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Directv Has The Worst Customer Service of All-Time
Aug 19th, 2009 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I’m still amazed at what I’ve been through today.  I’m hoping that this turns up in some searches, so people can see what they are in for.

I had been a Directv customer for about nine years. Due to the recent global economic collapse, I cancelled service in July. That went very smoothly. In June, I received an automated call that said that I would have to upgrade my receiver going forward, so knowing that I would have to do that anyway, it seemed like a good time to go without TV.

Things picked up for me, financially, about six weeks later. As it happens, I received an e-mail from Directv with an offer to sign back up. The subject of the mail was, “Come Back And Get Over 150 Channels For Only $29.99/mo For 12 Months.” That sounded like a good deal. They’d rather not have me go to Comcast, I was perfectly happy with them for years… this seemed like it would work.

The e-mail stated that I had to call a phone number to take advantage of this promotion. The promotional code was WBK7. I spoke with a CSR for about twenty minutes and we got everything taken care of. (Or so it seemed!) They were able to schedule a technician to arrive the next day.

The next day arrived, and the tech showed up on time. It’s at this point that I should describe my setup.

I have a single dish, attached to my house. The co-ax cable goes into a “flat” wire, which is placed between a screen window. The other end of the flat wire goes back into more co-ax cable, and then into the receiver.

The tech said that I needed a new flat wire. He said that would be $16. He also said that I would have to have a protection plan at $4 a month, indefinitely. Alternatively, he could drill a hole through my house and install it that way.

Well, that was totally unacceptable.  I’m fairly certain that he was going to try to drill through solid concrete, so that was out of the question. Furthermore, my setup had been perfectly adequate for years. There was no logical reason that they couldn’t use the existing flat wire.

The tech wouldn’t budge, so I got his supervisor on the phone. Directv contracts all this work out, so I was surprised to find that the supervisor wouldn’t budge. He wouldn’t authorize the tech to use the flat wire and he wouldn’t waive the moronic, monthly “protection fee.” I was amazed – if anyone reading this happens to know me in real life, I think it’s fair to say that I don’t get worked up or agitated about anything. The audacity of this clown really pissed me off.  I told the guy, “well, forget it then,” and he was totally happy to let this sale fall through.

After this, I called Directv proper. I got one of their CSRs on the phone, who realized that while the contractors couldn’t give a shit who does and doesn’t stick with Directv, the corporation itself did. He told the tech to go ahead and give me the new goddamn receiver. The tech had to confirm with his boss, however, and who knows what was said, because he came back down ready to do what I wanted them to do 40 minutes previous.

The tech gave me the new receiver, blah blah, everything was working.

At this point, I had no confidence that the rebate was going to happen. I went to directv.com and was told that my account was not eligible for a rebate! Well well well! The desperation was pretty transparent, and I guess I was just supposed to be relieved that service was working at all. I called Directv, and got an all-new, all-different CSR.

She told me that my account wasn’t eligible for a rebate, because I had not been away long enough. Of course, this wasn’t mentioned on the e-mail, wasn’t mentioned by the original CSR, wasn’t mentioned by anyone. I asked to speak with her supervisor.

Another 40 minutes passed, and all the while, the gal on the phone told me that nobody could do anything, that it was impossible for me to get this rebate, that the fourth law of thermodynamics involved me never getting this stupid rebate. At this point, it became personal. Not between me and her, but between me and Directv.

The supervisor never got on the phone with me, but did instruct the CSR to tell me the following:

– Tomorrow I am meant to logon to Directv’s website.
– At that point, I’ll see my rebate option show up.
– I can, at that point, get the goddamn rebate I was offered in the first place.

I’ve got zero faith that anything is going to be different tomorrow. I guess we’ll see! You read about horrible fucking customer service all the time, but it’s still a thing to go through it yourself. And I am totally motivated to stick with Directv forever. I honestly like what they offer, and having experienced their competitors when I originally moved out here, Jesus Christ, Directv is the best option. But they’ve got to fix this, this entire episode was a joke and I’d rather go with someone else than ever try to repeat this process again.

UPDATE: I logged into my account and checked their website just for the hell of it. As it turns out, I did not have to wait until tomorrow. The rebate link was there and worked. Halle-frigging-lujah.

The Excruciating Ways to Catch Baseball
Apr 11th, 2009 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Somebody might tell you that MLB has their act together when it comes to understanding the opportunities that the Internet offers the average fan to catch their favorite team. THIS IS COMPLETE BULLSHIT. You might even hear them say that Bud Selig should be congratulated for these advancements, as if fucking Selig has ever been on the Internet in his entire life. There isn’t a single commissioner in sports doing a good job right now, but that’s another story.

Here’s a breakdown on the sheer incompetence of getting your game. (Please note that I am writing this with the perspective of a guy living in a different market than his team – I live in Colorado and only care about the Blue Jays. If you are within like 200 fucking miles of a stadium, you get to enter the world of PROXIES and various other stupid horseshit.)

DIRECTV MLB EXTRA INNINGS

So, it’s Saturday and there’s nothing I’d rather do than climb out of bed, shake about ten pounds of cat hair off me, and catch Roy Halladay vs Cliff Lee, in what should be demonstrative proof that Lee winning the Cy Young Award last year was fucking horseshit.

Directv is offering a “preview” of MLB Extra Innings. It’s $160 for the entire year, and honestly, with how much the equivalent is for the NFL, that sounds like a great deal. (I will go ahead and assume that Directv’s NFL Ticket will break $240 in September.)

The problem is that they don’t broadcast all the games! Are you fucking kidding me? And more – how is this game not on? This is fucking inexcusable. I know that Lee is turning back into a shitbag, but for fuck’s sake.

More, it already takes effort to keep track of the regular game times for the Jays. I work until 7 or 8 PM, and their home games start at 5:07PM MDT. I’m not physically around to use the Directv solution, but let’s say I get out early (or the Jays are on the west coast) – I have to seriously consult Directv’s schedule as well? Fuck that. Seriously, fuck that. Again, I understand if they can’t broadcast Rockies games, but otherwise they need to seriously fuck off.

MLB.TV

This is $14.95 a month. And maybe it’s okay this year, but I’ve had it for the 2008 and 2007 seasons, and it’s just shit. Something about it isn’t compatible with our anti-virus software at work, which is fucking amazing, in so much that all anti-virus software has bloated themselves into some kind of security suite, and that whoever put MLB.tv together can’t just give you a link to a a video or audio stream. And Christ, the thing is always locking up. This is a miserable ripoff – again, maybe it gets better in like mid-July, when interest has cooled off and there are less people catching the games, but I had games locking up on me at that point as well last year. (If your experiences with it are better this year, that is awesome, and do feel free to describe what it’s like in the comments. I’m honestly curious.)

iPHONE GAMEDAY APP

This is okay, I guess – it’s $10 for the entire year. Audio only, except – except! They will put small videos of clutch hits and such for you to watch, if you really want to. I’m fine with audio-only, as long as I can choose my own announcers, which I can with this.

The app lets you click on the box score, and see who is fielding where – it’s got lots of easy-to-implement stuff that reminds me of how the Diamond Mind baseball game is set up.

I did buy this, and I think it’s good, overall. The really maddening part is how they deal with commercials. The audio feed goes silent, but not immediately! I honestly think some asshole is sitting there with his finger on the “mute” button at the source, and he simply forgets to hit the button right away. (The most annoying commercial in the world right now is the one for Super-8 on Toronto’s the FAN station.) I’m fairly certain that the same guy forgets to consistently put the sound back on right away .

ACTUALLY GOING TO THE GAMES

Well, yes, this would be best.

So, I don’t know. There really is no perfect solution for catching the games live. Directv is too demanding, MLB.tv is an enormous pain in the ass, and the iPhone app can’t get me consistent audio. The whole thing is fucked.

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