Score One For The Little Guy!

For those following my DirecTV/Qwest saga from this morning, I have good news to report. After 3 calls and one Twitter conversation with DirecTV representatives last night. After another call with Qwest this morning. After writing a blog post and talking with other dissatisfied DirecTV customers this morning. And after launching an EECB (Executive Email Carpet Bomb….thanks John!), my issue has been resolved.

I received a call from Matt at DirecTV 20 minutes ago, telling me that they will force the rebate, even though it’s been more than 60 days. Which is interesting, because I was told in no uncertain terms by the Qwest representative this morning that forcing the rebate would be impossible, even if I petitioned her supervisor and her supervisor’s supervisor…and on down the line.

Still, I’m happy to have my pricing issue resolved, and I thank Matt, @DirecTV, and whoever put Matt on the case for making it happen.

However, I hope DirecTV listens to the customers. Most people don’t have blogs with 4000+ readers to tell their stories. Most people don’t have readers who can point them to the email addresses of corporate officers at the companies they have issues with. I feel privileged to be in this position, and I feel I must speak up in asking for corporate policies to be changed.

Please, no more deceptive rebates. If as a company, you can’t afford to offer your basic package for $44.99 a month, so you figure in a deceptive rebate, knowing that most will end up paying $62 a month, just change your pricing structure. I’d much rather do business with a company I trust to be straight up with me, than a company I feel is trying to take advantage of me at every turn. Raise your price to $54.99 a month with no rebate involved.

After all, I held on to my phone line and signed up for DirecTV with Qwest, because Qwest had earned my trust as a customer. It would have been less expensive for me to go with Charter all around, but I felt Qwest had earned my business.

Which brings me to the issue of what to do with Qwest. Since it was their representative who initially made the DirecTV offer and didn’t thoroughly explain it, and since it was the Qwest customer service rep that assured me there was no way, even if I went above her head, to adjust my bill, I’m not too happy with Qwest right now.

After all, I copied the EECB to their executives too, and I haven’t heard one word.**Update at the bottom of the post…I heard back.**

I’m not in any contract with Qwest. If I drop them, I’ll lose the $5 a month bundle DirecTV savings, but I’ll be saving about $30 a month for phone service. I’d probably just use my cell instead. I’m thinking it might be time to let Qwest go. I’ll have to ponder that for a bit. What do you think?

**UPDATE: I just heard back from Charles at Qwest. He was calling to let me know Qwest had spoken to DirecTV and I would be receiving the rebate credit. He apologized for taking so long to fix the problem. So thank you Charles and the Qwest team for working alongside DirecTV for a fix!



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By , on Feb 18, 2009
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.

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{19 Comments}

  1. Zach:

    To get your full new customer promotion with DIRECTV, you have to: Order online or submit an online rebate application, agree to receive marketing e-mails, and wait 6-8 weeks from startup. That means that you have to pay full price until your rebates are processed. I can tell you from working at DISH Network, that according to the ACSI DISH beats DIRECTV in Customer Satisfaction. DIRECTV experienced a significant decline in Customer Satisfaction.

  2. catherine jennifer fusco:

    My mother is a senior, we’ve been loyal customers for over 9yrs! She pays a hefty $90 a mo! We have all channels including HBO-Starz-Encore etco us, for another $5.00 we could have Hist/internatl-Bio-Ovation-Boomerange[I [daughter] love Yogi, but we cannot afford another dime! Now..Last year we [I] wanted Season 2/ TheTudors and they “gave it to 3 months! Now it is Season 3 and they want $10 a mo?? the revate will take 2 mo’s!! I cannot print it out now anyway, so he said no! I explained that for 2 yrs on HBO there’s been the worst programming on HBO,now I see the excellelt movies on Showtime which we DO NOT GET! Is this to move us to Showtime? I waited 2yrs for “21″ w/ Kevin Spacey All they show [HBO] are comedy’s/ and movies that are not provacitive nor heard of, so I will again ask why I cannot have TheTudors on Showtime free for Season 3/ The manupulative way he said “Well you’re saving as it is bec- it’s really $14.00 so we’re slashing off 4-5 $$ ? When a Dirctv customer pays such a price $90 mo and on time for 9yrs why must I beg for a show? Must I hear subjected to ” if you go to the movies it will cost…” Well I don’t GO to the movies! I will go to the top to get this free as I feel this is BAD business, these greedy CEO”S can afford it now that they made their millions…The Tudors must take money off, not $30.00 for 3 mo’s!!!

  3. katiya:

    Personally I would never use Qwest. I have heard and seen enough horror to know better than to ever trust them. I would be wary of having to deal with 2 companies in this way as well. However, I am wary by nature so that factors into my decision of who gets my business. There are only 3 companies who get my complete loyalty at this point because they have always been above board honest with me! It helps I’m always prepared though so I’m not scammed.

  4. stephanie boyd:

    Hello, my name is Steph and I am a manager at Qwest. I truly apologize for what you’ve gone through, from the lack of information given to you to the lengthy process, down the representatives not following through. It sounds as if you have finally found a resolution to your issue, but I would be happy to assist you with any other questions, concerns or future issues. You may email me at talktous@qwest.com (reference steph in the subject line) or you can follow us on twitter now at TalkToQwest. Once again, I apologize on behalf of Qwest that you have had this experience, we earned your trust in the past, we would like to re-earn it now. Thank you!

    Steph

  5. Mischelle:

    I, too, have just resolved a two week ongoing dispute with qwest/direct TV. However, Qwest was the pain in my backside more so than Direct. I have not received my $5.00 break for bundling with Qwest for months and now that another problem has been resolved, I am going back to having my service with Direct. For anyone interested, Qwest has a level of service for thse with cell service who don’t want to completely cut the land line. For $6.99, you can keep your land number and have all calls forward to your cell. They won’t offer that alternative, you have to ask.

  6. Jen:

    We got serious run-around with the whole Qwest DirecTV bundle, and somehow each time we talked to someone, the price kept going up. And both companies kept blaming the other for the “misunderstanding.” Good job getting them both to fulfill the promise they had made.

  7. Lynnae:

    @Vo0do0chile – Thanks so much for letting us know what happens in call centers. Someone else left a comment in my previous DirecTV post, which pretty much said the same thing.

    I feel really bad for call center employees, because they have to take on the frustration customers have with policies way beyond the control of the call center.

    I think, and I hope, that as the internet gives consumers more access to things like corporate email addresses and bad customer service stories, that big corporations are forced to change the way they do business. After all, their reputations are on the line.

    I don’t think a call center is a bad first point of contact when a customer has a problem. But there needs to be a way to escalate the complaint to someone who actually has the power to help, and it would seem that’s not currently the case.

  8. vo0do0chile:

    I have worked as a CSR for three companies, all of them large corporate entities. Without being specific, they were, a satellite TV company, a cable company and a credit card company. A few things to keep in mind when talking with customer service:
    1. What they tell you is generally what they believe to be true. So, when they told you that you had to do the rebate blah blah, they probably thought you were fully informed of what needed to be done, how to do it, what the contract was, etc. I can’t tell you how many times I was told “they were given a contract when they started the service…” (for all 3 companies actually)
    2. If they tell you they can only do XYZ thing, it may be true. Sometimes if you whine enough, they have permission to go a little further, or to get supervisor approval to go a little further, but in a lot of cases, if they say they can only do $5 discount, that’s all they can do. That doesn’t mean no one else can do it necessarily, but it will probably take some serious firepower to get high enough in the chain.
    3. Representatives are usually in a call center that does not have anyone very high up in the company anywhere nearby, and often, representatives don’t even work directly for the company. Many places use third party call centers. Of the three places I worked, two of them were third party call centers. On the third one, I worked in a call center that was owned by the company, but I was temp to hire. In all the call centers, the highest person we had didn’t really have much pull in the company at all.
    4. Along the same lines as 3, representatives are fairly disconnected from the rest of the process. For the 2 TV companies, we could schedule the service call, but there wasn’t much we could do when the installer didn’t come out for the 3rd time, other than apologize and re-schedule. In fact, I’ve never spoken to an installer or even dispatch. For the credit card company, if you had a fraud question or an issue with an account for the deceased or anything, then we could connect with the right department, but we couldn’t do anything about actually getting them on the phone or getting them to call you back or making sure they gave you correct information.
    5. Representatives have metrics and quality scores to meet. This means they are supposed to follow certain standards and rules, BUT do so in a fairly quick manner. Most places make it clear that they have no qualms about tossing your behind out the door if you don’t meet metrics even if your quality is good. So, if it seems like they’re trying to get you off the phone, they are.
    6. If a rep actually does a good job on the phone, a good thing you can do is ask to speak to their supervisor to brag on them a little. For the satellite company, I took both regular calls and escalated calls (I was a lead, not a supervisor) and the highlight of my day for both roles was getting a complimentary call. Reps so often get lambasted and treated badly and told they’re unhelpful despite doing everything in their power, it’s nice when they get complimented.

    Also, keep in mind, often, a customer’s problem is not with the rep, it’s with the BS corporate system in place. I’m not saying there aren’t bad reps out there, because there are plenty, but sometimes the rep just really doesn’t have the power to do what you need.

    If anyone has gotten this far, I know the question “why would someone work under those conditions?” has come to mind at least once. There are two major reasons. The first one is that, as I said, reps are very disconnected from everything, and often don’t know how convoluted and crappy the whole operation is (believe, this post opened my eyes a little, and I’ve worked for these types of companies before). The second one is plain and simple need of a job and money. Customer service pays reasonably well for what is a relatively unskilled job. All three times I worked customer service, I was in a situation where I desperately needed something to pay the bills and was not able to find anything in my chosen field.

  9. That’s nice to see. Way to go Lynnae!

    What about the millions of customers that don’t twitter or have a blog? It really puts them at a disadvantage, huh?

  10. Good for you. I am glad it has been resolved and maybe they will begin to listen to their customers.

  11. Lynnae:

    @Robert – I will certainly try to make it! I need to get my family healthy first. Son was sick, now I’m getting over it, and now it seems my daughter is coming down with it.

    @DDFD – Now THAT is a good question!

  12. Robert Johnson:

    I am glad to see that you were finally able to get this taken care of. I think rebates should be illegal as many companies use them in less than scrupulous ways to abuse consumers. Companies need to honest and upfront, and actually give customers the deals they are promising, instead of using rebates and other gimmicks so they don’t have to really pay out on what they are promising.

    On another note, there are only 2 more home basketball games for CC this year. You better come to one of them!

  13. Good for you Lynnae.

    Now the question is what are they going to do for the other 999,999 people they screwed over?

  14. Lynnae:

    Thanks, Becky. That’s exactly what I was going for.

  15. That’s great Lynnae, congrats! Wish they had listened to me when I complained; I still have so many issues and they completely ignored my emails. Guess I need another 1,000 subscribers for them to care about little old me! :-)

  16. Lynnae:

    @Coco, that’s exactly the problem. “Rebate” generally means that you fill out a form, send it in, and get a check in return. At least that’s how I’ve always understood it. And I agree that’s part of the problem.

  17. Good for you for not backing down! I really like how you wrote this post. You thanked them for fixing your problem, but still let them know that they are not doing good business. Well done :)

  18. Coco:

    Your situation is the first time I have ever heard of a rebate that affects your monthly bill. Usually it is a one time thing. That is so weird and probably why a lot of people are getting screwed.

    Coco

  19. Peggy:

    I’m one of those 4000+ readers but I don’t know if I’ve ever commented before. I read your previous post this morning and was appalled. Sadly too many companies are like this. Congrats and good for you!!

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