Archive for DirecTV

“I Can’t” – “You will need to” – oh, but wait

Called DirecTV @ 1-800-494-4388. Less than 5 minutes to talk to a live body – not bad. So what does she tell me? “You’ll have to order a new access card – it won’t let us reactivate the card you have. Let me see if my supervisor can reactivate it – if not – you’ll have to order a new card.”

10:00 minutes in – still holding.

Now she tells me that, “… because the access cards have been used before – they can not be transfered to a new box.” I requested customer retention – they sent me to Susan on the access card team.

20:00 minutes in – I have relayed my entire story to Susan

She thinks it should be possible to fix this. She just needs to type up the information I gave her and then work on switching my service around.

21:40 – she asks if she can put me on hold for 2 to 3 minutes

25:07 – Off hold. The old card will not reactivate (they will have to Fedex a new one). I asked about using the current card from the H20 and transfering it to my HR10-250. She said that should work. Her system allowed the transfer, and we are now booting the 10-250 with the card that was being used just 30 minutes ago in my H20 box.

29:10 – Time check

35:45 – Things are working on the 10-250 now (or so it seems – I reserve judgment until I have used it for a day or two). We’ll tackle the billing disputes another day.

Well now – after watching less than 5 minutes of TV, the picture went away and it tells me the following …

“Sorry, the Recorder must re-acquire information from the satellite. As soon as the Recorder is done, you will be able to watch Live TV again. Meanwhile, you can press the DIRECTV button to watch the Now Playing List programs.”

Since I don’t have anything in now playing, I’ll just sit here and watch it aquire satellite signal again ….

Okay – it is back working again. Wonder if that will happen again. Very strange.

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It’s Alive

So I talked about fixing my old HR10-250 DVR in my post this morning. I went out to the web and paid the $20 for a copy of InstantCake (a tool that sets up a hard drive for use in almost any Tivo system – including the base software image). To my pleasant surprise, it was easy and worked perfectly. I booted up and repeated the guided setup process as was indicated in the instructions. So far, so good. Now I just have to deal with DirecTV support again in order to transfer my service back to the appropriate access card (yucky). I’ll post again later ….

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Bye Bye DirecTV

Today was the day. After battling it out with DirecTV and waiting almost a month, my appointment for installation of the new HD DVR was scheduled for today. The install tech arrived at the appropriate time, but the first words out of his mouth were, “We have a problem.” It seems that the new 5 LNB dish is nearly 3 times the size of the old dish and is REQUIRED for the new box to work. Problem is that my dish is mounted to the railing on my balcony, and there is no way it would support the weight of the new dish. So roof mount it you might think. I actually live in a condo complex that allows for roof mounting, but the install tech says his company won’t allow them to do that kind of work in a multi-dwelling unit (liability reasons).

So I sent the tech on his way – no new dish – no DVR. Now think of it from my perspective. Even if my old DVR was working (which it isn’t), why would I stick with it? The MPEG2 technology is being phased out, and MPEG4 is taking its place. I have an MPEG4 receiver, but it does not have a DVR. I see few options. I could repair my old DVR and ride it out for a while. Or … I could switch back to cable TV and purchase a Series3 Tivo.

In the interest of time – I might go with the repair option in the short term, but in the long run it is going to be “bye bye” for DirecTV. One unhappy customer. One unhappy installer. He doesn’t get paid since he didn’t do the install.

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The “sucking” sound of DirecTV customer support

So if you read my previous post, you are no doubt aware that I had to change from a DirecTV HR10-250 unit to a H20 (non-DVR). I’m finding life without a DVR to be extremely painful. It sure would be nice if the HR20 unit was available outside of the LA area by now, but the good news is that I have been told I will be able to upgrade for only $20 (data verified at both Best Buy and DirecTV Tier 2 support).

What I didn’t share before was the experience I had with their customer support department. First off – Tier 1 was a joke. When I called in to activate the H20, the woman I spoke with told me to move my existing access card to the new unit. That resulted in an “invalid access card” error message which persisted through several power cycles and reboots. She finally moved me to Tier 2. I got a guy who was clearly more intelligent. He explained that older cards often do not work well in newer systems, and that the best option was to activate the card that came with the H20 and migrate my subscription services. So we did. And all seemed well with the world. I was fairly happy when I got off the phone.

Then today I decided it was time to watch some Sunday afternoon baseball. I changed over to my MLB package channels only to be told that I did not subscribe to these channels. Seems the guy at Tier 2 support forgot to put my MLB package back on. So round 2 of customer support begins.

I called in again to Tier 1. No surprise – after wasting about 10 minutes of my time, she tells me she can’t solve my problem. She assures me that Tier 2 will be able to help me. Before she transfers my call, two things happen. First she tells me that there is no email address on file for my account. Interesting – since they email me my account statement every month. Secondly, she tells me she is typing up the notes about my call so that Tier 2 will know “exactly what I am calling about.” I hear her keyboard clicking for about 45 seconds, and then she transfers my call.

Now Tier 2, again, is able to resolve my call. But the woman that answered had no idea who I was or why I was calling. I called her out on it and asked why she didn’t get the information from the Tier 1 rep. Her response was, “we don’t do warm call transfers here between support levels.” When I explained that the call notes were typed up – she ignored it as if I had not said it.

My next support call is no doubt going to be one asking for customer retention. These people were pretty good – right up until the time I had to start speaking with them. So if anyone in senior management for DirecTV reads this, you should dissolve your entire Tier 1 support organization. They are doing absolutely nothing but costing you money.

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Bad Tivo … That’s a bad Tivo Tivo

Machines really do have a life of their own, and they know when their life is coming to an end. It pisses them off. They would rather go the suicide route that be put out to pasture. And my DirecTV HR10-250 martyred itself last night. It won’t boot, and it is out of warranty.

Now the real pisser is that DirecTV is replacing the HR10 unit with a new HR20 unit within the next two weeks, but the HR20 is not for sale yet. So I had to go spend 100 clams to buy a temporary HD receiver (non-DVR) to carry me through the next couple weeks. Could that timing have been any worse?

And a personal word to DirecTV. As a loyal Tivo user, I hate you. Your are sunsetting a fantastic interface (both on screen and the remote) in favor of something that will never be able to compare. Tivo has mastered the DVR market. Everything else is just a knock-off. Can you tell I’m mad? I moved to DirecTV because you had Tivo support, and less than two years later the whole thing is going away. If I have to pay even a dime more to move to the HR20 unit – you will probably lose this customer.

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