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Terrible Customer Service at DirecTV

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Old 02-04-2005, 05:44 PM   #1  
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Default Terrible Customer Service at DirecTV

I just left DirecTV for Cablevison. The sole reason was the terrible customer service that I received. I was using a HD250 Tivo unit and although it was slow as molasses it still was a good system. I have enclosed a modified version of the letter that I sent to DirecTV complaining about the poor customer service. I wanted to post this just to notify perspective consumers about the issues that I had with DirecTV.

I am in the process of writing up a review of Cablevisons HD PVR compared to the Hughes DirecTV service, but that will be posted in a different forumÖ.

VP Of Customer Service
DirecTV Corporate Offices
2230 East Imperial Highway
El Segundo, CA 90245
Friday, January 28, 2005


I have been a DirecTV customer since January 2003. In that timeframe I have required onsite technical support three of four times. Each time that an appointment has been scheduled, the technicians have failed to show up for the initial scheduled appointment. On three of those occasions I was not even afforded the courtesy of phone call to tell me that the appointment could not be kept as promised. Each time I have called DirecTV for service it has cost me a day of work and many wasted hours. The lack of respect for your customerís time is beyond rude and is totally unacceptable. I understand that you ďjobĒ out the service piece of your business. It is obvious to me that you donít take great care who you award those contracts to.
My latest service fiasco started on January 10th I called DirecTV because I was experiencing a problem with my HD Tivo unit. I spoke with a technician and worked through some various questions and answers. In the end the technician agreed with me that the Tivo unit was at fault and he told me that a service call needed to be scheduled
The person who took the call scheduled the appointment with me for Friday January 14th between the hours of 8:00 and 12:00. I took the day off from work and waited. At 1:00 PM I called DirecTV and was told that service personís van broke down. (Actually I think they gave me that excuse in the past, either that or the company that does this work has a fleet of broken down vehicles.) I asked the rep on the phone why I wasnít called to reschedule, which could have, at the very least, limited the amount of time that I wasted on this. He could not give me an answer to that. He was very helpful and said he would try and arrange a service call for later that afternoon. An hour after that call, someone from the local office called me and said that they would be coming by in few hours. At 6:00PM I called DirecTV, because no one showed. A supervisor named Nick told me that he would try and arrange a call later that same night and ďyou may or may not get a phone call this evening.Ē Now thatís customer service at itís finestÖ We may call or we may not callÖ..
Nick also told me that he would at get an appointment set up for Saturday in case they didnít show on Friday night.
On Saturday January 15th at 9:30AM I received a call from Brundila, a customer reprehensive at Halsted Communications. She asked me to explain to her what my complaint was. When I explained the entire story she informed me that they didnít have scheduled appointment for me for Saturday and that they would not be coming. I called DirecTV back and spoke to a supervisor named Tommy, after another 40 minutes on the phone he informed me that the local company would not be coming and he offered to reschedule for sometime later the next week. When I objected he told me that Halsted told him that they tried to service me on Friday but that no one answered the door or phone. I explained that I had been home the entire day, and asked if they had shown up why didnít they leave a note on the door or a message on my answering machine. What Iím assuming is that they never showed and lied to cover their poor performance. This left me with only one option, to reschedule a new time over a week away. Iím not concerned with the lack of TV, I am concerned about wasting another day sitting home waiting for the good folks at Halstead to show up.
On Thursday January 20th, a technician finally showed came to look at the problem that I was having. This technician was from tech Star, yet another sub-contractor under Halsted. He informed me at that time that he couldnít do anything about it since he isnít authorized to exchange the (obviously) broken unit. He told me that I needed to call DirecTV and that they would send out another unit to replace the one I owned. My frustration lies in the fact that all this wasted time could have been avoided if the technician who worked with me on the very first call had just sent me the replacement unit.
On January 25th I received my replacement Tivo unit via Fedex, over two weeks after my initial service call.
Today I called DirecTV to discuss canceling my service. I spoke to a person named Mark who was very good at denying that this type of service is a problem with DirecTV. He offered nothing except a credit for the length of time that I was unable to access my TV service. I decided at that time to cancel the service and find a way to sell my $1,000 Tivo unit. So I could recoup some of the cost of using DirectTV.
I only spend; on average $120 a month with DirecTV, but the total investment that I had to make to use your service was substantial. I know the loss of my account will not cause tears to flow at DirecTV but it should be something that you are looking at. What really irks me is that I payed an additional $7.99 a month for the protection plan, of course ever time I need service some issue arose. Isnít great to pay extra money for service that I didnít even get!
To have your company and itís affiliated Service Company, Halstead Communication (and however they sub-contract to) treat me in this manner numerous times is unacceptable. If the blame lies with Halstead, you should reevaluate who you use for your customer service, since the majority of your customers, no doubt, judge DirecTV by the quality of service, or lack there of, that they receive. I canít imagine that Iím the only person who has had this type of experience with DirecTV / Halstead.
I expect that this communication will fall on deaf eyes, since you have not shown me that you are properly responsive to customer issues; but I felt the need to document this series of incidents. I plan to make them available on the various Web Blogs whose subject matter relates to High Definition TV and television satellite systems.
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Old 02-05-2005, 11:12 AM   #2  
LCD is better.
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"deaf eyes"?
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Old 02-19-2005, 02:15 PM   #3  
My plasma is High Def.

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Please post the DirecTV response you receive (if/when received).
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Old 02-20-2005, 10:47 AM   #4  
A couch and an HDTV to go please.

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If you have not sold your HDDirectivo I would be interested in it.

Shoot me an email [email protected]

I've had nothing but exceptional customer service from DirecTV since my conversion from cable.
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Old 02-20-2005, 12:13 PM   #5  
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Question Fair to "Dis the Dish" ???

Why does anyone go with a dish unless they have to? I hate the Cable industry, but it seems like the obvious "lesser of two evils". You don't need a phone line, don't need a dish, get more local channel options and locals in HD, plus the prices are all approximately the same. I admit that having channels 1-99 in analog is a minor drawback, but that will eventually change and it's a small price to pay as a trade-off.

Since I've never had a dish (although honestly, I have considered it) it may be unfair to "dis the dish". Would anyone care to point out the positives of being a dish owner other than the satisfaction of telling the Cable Company where to shove their monopolistic arrogance?
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Old 05-21-2005, 05:28 PM   #6  
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Default Same Awful expereince with Halstead

sounds like the letter i will write. I am a long time DTV customer paying top $ for top program package. I wanted to upgrade to HDTV with the HD-DVR. On two consecutive saturdays, Halstead did not show up for scheduled appointments - and each time they repeatedly told me on the phone that someone would be there shortly or call me shortly. I wont bore you all with the details except to second what was said in the other post. I got the same story about trucks breaking down, emergencies etc. DTV said that i had 'bad luck" with halstead because these problems usually dont occur. Not so based on the posts here and others ive seen. And i thought cable had bad service -- it was nothing compared to this.
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Old 05-21-2005, 06:03 PM   #7  
How can anyone watch standard def?

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Default Cadmandoo

The answer WAS simple...DirecTV offered better picture quality, better prices, more channels, and better service...that was then.

This is now: Excessive MPEG 2 compression, "high def" that is getting poorer every day, pricing that is getting outrageous (yeah right, $99 bucks EXTRA for Sunday Ticket in HD on top of the $200+...no DTV), STILL more channels (my cable company is Charter...they suck), and since DirecTV has 14M subs, forget the service.

Nevertheless, cable is clearly the GREATER evil...hence, I remain a DirecTV customer since 1994.
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Old 05-21-2005, 06:04 PM   #8  
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CatManDoo, Good question. I went with Sat because it was a better value at the time after the equipment investment. That was 7 years ago. With DirecTV falling behind in HD and their prices going up, I'm seriously questioning my decision. I may switch back to cable in the next year if things don't change
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Old 05-21-2005, 08:26 PM   #9  
High Definition is the definition of life.

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Originally Posted by CatManDoo
[COLOR=Blue][FONT=Comic Sans MS]Why does anyone go with a dish unless they have to?
NFL Sunday Ticket is the only reason as far as I'm concerned. Of course, they are coming very close to pricing me away. I long for the day when Directv no longer has a monopoly on this service...
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Old 05-22-2005, 09:29 AM   #10  
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For every letter thats written to one company, theres one identical one written to the company you believe to love. THATS because Ive once written a very similar letter to cablevision. Not in one million years will I ever go back to cabelvision. I'll set up a pair of rabbit ears before that happens. My wonderful experience started with them when a technician came to my address and actually stole my drop wire for a neighbor because he was too lazy to run his own. This followed by a couple missed technician appointments as you express.

Personally, I think direcTV's customer service has been satisfactory aside from their varying (mis)information on the problems with the H10 reciever. When I threatened to leave, they gave me a great deal to stay. The two technician visits Ive had were very proffesional and on time. They gave me a phone call before arriving.

My area is serviced by actual DirectTV employees (they had directTV vans) . One would have to believe that across the country, there are many areas that are contracted out. Its a huge country for one company to cover borders to shores. There are contractors that serve all satellite services. Sensibly, service by these techs wouldnt be nearly as good as directTV employees, perhaps thats your situation.

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Old 05-22-2005, 10:10 AM   #11  
My TV is High Def.

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Well I had the same experience with the cable company and some lies promeses. So, I still keep my DISH over the cable.
Probably eachone had bad experiences with satellite/cable in sometimes and have to decide to go to the competition provider but that's the way we act under that situation.
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Old 05-22-2005, 04:07 PM   #12  
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And there are a surprisingly large number of communities scaterred around the country where cable cannot offer ANY HD. IF my local comcast (30 miles out of San Francisco) could have offered HD I would not have had to go through the Waiver Wars.
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:33 PM   #13  
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Default satalite customer service...Go Direc tv

Great topic: I have had them all. Direc, dish, cable...
By far the best customer service i have had has been Direc. They simply will do whatever it takes to keep a person happy.
I loved dishes equipment but they just dont get the whole customer service thing. Cable is lagging behind both.

But anyone who had bad experiences with Direc, speak with a manager they will do everything possible to keep their customers..

I did however pick up the HD pack ''only'' from dish no contract. So,
if they start with the poor service out they go!
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Old 09-01-2005, 12:35 PM   #14  
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Default Beware Hallstead Communications

I had a simliar horror story with Hallstead communications which I communicated to DirectTV. And found a gem on a complaint web site. Both are posted below:

My question is how is Hallstead still in business?

My Note
To whom it may concern,

I have to relate what a horrible experience it has been TRYING to become a customer of yours.

It began well enough, I called your national sales line and my order to set up service was quickly processed. This is where the pleasant part of the experience ends.

At 2:30 on August 26, halfway through your window for the service technician's arrival, I received a call telling me that there were no technicians available and you would have to reschedule my appointment and that someone else would call me back with a rescheduled appointment. 4 Hours later I was contacted to reschedule. Your representative offered me a date 10 DAYS from the missed appointment.

Needless to say this was unacceptable, and I was escalated to a supervisor who rescheduled for Tuesday August 30, 2005.

One hour after the promised delivery window, your technician arrived and after only 15 minutes determined that no signal was to be had and left.

At this point I was about to give up, until I received a message that a supervisor would provide a second opinion on the signal.

Great, except it took 6 CALLS to Hallstead Communications in Yonkers to get someone to answer my call. I was put on endless hold (over 20 minutes) 3 times. Hung up on twice, and run through three different reps on my last call only to be told, they would have to wait for a supervisor to call me back to schedule a second opinion on whether on not a signal could be had.

I will be calling Cablevison tonight and I bet they will be installed and receiving my money before your local supervisor shows up for his assessment.

Additional complaints I found
From: [email protected]

Halsted Communications/ Repair call = NO SHOW

To Whom it may concern (Halsted Communications)

My name is Noemi Fernandez and I have a customer of DIRECTV for 4 yrs now. Recently in September I started to experience problems with my system. I understand that DIRECTV contracts Halsted comm to subcontract other companies to do repair, installation, etc.. Halstead Communications has done nothing but inconvenience me since the first appt was made for a visit in October to look at my system. Within a matter of 4 wks I had 4 gentlemen come to my home.

First let me start out by saying that I live on a third floor dwelling and the dish is located outside my living room window to the left. The first tech that came to my home stated that the ladder he had was not sufficient because he could not reach the dish even though it was dictated from DIRECTV that a 40 foot ladder would be needed to reach the dish from the ground. A week later a second tech came and stated that it was the wiring because it was not grounded. He informed me that he was going to his truck to call his supervisor and he would come back up to let me know how to proceed. Well, the tech never came back up, instead he called me from his cell phone and told me that his supervisor told him "not to touch it or we would own it." My impression was that he did not want to make an attempt seeing where the dish was located and the fact that it may take more than 10 minutes to diagnose.

The third tech came out several days later, never got close to the dish, did not come with a 40ft ladder but diagnosed it as a LNB issue. forth tech came out the same day which I may add Halsted comm never notified me that they were coming instead called me an hour after the tech left to tell me that the service call was being canceled. The 4th and final tech that day did a walk of the grounds, got in his truck and left... That was 4 techs in several weeks and the most irritating thing out of it all was that I took time off of work on my dime to accommodate the techs on 4 separate occasions and NOT ONE TECH TOUCHED THE DISH OR SO MUCH AS GOT CLOSE TO IT, but all had a different diagnosis for the problem...

I am sending this e-mail in an attempt to reach some resolution since I have not been able to get any assistance from customer service staff who have you on hold longer that the conversation about my problem. For instance today 1/20/04 I had a appt for a tech to come out between 1pm and 5pm. I took again 1/2 day of work to be home when they arrived. no one showed up, so I called DIRECTV. They gave me the local office # to call. 1st call made @ 4:50pm was on hold until 5:21pm was on the phone with someone named Mike who put me on hold to call the tech and disconnected me.

Called back @ 5:22pm was # 17 on hold-Jennifer picked up at 5:43pm who also attempted to call the tech, except she left me on hold for 1/2 hour ( 6:21pm) before she came back to tell me that "the tech had problems with his cellphone and they could not get a clear connection on his phone." I am not only disgusted by Halstead's protocol on handling easy situations, but I was denied the name of a manager blatant by this Jennifer person. I have called numerous times to Halsted for help in the last 4 months that there should be some record of my calls, if not DIRECTV has plenty... I again ask for assistance in repairing the extremely inconvenient situation that the company has put me in for the last several months. I am currently in contact with the BBB in CT. I would rather not take that step, but the aggravation that I have been put through since October should not go unnoticed.

Noemi Fernandez.

From: tjmunson [[email protected]]

RE: Halsted Communications - installer of DirecTV, East Northport, Long Island, NY - service appointment to install Tivo box rescheduled 4 times due to Halsead's missing and being late for service appointments

The following are several e-mails I sent to Halsted Communications which is a company contracted by DirecTV to do installs in the New York and new England area. I think the letters speak for themselves. I have also forwarded these letters to the local media as well as Cablevision and DirecTV. Thank You.

To whom it may concern,

I am sending this letter to Halsted Media due to the fact that your Home Service Provider department does not have an e-mail contact on your web
page. Please forward this to the appropriate party.

I am a DirecTV user and I recently had the misfortune of having to use your companies services (and I use that word very lightly) to have a new Tivo box installed in my house.

I live in East Northport, Long Island and was serviced by your local satellite office here on the island. From the start, your company proved one very painful point to me. Customer service is something that is not a part of the Halsted motto or work ethic in my experience. I'm going to give you the condensed version to save you the agony, since I have suffered enough for both of us.

My service appointment had to be rescheduled FOUR times due to Halsted's inability to fulfill it's commitments to it's customers. The first two times I was told a tech from Halsted would be at my house, no one showed up. Your company did not even have the common decency to call and let me know. The reps updated notes on my account but never notified me. I lost two half days at work due to your companies inability to pick up a phone. Inexcusable.

The third time I was told that a tech would be at my house in the afternoon and I would be given a time frame of between 4 and 5 PM due to your companies missed commitment that morning. The rep, who's name is Sarah said that she would be sure and "make it happen" since we had already been treated so poorly. I explained to Sarah that my wife would be home that evening and that the service tech could not arrive before 4 pm since she does not get home from work until then.

Sarah again assured me it would not be a problem. Needles to say, no one showed up and when my wife called your company she was told that no one should have guaranteed us that time frame. Another shining example of the inept training process your reps go through.

I decided to give your company one more try before contacting the Better Business Bureau. I spoke to a Rep named Dan who promised me unconditionally that a tech would be at my house the following Thursday (this service attempt has been going on for nearly two weeks now) first thing in the morning. He said he noted the account that I was absolutely to be the first stop.

I called the evening before to confirm the appointment, since your company does not extend that courtesy, and was told that the account was noted to be the first stop but no such commitment could be promised. I spoke to a male supervisor, who's name I did not get, and was told that the companies policy is not to guarantee any particular time or stop order. I found that very interesting since two previous reps had specifically told me that I would be the first stop at 8 AM.

This again points to a huge need for your leadership team to revisit the companies training methods and make some very needed changes since it is enormously obvious that the right hand in your company has no clue what the left hand is doing. I was told by the supervisor that I could call back in the morning after you open at 8 AM and find out what stop number I was for the day since the techs route out their own work each day. I questioned the supervisor if the techs own and run the company or if they report to someone.

He said they do report to a supervisor. I then questioned, isn't it, at this point, that supervisors job to take the tech aside and say "Mr. munson has been rescheduled 4 times. This stop is a priority for tomorrow and needs to be done first" I'm not a service guru but I would think it's common sense which again makes me question the service vision, or lack their of, of your company.

I called in the next morning at 8:15 and was told that Peter, my service tech, was making me first stop and was on the way. I was told he would be at my house "within the hour". Wonderful.

At 9 AM Peter called me and notified me that he had his first stop in Huntington and would do my install second and be at my house between 10 and 10:45. The comedy of errors and misinformation continues.
It is right now 10:30 AM Thursday morning and I am waiting to see if Peter ever shows up. Again I have lost another half day at work.

I'm going to end this letter with some free advice and the hope that I'm going to here back from someone.

Companies come and companies go and the only thing that seperates the winners from the losers is the understanding and implementation of not good but "GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE". Right now, in my mind, Halstead Communications is on the wrong side of the fence.

I wish you luck.


James W. Munson

Just a quick follow up to my previous letter.

Thirty minutes after I sent you this e-mail I received a call from a DirecTV rep telling me Halsted Communications did not have my Tivo receiver in stock and needed to reschedule. I immediately got off the phone with that rep and called Halsted directly. I spoke to a Bert, who may very well be the most unprofessional service individual I have ever dealt with.

Bert decided to tell me that the service van broke down and I would not be receiving service that day. I can not believe that if DirecTV and Halsted are going to lie to their customers that they can't even get their stories straight.

I've cancelled my account with DirecTV and have gone back to my local Cable provider. I left Cablevision when the Yes Network was not available. Since that is no longer the case, and I also do not wish to do business with a company that has the morals and integrity of a criminal, I would prefer to give my money and time to Cablevision.

I have also e-mailed a copy of both of these letters to DirecTV and Cablevision in the hope that this issue gets attention and helps Halsted realize that it is time to raise the integrity and service levels of your company or else put you out of business.


James W. Munson
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Old 09-08-2005, 04:46 PM   #15  
High Definition is the definition of life.

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Originally Posted by Ct HD Boy
I just left DirecTV for Cablevison. The sole reason was the terrible customer service that I received. I was using a HD250 Tivo unit and although it was slow as molasses it still was a good system. I have enclosed a modified version of the letter that I sent to DirecTV complaining about the poor customer service. I wanted to post this just to notify perspective consumers about the issues that I had with DirecTV.

I am in the process of writing up a review of Cablevisons HD PVR compared to the Hughes DirecTV service, but that will be posted in a different forumÖ.
Horror stories abound when it comes to customer service. I can understand your dismay with the way you've been treated, but even so this would not convince me to go back to cable. There's a reason I'm a subscriber to Direct TV, or rather two: 1) they have exclusive rights to to the NFL package, 2) their service far outsrips anything I've personally experienced from any cable company I've hooked up with in Wisconsin and California since the 70s.

And talk about horror stories!

In San Francisco, call it five years ago now, give or take, the cable company cut off all the subscribers in my entire apartment building because of a beef between the the building super and the irresponsible numbskull the cable company hired to come out and fix some building-wide problem I wasn't even aware of at the time--over and above my ongoing complaints to the cable company regarding the rotten reception I received.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that the cable company blew off a 2-hour-windowed appointment with the building super one sunny Friday afternoon without so much as a coutesy call, then arrived the next morning bright and early (and unannounced) and woke the super up! Now the super worked odd hours, as you might imagine, needed his sleep, bluntly told the cable guy to make another appointment, and went back to sleep. So what did the cable guy do? In a royal snit he marched directly outside to the cable box buried in the sidewalk in front of the building and simply disconnected the entire building from cable service!

Are we having fun yet?

Pissed when I found out why I had no reception at all, I called the cable company's corporate offices over in Concord (this was on a Saturday morning) and got ahold of the supervisor (a VP of the company, I was told, but I don't know) and asked her what gave. She tried to mollify me with some typical doubletalk, and when I didn't meekly swallow that she then told me to go screw myself twice slowly, that if I didn't like the way their company did business I could lump it. Just like that and in so many words.

I don't make this stuff up. And as a result I immediately cancelled my cable service and was a much happier Direct TV subscriber within three business days thereafter. (The first day some clown came out to the building and was so incompetent he couldn't figure out how to place anchors in a brick wall to secure the mast for the dish, so I was obliged to find another vendor/installer, which I did later that same day, and I was eventually hooked up and running within two more days.)

And by the way, on top of this incredibly stupid and beyond-belief rude (and probably illegal) behavior on the part of the cable company that serviced San Francisco, the quality of reception I'd received from that same cable company, and the one before that, over a period of some eight years, was simply horrendous. There's no other word for it. Ghosting on most of the channels, pixelation all over the place after the much-ballyhooed "digital" service became available, etc. In other words . . . garbage.

Is Direct TV perfect? No, it is not perfect. Does it beat the service I've received from cable companies along the way? Yes, in my case it does. But as always, your mileage tends to vary from one user's horror story to the next.

Maybe all those tales I read about cable suscribers who are fortunate enough to be hooked up to fast fiber-optics cable networks are true and their cable service is utterly superior. Unhappily, that has never been my experience.

Come to think of it, I can pretty well nail down the date for that cockup by the cable company with re to that building super, as I believe (I have the world's worst memory but I'm pretty sure about this) it happened around the time that either AMC or TCM, whichever channel it was, ran that uninterrupted special of Hitchcock films that included the then just-newly-restored version of Rear Window.

Anyway, the point I wish to make is that businesses find and lose their customers, as a rule, one at a time. I subscribe to Direct TV based on my wants and prior experience within the field, etc., you drop your DTV service for similar reasons important to you, and like that. I'm glad you went to the trouble of articulating your complaint to Direct TV. That was the right course. Whether you'll be more happy with cable in the long run is, as I've stated, seemingly problematical from my point of view and based solely on my long-time experience with cable outfits, but that's your decision, always.

I wish you well.
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