Friday, November 28, 2008

Consumer, Beware!

The following was submitted anonymously for the purposes of identity protection. I assure you that I know the author and can attest to veracity of what happened. Below the fold is a summary of the author's experience with Directv.

Have you had a similar problem with Directv or any other merchant? How was the problem eventually solved?

I have been a Directv customer since 2000. However, an event has occurred that I believe should serve as a warning for others subscribing to their service.

In May ‘07, I had a service call from Directv because of bad satellite reception. A technician solved the problem by installing a new receiver and access card. He took the old receiver and card with him when he left. He did not leave me with a copy of any invoice.

Flash forward to November 6, 2008, the date I opened my latest Directv billing statement (dated October 27, 2008) and discovered a number of charges had been made using my former access card. These charges covered a five-month period of time—from May ‘08 through October ‘08. Included in the list was an item concerning a receiver that had been disconnected.

A call to Customer Service served only to get me the address of Directv’s Billing Disputes Office, located in Colorado. The following day I mailed that office a copy of the October statement along with a cover letter notifying them of the situation. Meanwhile, further calls to Customer Service revealed that my former access card was still active under my name and there was no record of the former receiver ever having been turned in. I call I made directly to the installer’s toll-free number revealed only that my account could not be located.

On November 20th, a representative from the Billing Disputes Office contacted me by phone. I was told that Directv would credit my account as “one-time courtesy” but that in the future I would be held responsible for any further charges. When I protested yet again that these were not my charges, the representative simply suggested that the next time equipment was replaced and removed from my home I should contact Directv myself to see if it had indeed been turned in.

Directv contracts much of its technical work out to other companies but appears to exercise little oversight vis-a-vis technicians and equipment. Thus Directv’s customers must shoulder the burden in this area.

I hope my experience will prevent other Directv customers from enduring a similar ordeal.


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posted by Always On Watch @ 11/28/2008 02:00:00 AM