Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Evil Evil Subcontractors

Amy spent two hours yesterday yelling at a satellite TV installer over the phone. We decided to upgrade our regular HD service to HD DVR service. This is mostly because Amy will miss her favorite evening soap because of some classes shes going to be taking this spring. It's also because Chuck and Big Bang Theory are on at the same time.

The Borders Rewards program had a discount deal so Amy purchased the service through them for what still was a princely sum. Last night she had cause to call DirecTV to follow up on a service person's phone message. DirecTV had never heard of any planned change to our service. They also told her that the princely sum she had placed on her debit card was almost twice what she should have paid.

A brief investigation followed. Amy discovered that she had not been dealing with DirecTV at all. She had been dealing with DirectSatTV, one of their installation contractors based out of North Carolina. DirectSatTV appears to be run by the devil.

DirectSatTV padded our bill with installation fees and various other items that we should have gotten for free. When confronted with this they claimed ignorance and that they couldn't locate itemized billing records for the amount Amy had paid. They said we did pay too much and reduced the bill by about twenty bucks. Still not even close to what we should have paid. When an actual DirecTV rep was brought in on a conference call, the subcontractor's position became untenable. Sat TV caved only to uncave the instant that the DirecTV rep left. This sort of argument went back and forth for quite while with Amy getting bounced off of DirecTV reps and SatTV reps several times. The dispute was finally concluded by an agreement that got us the majority of our money back through refunds and credits to our future service bill.

The lesson? One, always know who you're talking with. DirecTV. DirectSatTV. Easy to make a mistake, especially when the subcontract is using the DirecTV logo all over their site. Two, never put this sort of thing on a debit card. By the time Amy realized something was up, the transaction had gone through. DirectSatTV already had our money and was going to hold on to it by hell and high water. If we had used a credit card, we could have called up our credit card company and disputed the charge. This would have made DirectSatTV far more pliable.

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