Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dropping DirecTV

My friend Brian called to cancel DirecTV a long while ago and was given an awesome deal for some basic HD package for roughly $25/month. I called to cancel my service and was offered a basic non-HD package for $35/month. I declined that offer, but not before the customer service representative tried to compare DirecTV with what I said I would be using. Netflix only offers older movies, apparently, and this would somehow matter to a person who doesn't have any movie channels in their plan....

She also didn't know things start playing on Netflix virtually instantaneously. She claimed I wouldn't get my local channels even though I explained that I would get more local channels, and in digital HD, for free using an antenna. I had to explain that and make their episodes available, I have access to tons of Comedy Central stand-up through Netflix, and can watch Rachel Maddow online, too. I can even watch tennis in HD on She didn't seem to have a good reason to stick with DirecTV, other than my stated entertainment sources being different.

So, I wasn't offered a sweetheart deal. The cancellation went through, at which point I was informed that I would owe a $180 early-termination fee for nine months of a contract I was apparently under. Three months ago, I had called AT&T to combine the billing of my internet and DirecTV, thereby saving $5/month (which only just started getting applied to my bill). I was informed by the AT&T representative that if I had any contract term, then I would be under a new 12-month contract. However, if I was not under any contract, then I would still not be under a contract. I fear all commitment other than marriage, so naturally I double checked that with the AT&T representative.

After about ten minutes arguing with the DirecTV lady, she agreed to ask her supervisor/manager whether she could waive the cancellation fee. Even through the frustration I was feeling, I was interested to note that she asked via instant message, and in the end the fee was waived. I'm still not happy about that situation, and I'm sad that my last experience with DirecTV reinforced the overall feeling I had that they took advantage of their long-time customers (or tried to). DirecTV service will stop at the end of the month, though, and that's the important thing.

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