We purchased a new home in a country setting. Before we moved, we went online to see if the Directv internet service was available at our address, and their website said it was.
We later called to sign up over the phone...big mistake. If I had signed up over the website, I might have known about the $465 contract exit fee that they claim "covers the cost of equipment" (the equipment they will install but not come and pickup). Their website said both the cable and internet were available, but it turned out, the internet was not. The installation was...questionable.
The man they sent, could hardly understand english. My husband helped him with digging a trench in the back yard to mount the dish. The installer handed me a paper to sign, purposefully folded over so I wouldn't see the small print containing the $465 exit fee part of the contract. I signed it, but couldn't figure out why the internet didn't work.
The installer said he knew nothing of it, and that maybe someone else was coming to install the internet. We didn't have phone service yet at the house, so we called the next day from a supermarket parking lot. I asked why we didn't have the internet and it turned out, they had never signed us up. So I asked to be connected, and she couldn't get a signal.
So, the cable worked, but the internet did not. So I said, "well, come out and get your dish, because without the internet, the service is useless to me, and that's what I asked for when I signed up." They flat out refused. They transferred me so many times, I was getting angry. They put us on hold for over 20 minutes at one point, until I finally switched to my husband's phone, and had no problems getting through to someone.
The last "gentleman" I spoke with didn't say, "i have to check if there really is no signal before I can credit you". This is their legal requirement. What he offered me was the "opportunity" to continue doing business with them as part of "checking the dish for a signal". And after having been put indefinitely on-hold, and being treated like dirt, I wanted nothing to do with them.
So, of course I declined, and they used that, as their justification to charge us the contract disconnect fee of $465. This all happened in a time span of 3 days. We charged back the charge on the cc, but, of course, then the bill came for money due, and a threat to report my husband to the credit bureaus if it wasn't paid. (Remember, they ask for your ss #) He tried calling one last time to reason with them, but they basically told him to ***.
Yes...state representatives considering bringing Directv to your area...you see how these contracts are really just a form of extortion, giving businesses commanding control over whether or not a consumer supposedly "chooses" to do business with them, and legally requiring customers to take complaints to arbitors who are already "in the pocket" of big corporations? I encourage anyone to read the small print and know your local laws pertaining to the installation of these dishes...you basically lose your right to a chargeback because they will just trash your credit if you don't pay. They know it. So that's how horribly they treated us.
Vonage tried to do the same thing, but we had been with them for 5 years, so they couldn't say anything...but they looked very carefully, to see if there was SOME reason to charge us that exit fee. I see Vonage has "seen the light" and is now offering supposedly contract-free service...but I'd read the small print people!
Product or Service Mentioned: Directv Installation.
Monetary Loss: $465.