Directv go away – the cord is cut

May 22, 2013, I had Directv installed. My husband was recuperating from open heart surgery and was housebound. We had a very expensive roof antenna and Roku set-up. I thought Directv would offer additional entertainment. My precious husband died a week later.

Directv required a two year contract with a guaranteed monthly fee for the first year. I knew I’d get rattled and screwed over this combination. Due to additional emergencies and business travel, I did not watch television at my residence for approximately 18 months of the the two year contract. The monthly fees more than doubled in year two.

The programming sucked big time. The over inflated number of channels is due to the inordinate number of shopping channels. No one needs another ShamWow. HLN has Nancy Grace sensationalized screeching babble. What happened to actually being able to watch the news headlines? MTV used to play music videos. Lucky Dog viewingEvery time the wind blew rain on the satellite, the programming disappeared from the television. This is frequent when residing in tornado alley.

So, I religiously paid exorbitant monthly fees ($1,526.88 total) for a substandard service. On May 22, 2015, at 9:00 am, I called Directv to cancel the subscription. Oh, yeah, I should’ve known better than to think this was going to be seamless.

I was disconnected from the audio response unit 3 or 4 times before getting the “Retention Specialist” on the line. “Habeeb” wanted to know my viewing interests. I informed Habeeb my wish was to cancel the service. After verifying the contract had expired, he offered me HBO and a $10.00 a month discount. I told Habeeb I cancelled HBO in the 90’s because it only showed “Somewhere in Time”, starring Christopher Reeves. Habeeb then politely asked for me to hold and promptly transferred me to “Angela” an Account Executive. I politely informed Angela that my wish was to cancel the service. She threatened me with an extortionate fee if I did not return the Directv equipment! I asked for the address and stated I’d be willing to drive the 380 miles to personally deliver it. She asked if I realized I would’nt be able to watch Directv if I sent it back? Who does this woman talk to on a daily basis?

After finally confirming the service was cancelled, effective immediately. I thought it was the end of the saga. Oh, no, less than 4 hours later, “Larry” another Account Executive telephoned and told me he didn’t want me making a hasty decision. I told Larry to cancel the service.

Two telephone calls followed the next day and two telephone calls the next day. Day 3, I informed the Executive Associate Retention Specialist Supervisor that my intention was to file harassment charges because I had informed each Directv caller to take me off of the retention and post retention call lists.

Then the billing invoices started to double up. I paid the last current bill. Then, immediately after cancellation, I received another invoice. I paid it. Then, I received a bill for $2. 28. Thinking it was a prorated amount for one day of service, I paid it. Then, I received a call informing me I had a credit balance of $82.24. FYI, you are actually paying for services in advance of receiving them. I told this caller that Krogers does not make me post $100.00 at the door before choosing my groceries.

Directv does not issue checks for credit balances. They issue a prepaid debit card from citi. In order to receive your own money, you have to wait 2 weeks with baited breath by the mailbox for this prepaid card. When the card is received, you have to call to activate the card. Now, citi has all of my contact information on their file. When can I expect them to be hacked? After calling citi to activate, you are required to again register online at their website. The only way to receive your own money back is to share your checking or savings account information with these clowns. They asked for all personal identification that was not already on file, except photos of my oldest child’s 20 tattoos.

The transaction should be completed in 2 to 3 business days, via ACH. This account was cancelled almost 2 months ago.

I have since moved. Purchased 3 portable antennas at Best Buy for $24.99 each, on sale. Each television picks up over 40 local stations. Roku offers almost everything available on the Directv service including “The Profit”,” Diners, Drive-ins & Dives” and “Lucky Dog” – which is my dog’s favorite show.

BTW – Directv has extremely polite service representatives. They are just doing their job. It is the desperate corporate policy late in reinventing future innovations.

Cable Cut – Dish Cut – Cost Cut

Extensive research has revealed there are a lot of people cutting the cable and disconnecting the satellite dish. The numbers vary depending on the data source. It is a huge decision because it changes your routine, habits, lifestyle and psyche.

When our children were young, we moved into a new home. A demanding job did not allow me the luxury of making an appointment to have the cable company set up service immediately. You would have thought someone ripped our 9-year-old’s heart out without an anesthetic. The cable company would not give a specific appointment time. It was a block of time which spanned morning or afternoon. I had been a previous victim. Taking a day off of work for a no-show technician did nothing but set me off like Sputnik. Our 9 year old did not receive the “luxury” of cable/satellite, again until he was 14 years old. The only reason he then received the gift of hundreds of channels was because his older brother was on a ship in a war zone and we became extreme news junkies.

By the way, when the satellite was installed, I had to call the billing department every month for years because the billing was incorrect. A credit would be issued, but the problem persisted. Every time it rained or the wind picked up, the service was “iffy”. I called customer service so many times, I eventually could re-program and re-position the satellite dish, with someone on the roof to scream instruction to,  without their assistance. Hurricane Ike blew the satellite off of the roof. My relationship with the satellite dish was starting to fray.

When you have a satellite/cable service – the family takes it for granted. The majority of the viewing, to my observation, were channels we were able to access at no charge with a homemade antenna created from leftover ceiling grid in our attic. The billing statement reflected a fee for HD access. When the televisions were on the antenna, we had HD at no charge. The satellite provider scrambled the HD and we were paying them a fee for HD to be accessible through their service. We were also paying to access local programming for which we were able to access “FREE” on the antenna. For an outrageous total charge per month, we could watch repetitious commercials, a whole lot of shopping channels, MTV that wasn’t the MTV I had loved and every single time I turned HBO on, they were showing “Somewhere in Time” starring Christopher Reeves. It didn’t matter what day or what time – that movie was on. Christopher will always be Superman to me – and dearly missed.

The 14-year-old grew up and graduated from college. A decision was made to stop the tv service madness. At the time, we lived outside of Houston. There were 54 channels available through the antenna. Now, some were in languages I had always intended to learn and a few were extremely religious. Most were in HD and reception was crystal clear. The same can’t be said for living outside of beautiful Paris, TX. Our antenna access amounts to CBS, Fox and 2 limited Oklahoma PBS channels. If anyone with money is in Oklahoma reading this – please contribute to your PBS station. The programs showing now were seen in Houston a long time ago. That said, my interest lies in access to local weather which can be seen on the CBS channel.

Any television viewing is now accomplished by switching over to Roku. World news, national news, Pandora, Netflix, HuluPlus, etc are here to entertain, educate and teach me how to make my own creme fraiche. Netflix is better at less or no commercial interruptions than HuluPlus. It was a fantastic to watch 4 seasons of Mad Men without any commercials. Continuous story line and actual use of the 18 minutes, average, time in my life to do something constructive – instead of multiple and redundant commercials to stop hemmoroid itching or to lose weight. By the way, we didn’t do the Mad Men marathon where you start the gig at 10:00 am, in your night clothes and watch continuously for 20 hours at a time! No, we watched the episodes in the evening over a period of weeks!

Instead of watching mindless prattle available for a fee, we are now able to choose exactly what we want to watch and when we want to watch it. It was not a hard habit to break. Think of how many hours your children and family members are glued to the tv out of habit. Ask them when they last saw a movie or program on a premium channel and discuss the subject matter. You will be amazed by the feedback.

If you subscribe to Netflix, HuluPlus and assorted other programs accessible through the internet, your savings can amount to over $1,000.00 per year by cutting the cable/satellite service. This depends on your current expenditure and your future decisions. The most valued benefit we have received is time.