Thursday, September 19, 2019

DirecTV's introductory offer is a scam. Beware.

My life dealing with AT&T. Whatever you do, do NOT sign up for DirecTV

 I don't like putting this on my blog, because it's really off topic, but I need to warn people about AT&T and DirecTV.

Do NOT believe DirecTV if it offers you an introductory deal. It won't work out and you will regret it.

Here is my experience.

I signed up for DirecTV in February, with service starting Feb. 28. If I signed up for a two-year agreement, I was offered three months free of HBO, Cinemax, Showtime and something separate called The Movie Pack. I was also offered NFL Sunday Ticket for free for one season. This is a common deal.

You are supposed to call to cancel the movie channels after three months.

I did get the movie channels for free for (nearly) three months, so that much was true. I called the day after Game of Thrones ended, May 20, to cancel all the pay channels. DirecTV cut off these channels immediately. I haven't received them since.

AT&T, which owns DirecTV, billed me again in June for these channels. I called to complain.

An important point is that AT&T bills in advance. I get a bill on the 10th of the month. The June 10 bill is for services from June 5 to July 4.

After about an hour, I was able to get a refund for June-July. Then I explained that I also wanted a refund for movie channels which they had charged me for in advance, but which I had not received. It wasn't a huge amount of money, from May 28 - June 4. But I hadn't received the channels on those days. That took a LOOOOONG time to get refunded.

(Lawyer alert: I believe there is a class-action lawsuit here. Most people won't even notice they paid for partial months of pay channels and did not receive them.)

This could have been the end of the story. But it hasn't been. In July, AT&T billed me for these movie channels again. I called again and after an hour or so, got a bill credit and was told I wouldn't be billed again.

In August, AT&T billed me for the movie channels again. Same process: hours of my time, eventually a bill credit. You really have to fight for it.

Here's a snippet of what it was like to discuss this online with AT&T in August about being charged through Sep. 4 for channels I haven't received since May:

In September, AT&T billed me for the movie channels again. Which I haven't received since May. Same process: Hours of my time, eventual bill credit.

Also, I did not receive NFL Sunday Ticket for free. I don't know if this will ever be resolved.

Here are three different AT&T reps from the same chat session:

I have to say that DirecTV is also not very good. I like the high-capacity DVR, which I didn't have with Dish, and the ability to record four shows at once. I don't like the interface, which promotes pay-per-view over broadcast/cable programming.

And I haven't been able to stream anything. When I had Dish I frequently watched Golden State Warriors and Oakland Athletics games broadcast by the local cable channel on my phone. I have never been able to stream a sporting event on my phone since I got DirecTV because, apparently, AT&T doesn't pay the channel owners enough to get streaming rights. This isn't something they tell you.

The introductory deal sounds really good, but I deeply regret signing up for it.

AT&T has been nothing but frustration. Also, when I had some kind of trouble with Dish, they would offer small compensation: $5 or $10 off my bill, or a free PPV movie, or some such. I have wasted hours of my life with AT&T just trying to get my bill corrected and they have never offered anything as compensation.

Don't do it. The DirecTV signup offer is not worth the frustration. Just don't do it. Cable is better. So is Dish. So is reading a book. Having DirecTV is like banging your head against somebody's door for an hour and, just as you collapse with a concussion, having somebody poke their head out the window and say, "Thought I heard someone. Guess not."

Follow me on Twitter: @wblakegray and Instagram @wblakegray and like The Gray Report on Facebook.


Bob Rossi said...

"So is reading a book." That's what we've been doing for 19 years. We no longer even have a working TV. But I wish we had one to give me the satisfaction of NOT signing up for the Direct TV offer.

guren said...

Blake, I am very sorry to hear about the ordeal that you've gone through to remove the erroneous (I am being kind) charges from your bill. I am interested to find out if you ultimately receive the NFL Sunday Ticket package that was promised to you. It is bad enough that they make you jump through proverbial hoops to reconcile your bill. It's even worse if they don't provide something that was explicitly promised. Please keep us updated.

Thyroid Girl said...

I am currently on the phone with DirectTV for the 4th time in 3 years attempting to get rid of NFL Sunday Ticket.

I wonder if there are enough of us for a class.