I hope DirecTV goes DirecToHell

There’s an extra bounce in my step today, perhaps a little extra change in my pocket (as to whether it goes jing-a-ling-a-ling, that’s for another story, perhaps one set in 1986). On this weekend of love and romance and Valentines, I’m celebrating a break-up that’s been a long time coming.

Today, I ended my two-year relationship with DirecTV.

I couldn’t be happier.

I’ve recently shared my distaste for DirecTV (here and here), so it was only a matter of time before I officially pulled the plug. I decided to wait until the series finale of Friday Night Lights aired on Feb. 9 before quitting; DirecTV gave the show new life by picking up first-run episodes starting in the third season, so I figured I could at least acknowledge and support the company’s help in keeping this great program on the air.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve tested Hulu (both in terms of the regular, free version and the $8/month Hulu-Plus), and I can access almost every show I currently watch through the website. The ones that aren’t on Hulu are either available via other means or simply aren’t worth making the extra effort at this time.

I have realized I still have access to quality television programs without having to pay around $70 each month. Besides, I can also now force myself toward other creative endeavors, like writing and reading, and away from wastes of time, like complaining about DirecTV.

I’d rather slowly digest for 1,000 years in a Sarlacc pit monster than deal with DirecTV. Tangent — when trying to come up with a “I’d rather … than deal with DirecTV reference, I had this conversation: Cory: You could go highbrow and say you’d rather have been President Mubarak today. Me: I’m not even sure I would get that, let alone my audience. What about a sarlacc pit reference?

The company didn’t go down without a bit of a fight, though, and I guess they had to make at least some sort of effort. I’m guessing they have a set of scripted responses they’re required to give in order to sweet talk dissatisfied customers into staying. I cannot be counted among those who would ever give them a second chance, and despite my repeated efforts to explain this, the customer service representative still attempted to bring me back into their evil clutches.

This is what happened (and I should note that this is the actual conversation and not an approximated recap; I took notes):

“Thank you for calling DirecTV,” the customer service rep said. “How may I help you?”

“I want to close out my account.”

He responded in a falsely cheery tone: “You need to close your account? Bummer. What’s up?”

His use of “bummer” only reaffirmed my decision to leave the company.

The rep explained he’d have to transfer me to another department, which would occur after I heard a couple of beeps.

Instead, I heard a dial tone.

I’ll give them credit: not letting me actually complete the transaction is a novel way to keep me as a customer.

I called back and in response to this particular bubbly female rep’s query as to how my day was, I explained I was in no mood to be hung up on again.

“Oh my goodness,” she said, her overacting reaching late-1990s Al Pacino levels. “I won’t hang up on you.”

This is pretty much what I envisioned on the other end of the phone call.

I told her I simply wished to close my account.

“Is there a reason you no longer want to stay with DirecTV?”

“There’s a laundry list of reasons too numerous to share.”

When pressed for a few examples, I started with poor customer service.

“Oh, I understand,” she told me. “I’m a consumer, too. Customer service is very important. This is just very surprising. We always rank high with J.D. Powers on customer service.”

“Well, you rank poorly with S.K. Hall.”

She went on to make her sales pitch, trying to woo me with various levels of reduced pricing, free Showtime (honestly, is that even worthy of a woo? Showtime? They couldn’t toss in HBO?) and savings on my DVR.

“There is literally nothing that can be done to get me to keep DirecTV.”

“Oh. Well, I appreciate that bit of information.”

She didn’t appreciate it enough, apparently, as she then tried further enticements, which mostly (and by “mostly” I really mean “solely”) consisted of bashing my decision to watch shows online.

She pointed out that DVR service didn’t exist online. I pointed out that the beauty of the Internet is that I can watch shows anytime I want without the need of a DVR. I don’t need to program anything. I just simply need to — and this might have been hard for her to understand – get online.

She then noted that some shows have problems streaming, telling me that she uses Netflix and she often has problems keeping a connection. “It’s so annoying,” she said. “I mean, sometimes I just want to watch a movie.”

This is where I should probably point out that she told me she lives in Idaho. I didn’t even make a joke.

This is pretty self-explanatory.

All this time, she was allegedly “processing my account to close it out” for me, but I’m fairly certain she was more interested in keeping me on the line until she ran out of offers. Her next one came in the form of an additional $15 off my package.

“Again, there is literally nothing beyond offering it for free that would get me to come back to DirecTV,” I told her.

“Unfortunately, when it comes to paid TV, there’s no way we can offer it for free unless you come to work for us,” she replied, tossing in some forced laughter.

“Yeah, I think I’m going to say no to that.”

She kept on trying, saying “Hopefully, if you’ll give us a second chance …” I admired her tenacity if not her intelligence. I still interrupted her, though.

“Look, I don’t mean to cut you off, but there’s not a chance in hell I’ll stay with DirecTV. I’ve waited for this moment for two years.”

She assured me she wasn’t trying to make an actual sales pitch, which seems odd since she was throwing out offers like Ben Roethlisberger at last call. No, she had another reason for talking. “Just so there’s no dead silence, I’m just giving you information,” she said.

“Dead silence is actually preferable to me.”

And with that, she shut up, and the battle was won. I heard the clacking of her keyboard, which remained the only sound until she said, “Your account will fully close at the end of the next billing cycle on Feb. 16. Thank you for your time with DirecTV.”

The plug has been pulled.

12 thoughts on “I hope DirecTV goes DirecToHell

  1. I referred to this in a FB post earlier in the week but I want to re-relate to you my experience with Blizzard.com, because I was simply astounded. As you may know, I played World of Warcraft for a couple years, but I haven’t played in a while. I’d also subscribed to an account in Ethan’s name so that we could play simultaneously. He hadn’t done much with it, so last week I called to cancel his account. The following is paraphrased, but you’ll get the idea.

    Me: I’m just calling to cancel my son’s World of Warcraft account.
    Blizzard: Sure, what’s the username?
    Me: I’m not sure, but it’s billed to my debit card and I don’t want to accidentally cancel my own.
    Blizzard: Okay, I’ll look that up… So you don’t want to cancel the brinton~ account, but you do want to cancel the ethan~ account, is that right?
    Me: Yes, I want to keep my own account open just because I invested so much time in it.
    Blizzard: Okay, but you do know that we never delete account information or character data even if you close your account, right?
    Me: So I can close both accounts, and all I have to do if I want to play again is call you back?
    Blizzard: Yes, or re-enter your billing data online.
    Me: Cool.
    Blizzard: So would you prefer to close both accounts?
    Me: Sure, thanks!
    Blizzard: Alright, then. Thank you for your business.

  2. Sounds like you had a couple issues with canceling your service. As I am sure you are a smart man, you know that each and every persons experience is different when it comes to customer service. In saying that, let me tell you a few things that this brilliant DirecTV customers service rep managed to leave out. First of being, their ranking with JD Powers and Associates is not as high as she is claiming; especially with customer service. With that I am pretty sure with her saying that comment she is trying to in a round about way call you a liar for your experience. As most pay TV providers are in the market to make money, there is no excuse for poor customer service! Not only am I saying this as a customer (in her words) but also an employee of DISH. I am here to tell you that we ARE ranked number one in customer service from the ACSI. It is worth looking into, if not for the prices alone then the customer service would come close behind!

    @RENXKYOKO: If you or your parents need help with anything, or if there are any questions I can help answer for you. Please feel free to email me and I will be sure to respond! Miranda.Barela@DISHNetwork.com

    • So sorry to hear that you work for DISH. One of the sorriest companies in the cable industry. I employee all that reads this “ditch the diSH!!

  3. My Xmas wish for Direct TV and Century link is “WISH BOTH COMPANIES WILL GO TO HELL” They are the worst companies that I have ever dealt with.

  4. Yes, I just got off the phone with Directv about an increase in my bill just after renewing my subscription for 2 more years supposedly with some kind of compo with my phone and internet. To tell you the truth my home phone is about $80 to $100 with internet and my DTV is now $166. Ii was already high but I just got that Genie thing. But, if that wasn’t bad enough they went up on my bill!#$!!!@#% Now this is what gets me with big companies…they get by with murder. Isn’t a contract supposed to stay the prices and everything else? If not …what is a contract for anyway? Iit must have changed since I was in school. One party should never be able to change a contract unless approved by both. If they have a clause in this case, by its very nature it is not a contract. So maybe the Consumer Justice Department needs to look at legal trickery. I did not have a contract with them for years now since I do they pull this. I telll you what I will never sign a contract with them again.

  5. I just cancelled direct tv after several years. I paid all my due months of service. They sent me a refund for a portion of a month I didn’t use. Just this month, I see a charge on my credit card statement from direct tv for eight dollars and change. I called and they said it was for movies I ordered eight years ago. I informed them I didn’t even have a phone line connected ,because I don’t order movies. They would not remove it. Eight years to bill for a movie? I will dispute the charge with my credit card company and let the companies settle it.

  6. Purchase an entertainment package from Direct TV 18 Feb 2013. Auto pay ($24.99) for the first three months and the original cost ($77.98) for the last 18 months. It sounds good!! On 07/03/2013, I got a bill for May $73.94 and June/July 170.10. I called the 1-800 number (India) to review the bill. After 45 minutes of interpretive English and asking for an English speak representative, I hung up the phone. Sunday (07/07/2013), I got an English rep and paid the bill ($248,00). Direct TV’s charge to assist a dissatisfied customer $360.00 Yeah!
    The fact is, if you want good cable without weather shut downs and low cost stay away from Direct TV.

  7. Directv promised me for three weeks to come and install my dish, but never showed up costing me two days pay from work. with no other reason except they had me sloted for another day. told them to cancel the order if could’nt get an installer out now, they would’nt so order was cancel..
    to my guess Directv don’t want Black people to have Directv……………..

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