Is this legal? (RANT)

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by w00tDude, Dec 30, 2005.

  1. w00tDude

    w00tDude New Member

    Oct 11, 2002


    So I have been a big DirecTV fan/subscriber for about 5 years. I found a good deal on an HR10-250 on ebay ($280) and figured I would get that and not have to hassle with the supposed rebates.

    I called to activate the receiver (big mistake there). And I told the CSR that since I was deactivating my old HDVR2 and activating the new HR10-250, that I did not agree to a 2 year service agreement.

    She went ahead and did it, but behind my back activated the new receiver, did not deactivate the old receiver and put me down for a 2 year service agreement.

    I then noticed a few days later, on my account it said I had a 2 year commitment. I called to "get out of the commitment", because basically when it comes to HD DirecTV is definitely far behind Comcast (for cost to benefit ratio). I want the option to bail if the HD sucks (which basically it does, the OTA constantly has dropouts).

    The CSR "specialist" I then talked to said that he was sorry the CSR did not explain to me that anytime you call DirecTV and do anything, including having your unit serviced, or a card replaced, or activating used equipment or reactivating equipment you had previously deactivated that you would be held to a 1 year contract for nonDVR receivers and a 2 year contract for DVRs.

    I then told him that I did not agree to the 2year commitment when I called in before and that they illegally "signed" me up. He stated that when I purchased the new unit and called DirecTV that I automatically signed up and that there is no opt out policy. He also stated that once signed up there is no grace period, from the point someone puts that 2 year commitment on your account you are held to it. Even though I told them NOT TO!

    I then heatedly told him that was extortion and that I wanted to cancel my whole account. He then proceeded to state he could not do that unless he charged my credit card $300. He said that if I sent back my HD Tivo AND my other 2 HDVR2s (which I have had both for about 4 years, got them the day they came out) that would be the only way I would not owe $300.

    At this point it just becomes surreal and I am considering contacting the BBB, laywers and posting on as many places as I can that DirecTV is running a racket. I did not realize how sleazy these guys have become and I now feel that Comcast is a relative angel by comparison.

    I am also plan to cancel all this lame DirecTV crap and then contact Credit Card conflict resolution and stop payment to DirecTV if they charge me the 2 year commitment.

    Sorry for the long rant, but just 3 questions:

    1. I assume I am correct in stating that if I declined the 2 year commitment, that the CSR should have just not activated my new DVR until I accepted the commitment?

    2. I assume that one should have a grace period when having to sign up for something that requires a commitment? That is certainly true with cellphones.

    3. I assume that I don't have to hand over ALL my receivers to avoid a penalty. After all I PAID for them AND paid for 4 years worth of programming on each of those receivers.

    Just a word of warning to all those folks out there who might still be DirecTV fans like I once was. Many of you might think they can do no wrong, but in my opinion that are headed downhill fast.

    Disgruntled is an understatement,
  2. AbMagFab

    AbMagFab What happened, TiVo?

    Feb 5, 2001
    Discussed many times before, you can get out of your commitment by returning the equipment.

    DirecTV subsidizes the equipment heavily, so this is totally reasonable and no big deal.
  3. jhillestad

    jhillestad New Member

    Jul 13, 2004
    If you have been with them for 5 years why are you suddenly concerned about a commitment?

    You have been with them longer than most hollywood marriages !
  4. ebonovic

    ebonovic has gone his way...

    Jul 24, 2001
    For #1: You can't actually "decline" the 2 year commitment... but in your case you purchased a used item, not a new retail... So it is in a grey area. If you where to purchase it new retail, then you would not be able to "refuse" it as it is part of the usage agreement.

    #2: In general... 30 days... If you where to deactivate it now, I dobut anything would happen.

    #3: That is a new one they are throwing out there, and we have been hashing it out for a while. Previous agreements where that it was for "the current unit" that you where adding. Recently it was changed to be ALL units....
    Haven't heard of it enforced yet, and I bet it would be hard to do for anything other then the latest hardwares.

    Either way... for them to say they weren't going to put the commitment on there and then later do.... That would be wrong.

    Call customer retention, you usually get more level headed people over there that seem to have better "powers" to make corrections.

    So when are "phones" for home use going to come out so we can "record" our conversations with providers... they have no problem recording us for "training" and dispute purposes... as a consumer, i should be allowed to do the same... especially with the advent of digital phones and MP3... should be no problem to hook up a basephone to the computer and record the conversation... with the BEEP every few seconds.
  5. dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

    Dec 3, 2000


    No it's not totally reasonable. He obtained the equipment from other parties who would have already let DirecTV recoup their money. DirecTV is trying to double-dip by forcing the commitment on people when activating/reactivating a used receiver.

    The simplest thing is just not worry about it until you want to cancel. Arguing about it is nice in principle, but you won't get anywhere, and even if you did, you'd just have to keep re-arguing it everytime you did something, and odds are good the 1 or 2 years will zip by anyway and then nothing need be done.

    There's plenty of ways to work the system if it comes to that.

    1) Cancel every receiver but the least expensive, oldest, piece of junk. Then cancel the account and send back the 1 receiver. :)

    2) Tell the CSR where you're moving doesn't allow a dish to be installed otherwise you'd love to keep subscribing but can't.

    3) Speak to a manager concerning the commitment showing how there's no cost to recoup since the didn't subsidize any of your equipment.

    In any event, I'd have just ignored that DirecTV think you have a commitment -- worry about it when you want to cancel, not just because they stuck that line item on your statement.
  6. DeDondeEs

    DeDondeEs Well-Known Member TCF Club

    Feb 20, 2004
    Las Vegas, NV
    I had a problem with them leaving my old receiver activated. I told them twice during my conversation with them that I would not be using the old receiver, and they still billed me for it.
  7. ebonovic

    ebonovic has gone his way...

    Jul 24, 2001
    You should have no problems removing equipment from your account.

    Provided you leave the account open and pay for the programming, you can go down to 1 reciever on the account. The Agreement is for the programming, not for the units you have on the account.

    "the problem" that will happen is that the "old" equipment is the primary access card for the account, and they have to move it over. I just did this last night (turning off a DVR), and it took about 5 minutes to get everything moved over to a different unit as the primary reciever.
  8. w00tDude

    w00tDude New Member

    Oct 11, 2002
    The CSR actually mentioned option #2 to me when I was complaining. It actually is my biggest concern, there may be a move to AK in my future and I didn't want to be stuck paying for something when I can't even get service. He assured me multiple times that they would not make me pay in that case.

    I really like your answers, let DirecTV think I have a commitment all they want. If it turns out I want to cancel because of the poor quality of OTA HD, the kinds folks here have given me all kinds of "workarounds". My credit card company is very good at handling disputes as well. :cool:

    Some other folks had suggested I could have just moved my card from my HDVR2 to the HR10-250 and just left it registered as a HDVR2 -- although they may have thought something was up once if I started adding the HD package to my programming.

  9. dbish

    dbish New Member

    Aug 30, 2004
    Don't need the beep unless you live in a "2 party consent" state which Illinois is. Many states only require one party be aware the call is recorded and that party can be the person recording. In a 2 party state, ALL participants need to be notified. You can also notify them by just saying you are recording it or by beeping every 30 seconds.

    I used to sell video and telephone recording systems to Police, Govt, and call centers so I know a little about the law regarding these recordings.
  10. JTAnderson

    JTAnderson Active Member

    Jun 6, 2000
    I guess you could do that, but it wouldn't allow you to view any programming.
  11. formulaben

    formulaben Formula Tivo Racing

    Jan 27, 2003
    Les Bois
    I used to be the biggest fan of DirecTV, especially after I got an HDVR2. But lately things seem to be going downhill, and in a hurry. I hate that I'll probably have to move to Comcast soon, but oh well...
  12. Charles R

    Charles R Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2000
    When I activated my second HD TiVo DirecTV wouldn't offer any service credit so I said I didn't think I should be held to any type of commitment. They said fine and noted it on my account (it is still there). Now on several occasions they have thrown on a two-year commitment when they sent me new replacements (versus refurbs) and it took a few calls to get them taken off my account.

    I have heard so many different stories (often the exact opposite) from CSRs that it isn't funny. All and all if you have a "decent case" it might take a few calls but eventually you'll find someone reasonable enough to work it out. At least this has been my case so far.
  13. Billy66

    Billy66 Again with shoelaces

    Dec 15, 2003
    You can still get DTV in AK. Actually the Anchorage locals are going up very soon if not already.
  14. dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

    Dec 3, 2000

    DIRECTV Now Offers Local Channels in Alaska; Local Stations in Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks Roll Out Today

    EL SEGUNDO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 8, 2005--DIRECTV customers in Alaska now have access to their local news, weather, sports and prime-time network programming -- all in digital-quality picture and sound -- as DIRECTV rolls out local broadcast stations in Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks, Alaska today.

    With the launch of local channels in Alaska and three other markets later this month, DIRECTV will offer local channels in 142 markets, representing more than 93 percent of U.S. TV households.

    "Today's announcement by DIRECTV is great news for Alaskans. DIRECTV has delivered local channels to our state, so that Alaskans now have access to the same level of television service that most customers in the lower 48 states enjoy," said Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). "Local television programming provides important information and entertainment to Alaskans, who will now be able to receive this programming via satellite in our state's three major cities."

    "Customers in Alaska who have had few options for the reception of local programming now have the ability to watch their favorite local news and entertainment programming in digital-quality picture and sound via DIRECTV," said Dan Fawcett, executive vice president, Programming Acquisition, DIRECTV, Inc. "New satellites and advances in technology have enabled us to provide most viewers in Alaska with a complete lineup of DIRECTV(R) programming for the first time."

    DIRECTV customers will be able to access their national DIRECTV programming and local channels in Alaska by using a new DIRECTV H20 receiver and a 1.2-meter dish. DIRECTV receiving equipment is available at independent retailers and can also be ordered directly from DIRECTV by calling a dedicated toll free number at 1-877-897-8131. Information on how to order equipment is also available at Blockbuster stores, and beginning next year, the new DIRECTV receiving equipment can also be ordered at Best Buy and Wal-Mart locations.

    The new receiving equipment and live local channel feeds can be viewed at AP&T Wireless, an independent DIRECTV dealer in Juneau beginning Dec. 12.

    Anchorage Local Channels(a)
    -- KTBY (FOX)/Channel 4
    -- KYES (UPN)/Channel 5
    -- KAKM (PBS)/Channel 7
    -- KIMO (ABC)/Channel 13
    -- WB (WB)/Channel 14
    -- KDMD (PAX)/Channel 33

    (a) DIRECTV has not yet reached agreements with the owners of KTVA
    (CBS)/Channel 11 and KTUU (NBC)/Channel 2. We hope to add these
    channels to the lineup in the near future.
  15. qposner

    qposner New Member

    Sep 28, 2003
    Vancouver, WA
    Send a letter to legal, they are accomodating and don't want the hassle of little things like this. They will probably take care of you.
  16. Scopeman

    Scopeman 2 x Basic Roamio

    Oct 22, 2002
    Central Texas
    Anytime you are informed by a vendor that a call may be recorded ("for training purposes" or whatever else) you are entitled to make your own recording of the call without informing them you are doing so. They have already informed you that they are aware of potential recording, and by staying on the line you are agreeing to potential recording, so you are covered in every state, including "2 party consent" states, for recording without any additional notification.

    I have enjoyed, on numerous occasions, playing a phone call back to a supervisor. Remarkably effective, especially when coupled with a BBB complaint or a filing to the local state AG office.

    If anyone ever easks you why you recorded the call, say it was for training purposes. :)
  17. nsdp

    nsdp New Member

    Jun 4, 2002
    A couple of quick comments, I spent twenty five years practicing(we never get it right that is why we call it practicing) in federal court and the last 7 as an A Panel member of the Federal Public Defender's Office. I have looked at the rebate form and it does not specify that the purchase must be at retail. So an Ebay purchase is legit if the unit has not been previously been used for the rebate and you activate the HD service. If they don't apply the rebate contact the FTC. Also the two party consent rule only applies to intrastate calls where both parties live or "do business" within the state. State to state calls by a private individual are governed by the Federal Communications Act because the calls are in interstate commerce and states are forbidden to regulate interstate commerce. The wine purchasing over the internet case where the Supreme Court shot Texas along with New York and other states out of the saddle is a prime and very recent example. Companies have the issue of whether or not they do business in the state. Very complicated issue so the answer is often very different for them. In the case described here there are probably already are or will be criminal violations of 18 USC 1342 and 1347. That is mail and wire fraud. If Directv persists then contact the FTC office in Dallas.
  18. paul01463

    paul01463 New Member

    Jul 26, 2004
    [QUOTE [snip] So when are "phones" for home use going to come out so we can "record" our conversations with providers... they have no problem recording us for "training" and dispute purposes... as a consumer, i should be allowed to do the same... especially with the advent of digital phones and MP3... should be no problem to hook up a basephone to the computer and record the conversation... with the BEEP every few seconds.[/QUOTE]

    I actually have the capability to record and during a billing dispute with DirecTv (billed $1000 for a returned defective unit) informed the CSR that I would now begin recording. The CSR told me that they have standing orders to terminate any call they believe is being recorded. I refused to turn off my recorder and the CSR hung up. This sequence of events reoccurred on two subsequent calls.

    There is no federal law (to my knowledge) that deals with the recording of phone calls for private use other than to state that the party must be informed that the recording is occurring. State laws vary.

    So, yes - technically it's a snap. Actually using the recording is another matter altogether. Perhaps there is a business opportunity here similar to the third-party independent verification used by telemarketers while making a sale. :)
  19. mgmrick

    mgmrick Haven't broke yet

    Aug 28, 2002
    Port Byron...
    I added a new tivo from ebay and was not commited for another 2 years.
  20. Jim Abbett

    Jim Abbett New Member

    Nov 6, 2005
    Called retention back and got my credit with no hassles.

    FINALLY!! :D

    They must have just handed out holiday bonuses or something.

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