wasn’t home when he came by the previous time.

Um. Yes. Yes I was. I was home all day, specifically between 10am and 2pm, only leaving the house at 7:30pm. You know, after draining my cell phone battery talking to Directv customer service, having set up a new appointment. I smile and jokingly remind him of the fact that I was home all day but I never received a phone call informing me of his impending arrival. Inside, however, I’m seething that he is going to try and argue with me when he outright didn’t show. After he continues to try and put it on me, I finally get fed up and tell him how it went down, in a tone not unlike my dad’s when he was angry with one of us kids for not doing something we were supposed to.

So after some hoopla that included a check (!) to the technician for the supplies he had to buy at Home Deport since I wasn’t allowed to affix the dish to my house, and the use of my own phone for him to call Directv to initiate the signal (because the company doesn’t pay for his so why should he use his personal cell phone? Again, I guess understand but seriously?! I might as well decide to become a contractor and show up to a construction site and ask to borrow a hammer because the company wouldn’t buy me one!) I have my service. Hooray.

That was early November. Last week or so, I had called to order MLB Extra Innings so that I could watch all my baseball games on my tv. That call, for the record, went well and the Braves fan on the other end of the phone was quite helpful. Yesterday, I got home from a work conference and was excited to turn on any number of games.

Imagine my disappointment when none of them, among other channels, came in. I received a message saying that the channel was either not purchased or the signal wasn’t coming in. So I had to call Directv again. The gal on the phone this time was again, very pleasant. We chatted while she ran through diagnostic tests and ESPN (among other channels) were now coming in! Hooray! Sadly, half of my MLB games were rain outs but I had my other channels, so oh well. Bianca also told me that if the problem persisted, she had notated my account so I wouldn’t have to run through all these steps again, which I appreciated.

Well, last night, I was trying to watch the Giants game on Comcast Sports Bay Area and wouldn’t you know it, it doesn’t come in. I hate you message 771.

I called customer service again (dialed from memory, if that tells you anything) and told the person who fielded my call what the trouble was and that Bianca had noted in my account that we had already done some troubleshooting. He informs me that a technician will have to come out and it will be $49.99 or, I can sign up for a $5.99 a month protection plan.

Excuse me?

I said to him, “Listen, I know that you’re just the messenger here but lemme get this straight. I have to pay someone to come out and provide me with a service for which I’m already paying? That’s absurd.” Only I don’t think I said absurd. I think I said something that would get me a couple of Hail Mary’s and an Our Father. Then I told him I guess I didn’t have a choice and would I be refunded for the days that I’m without service?

And he told me yes but I would have to wait until the problem is fixed before they can know how many days I’m without service. Aggravating but I guess I understand the logic behind that. I’m really excited to call them back and inform them that I’m owed a credit. I’m sure that will be no problem since it was so easy last time.

So now I’m stuck, with only half of the channels I’m due (many of which are the high-def feeds to my MLB Extra Innings package–you know, the premium service that cost me extra money), until Saturday from 4-8pm because that is the only appointment I can do with my work schedule (work schedule: something most people with the exception of the Directv techs do every day?)

In fact, now that I have chronicled this whole horrific Directv experience, I wonder why I didn’t cancel it before letting it go this far. I’m going to explore getting Comcast because this is unacceptable. At the end of the day, I don’t care how nice you are to me on the phone, it doesn’t make up for the fact that I have to pay extra money for a service for which I’m already being billed.

Moral of the story: DON’T SIGN UP FOR DIRECTV!

One comment on “Customer Service- a rant

  1. If sharing an office with me taught you anything, it would be (a) the buildup on a coffee pot adds flavor and (b) when talking to a CSR, you politely inform them that you know it’s not THEIR fault as a person, but their COMPANY’S fault and then inform them that you’re really F’ing pissed using any language/anger you deem necessary.

    Next time you have to talk to them, drop the words “breach of contract” and “full refund.”

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