Saturday, September 28, 2013

I guess there is a sucker born every day....

A few years ago, we left Charter TV and went to Direct TV satellite service.  I can't remember exactly why we did that, but we did.  We both hated it!  The biggest problem was that when you needed a television the most - right at the height of a bad storm - we would lose the satellite signal. And you know the kind of storms we have here in the south in the spring time!  And we get lots of rain.  When James Spann is telling you where that tornado is - practically street by street - you want to make sure your TV is ON!  So we got fed up with it, and paid to get out of the contract early.  We went with AT&T U-Verse - mainly because we were offered a "deal."  Well, as it turned out that "deal" ended up quite expensive and never seemed to be the amount we were promised.  The TV was fine; I didn't really have any beef with it - it was just costly.

Several weeks ago, I was in Best Buy and was approached by someone who asked who our TV provider was.  I could see he was a Direct TV salesman, and I told him I was doing just fine with what I had - in fact I had paid to get out of a contract early with his company, and I had no interest in what he offered.  He kind of chuckled and walked off.

Then last weekend we were again in Best Buy.  A Direct TV salesman approached my husband and began to give him "the pitch."  He listened and then brought me into the conversation, but I told the man the reason why we got rid of his company early the last time we had satellite TV.  He assured us that the equipment was all new technology now - that 99% of the time our reception would not go out, and it would be constant in a storm.  When he found our old dish was mounted on a pole, he said that was our problem before - there was too much vibration in a storm.  After all the discounts he would give us, the cost per month was over $100 less than what we were currently paying.  All the added benefits of Direct TV plus the deceased amount each month sounded tempting.  Plus we would get a $150 gift certificate to Best Buy.  I called AT&T, and we were no longer under contract with them, so it would cost us nothing to discontinue service with them.  Of course, they tried to keep us by offering to add channels to our current service AND reduce the amount of our bill for 6 months.  When I asked what it would be AFTER 6 months, of course it was more than what we were paying now.  I promptly told them NO!  So, to save money, we decided to give Direct TV another try.   I told the salesman, "If I get to bad weather season, and our reception goes out, I'm coming back to chew your ear off!" The installation appointment was made for last Tuesday which I had to put off to Thursday due to the doctor's appointment for my knee.

Thursday arrived and the installation tech arrived.  When he looked outside to see that we already had a dish, he told me that the dish we had used previously was the same they use now.  Even the center apparatus was the same as what we had before (i.e. no new technology).  That had been updated about 3 years ago.  The only thing that was updated now is the receivers - the boxes that go in the home.  They are about 3"x4" now.  I told him, "Oh, wait a minute now!  Do you mean to tell me that there is not "new technology" that will give me continuous reception in a storm???!!!"  He said, "No, whatever reception you had before is what you'll have now.  It is like shining a laser at something - if you put a piece of paper in between, you'll cut off the signal.  It is the same way with rain and with cloud density.  That's why we don't like to install them on really cloudy days, because you can't get a real good signal."  When I asked him about it being mounted on a pole, he said the pole we had was solid in cement.  That was not the problem.  AARRGGHH!!!  I said, "So what you are telling me is that lousy salesman just fed me a line?!"  He looked kind of sheepish, hung his head a bit, and said rather softly, "Well.....pretty much. I'm not going to lie to you."   AARRGGHH!!!  I told him to wait a minute - that I had to make a phone call, because we may not even want this!  I called Guy, and furiously told him all the tech had told me.  Guy reminded me that the salesman also told us that even if our TV reception went out, we could stream our local channel over our computers, so we could still get the weather reports as long as we had power.  The tech again told me that if the satellite goes out, there is no streaming over your computer other than through your internet - not the satellite.  Well, there you go....salesman lied again!  Guy and I mulled it over and decided that we would go ahead with it because it was saving us enough money, and we can stream the local channels over our internet, which we are leaving with AT&T (because we don't want the hassle of changing our email addresses everywhere!).  I said, "Well, in two years, we'll probably be ready to change service providers again anyway."  So I went back to the guy and told him to install the equipment.  He did put a new apparatus in the center of the dish since the old one had been sitting out there over two years, and this was a new contract.  We have several months until our main storm season rolls around.  We'll see what happens then.  Actually, Alabama has it's 2nd tornado season in November, so I guess we'll find out then.

As he was installing the equipment, he told me that the TV out on the screened in porch is too old for the connections, so we won't be able to hook that one up.  It was hooked up with AT&T service through a splitter, but splitters don't work with satellite.  Guy sits out there and watches TV a lot in the evenings in the spring, summer and fall.  Oh, more.  The TV we had out there was given to us by our neighbors when they had a garage sale.  Guy put it out there because, if someone came into our backyard and stole it, we wouldn't be out much.  Putting one of our flat screens out there doesn't seem like a wise option.

After all the equipment was installed, the guy said "We've got a bit of a problem.  The activation service is down, so I can't finish my installation.  I've got another install an hour away, so I can't come back after that one to finish here.  When the service comes back up, I'll activate it, call you, and walk you through all the rest of it."  He briefly told me the steps I'd take, and there was no way I could remember those.  But what could I do?  I reluctantly signed his papers, and he left.  And I had no TV.  That was OK because I don't turn the TV on until Jeopardy comes on.  But when it came time to watch Jeopardy, I tried streaming it over my computer - no luck!  :(

Considerable time passed, and I received no call.  I finally called him, and he was just finishing up his last installation, and he was going to call me on his way home to walk me through it.  He walked me through the steps on the main TV, which were numerous.  I then went to the kitchen and activated it, trying desperately to remember all the steps.  Then I did the one in the bedroom, hobbled upstairs to do the ones in the guest room, and in my quilt room.  (I know, we have too many TVs!)  In the meantime, I had to call him back a few times.  When they were all activated, I still had to use one remote to turn the TV on and control the volume, and the new remote to activate the satellite.  When I called him back to ask about that he told me how to program all the remotes.  The one in the living room and kitchen went just fine, but the one in the master bedroom would not program.  I tried about 20 times - until my thumbs were about to fall off.  I called him, and he told me to go do the rest so I was sure I was doing it right and come back to that one last.  I did that, and all the others went fairly smoothly.  The one in the master bedroom was a no-go!  He had me reset the receiver - no-go.  He had me do it a different way - no-go.  He finally said he would call his supervisor to see if he had an install this direction the next day, and he would come by to see what the problem was.  I told him I was sorry.  I had programed all the rest, so I knew that I was doing it correctly!  So I gave up and shut that unit in the bedroom off.  By this time, it was nearly 6:00 pm, and it had taken me nearly 2 hours to hobble all over the house and do this man's job.  Guy had come home, and I had no supper prepared.  (Aw, shucks!  Now we'd have to go out and eat!)  Later in the evening, I went back to the bedroom to try one more time.  I turned the receiver back on and after 3 more tries, it WORKED!!  I called the tech back for the ump-teenth time to say he didn't need to come back after all.

Do I need to tell you I was not a happy camper?  Here this slick, nice-dressed salesman (who, incidentally was training another salesman) had BOLD . FACE . LIED to me, and then I had to do half the install tech man's job.  In the midst of all this Jeannine called me.  When I told her what was going on, she just laughed and told me that I was crazy to believe anything sales people tell you.  And she said, "Good luck with getting the $150 gift certificate!  When we tried to get our $200 one, they told us they didn't know anything about that!"  What has this world come to????   I think it is a crying shame when you have to look at everyone in business as though they are lying to you!!

I will say that once I got everything going, I do believe that the picture on the TV is better.  It is a beautiful crystal clear HD picture!  But, let me tell you....I'm headed for Best Buy the first chance I have to give that sleazy salesman a piece of my mind!  And I hope his little trainee is with him because he needs an ear full, too.  He needs to know that his role model is a leading him down a path he should not be taking.  What I need to do is find out who the salesman's supervisor is and report him. 

OK, now that I've let off all that s.t.e.a.m., I'll move on.  Time to get ready for "the game."  ROLL TIDE!!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Comcast and Verizon are the major cable providers in our area. We've had both and no major issues to speak of. We have Verizon FIOS right now because they had the best deal. The only hiccup is when the power goes out you have to manually reset the cable box so until you do the TIVO won't work. I guess I'll be satisfied and not look for any good deals in the future.