As many of you know, my wife gave birth to our second child 7 days ago. She spent most of her free time this morning (for those of you with children you know how precious that is with a newborn and a toddler) composing the letter below to DirecTV.
While far more subtle, easy going and diplomatic than me, you do not want to cross her path on an average day let alone when she is sleep deprived and lactating. Having spent years resolving escalated customer service issues for the phone company and then a major electronics retailer, she knows ALL the tricks of the trade and has a clear plan for what she will do next if this is not handled.
The long and the short of it is this... after years of paying DirecTV as premium customers (we're talking obscene amounts of money, driven mainly by my desire to watch Rugby), they want us to pay a cancellation fee on a 2 year contract we didn't sign, they can't produce and we didn't want to cancel. The only reason we canceled DirecTV was because they told us to after their installers decided they didn't have the skills or will to install DirecTV at our house. They gave up on us.
Let's hope someone at DirecTV is listening as it won't be pretty. . .
January 11, 2008
RE: DirecTV Account #XXXXXX
Dear DirecTV Customer Service:
While I appreciate your response to my recent letter outlining my billing dispute, the form letter failed to address any of the points of contention clearly outlined in my letter.
To summarize, the two main points are as follows:
- Our DirecTV service was canceled because your inexperienced contractors were unwilling/incapable of installing the service. When we moved from Los Gatos, CA to Austin, TX in early November, we signed up for the moving program. You sent two different contractors (with minimal experience) to our home to install the system. Neither had the experience or inclination to do so, despite the fact that the second technician sent was supposed to be a “supervisor” to ensure the job was done correctly. (By his own admission, it was his second day on the job.) The first stood in the drive, looked at the roof, said he didn't have time to go up there and that we would need to reschedule. It is important to note that both technicians established that we had a clear view of the satellite and receive a clear signal. At this point, I contacted DirecTV. When no solution/alternative was offered – despite the fact that we have been long-time premium customers and fully intended to be so for a long time to come – the customer service person suggested that we cancel our account.
- At no time during my conversations with DirecTV was an early termination fee discussed nor was an explanation for when and how I signed an agreement agreeing to one provided. The only additional requirement explained to me was the return of our HD-DVR, which we returned promptly after receiving the box to return it in. It is also worth noting that while I received a number of calls from your collections department in early December, I only received a bill for the early termination fee in late December (after I officially filed my billing dispute.)
As a loyal, long-time customer of DirecTV, I am extremely disappointed by how you treat your premium customers. As I stated in my previous letter, we have thoroughly enjoyed your programming and your HD-DVR interface and were very upset to learn that you would not install the service. Adding insult to injury is your contention that we would owe you money as a result of your contractors’ incompetence and then failing to produce any sort of supporting documentation or explanation as to how and when we agreed to such a fee. I hope you will resolve this issue by waiving the "early cancellation fee," thereby giving us the confidence to consider returning to DirecTV at some point in the future.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.