My “protection plan” didn’t protect my move — now what?

The devil is in these details. / Photo by Feathered Tar – Flick
Question: I recently signed up with DirecTV. After the installer had finished setting up the equipment, he asked if I’d like to sign up for DirecTV’s equipment and wiring protection package. He told me that it included service calls.

This piqued my interest, because I thought I might be moving in a few months, and so I asked him whether this covered moves. He said that it did — one move per year. This seemed like a good deal to me, so I asked him to sign me up.

I know you should get things in writing, but I trusted him, and I really don’t think you should have to have everybody you ever talk to at every business write down everything they say.

So I moved, and sure enough, when I called DirecTV’s customer service department to get my installation done, they told me that, no, the additional fee I’d been paying every month did not cover this, and yes, it would be just under $220 to have my service reconnected. And besides, I was told, the installer had no business telling me that because “he’s not even with this department.”

Honestly, I don’t care which department you’re with or how your business is structured. When a representative of a business tells me something, it should be reliable and the business should honor it. I escalated this up the chain as far as I could go with the special department they have just for people who’ve moved, and the way it was left was that I could either pay the fee or pay $360 to cancel the service. My choice.

I get that a service call costs the business money. I willingly paid extra on my bill to have what was represented as “coverage” against this kind of expense. When I made this argument to the representative, she offered to refund my coverage costs, but I didn’t accept. No matter – I got an email shortly thereafter indicating that my account had been credited for those charges, so now I feel like I can’t even argue that I paid for something and should be entitled to it. Any thoughts on how to proceed? — Nathan Witt, Dallas

Answer: I don’t like telling anyone, “I told you so” — but, I told you so. Always get something like this in writing. A quick look at what’s covered would have shown that the installer was wrong, and that your move wouldn’t be covered.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t trust anyone. But, as the Russian proverb says, “Trust — but verify.” Even if you’d taken the installer’s word for it, you might have taken a look at the terms of what you signed up for after you had done so. That way, you could have fixed the problem before it became a problem.

I’m a little ticked off by the way DirecTV stands behind its own product (or, more to the point, doesn’t). I’m not a DirecTV customer, but as I review its “protection” packages, it strikes me that many of the items you’re paying for should really be included in your basic service. This kind of unbundling makes a consumer advocate like me very unhappy.

Since you didn’t get DirecTV’s promise in writing, you didn’t have much of a leg to stand on. However, that wouldn’t have stopped me from appealing this to someone higher up. Here’s a list of company executives. Curiously, there’s no one at this level with “customer service” in his or her title, which in and of itself is telling. Email addresses at DirecTV are, so triangulating the correct address shouldn’t be too difficult.

I contacted DirecTV on your behalf. It agreed to waive your moving expenses because of the misunderstanding.

Should the verbal assurances of a technician override a written contract?

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • jpp42

    One part missing out of this story is how much the protection plan
    cost. If it was something like $5/month, it would be in the “too good
    to be true” category since the cost of relocating the service was $220,
    and $5/month = $60/year would clearly not cover the cost of the move. I’m not saying we should always be required to figure out if a business can make money on something they’re offering, but it does help put it in perspective.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I respectfully disagree. Your analysis is flawed. The protection plan, like any other insurance plan spreads the cost over multiple people. Unless every customer moves once a year the math is wrong. Using your hypothetical $5,00 a month, if the average customer moves once in four years, then it roughly breaks even.

  • EdB

    I am a DirecTV customer. DirecTV gives each customer one free move a year. What it sounds like happened here was since it had been less than a year since it was installed, he would have to pay. I think the tech tried to pull a fast one knowing the move wouldn’t be covered under the protection plan but by company policy, not knowing the OP was planning on moving in less than a year. I’m sure he tech gets a commission for each plan they sell so they will say anything to sell the policy knowing that since nothing is in writing, it would be his word against the OP and nothing really could be proved.

    As far as the protection plan goes, to me, that is just a joke. Unless you pay full price for the equipment, you are only leasing it. You don’t own it. A lot of the time, the equipment you get may be used. If something goes wrong with it, I think DirecTV should replace it, not charge you for damaged that could have been caused by the previous person (Sounds like the business model used by a certain car rental company we talk about a lot here). I upgraded by service to include a HD/DVR and the unit they sent me was very obviously scratched and dented from previous use. If something went wrong with it, why should I be stuck with the cost? It’s not mine. They could have sent me a non-functioning unit and then told me I would have to pay to get it fixed. Not right.

  • TonyA_says

    Why bother to ask an independent contractor when you can google the company’s plan and then call for questions specific to the plan? Sounds like the OP bought the wrong plan.
    DIRECTV MOVERS DEAL: Offer Details

    DIRECTV MOVERS DEAL: Offer expires on 3/31/13. Offer available once in any 12 month period for qualifying customers only. Qualifications based on tenure, package level, payment history and other factors. Sports blackouts and your ability to receive local channels or broadcast networks may be affected by new address. Residential customers only. Offer requires a program agreement of 12 months or 24 months if you took an Advanced Receivers equipment upgrade (HD, DVR, or HD DVR) of any DIRECTV base programming package (priced at $29.99/mo. or above), or any international service bundle. If you have two boxes or one box and an enabled TV, an additional $6/mo. fee applies. For each additional box and/or enabled TV on your account you are charged an additional fee of $6/mo. per box and/or enabled TV. Applicable use tax adjustment may apply on the retail value of installation.

  • TonyA_says

    Are you sure the move is FREE? As Elliott said, is it in writing on your contract?

  • EdB

    Yes. And I don’t have a contract. It has been a standard offering for some time. One I have taken advantage of several times.

  • EdB

    So what was the purpose of posting this? This is not what the OP purchased. We all know from the story he was sold a product that didn’t cover what he wanted.

  • TonyA_says

    You don’t have a written contract? Yet you know moving is free!

  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    I think the takeaway is 1) make sure you know what type of coverage you need prior to buying it and 2) ask someone who is authorized to tell you.

    If I were the OP and I knew I’d be moving soon, I wouldn’t wait until the installation to ask about moving charges / protection. That’s the sort of question you ask prior to ordering an installation. The answer might cause you to wait until you get to your new place.

    Also, do NOT ask technicians / delivery men / repairmen / flight attendants, etc. anything complex that isn’t within their scope of work. They likely don’t know and if they give you a wrong answer, the company isn’t going to back them up because they weren’t authorized to disseminate that type of info in the first place. (Human nature sometimes causes us to give an answer even though we should say, “I don’t know”.) In addition, he probably made some type of commission out of selling the extra insurance. Does that sound like an impartial information provider? SMH.

  • EdB

    Yes I know it because as I mentioned before, have used it several times. It is a marketing offer because you leave the dish behind for the next person and they are more likely to sign up with DirecTV since the dish is all ready to go.

    And just because I don’t have a written contract doesn’t mean I don’t know.

  • BillCCC

    Another case of I didn’t read the contract, better call Chris. Good job Chris.

  • TonyA_says

    If anyone is contemplating to get a new DirecTV service AND KNOWS HE IS MOVING SOON, then he better read the terms which pertain to MOVING.

    Nothing in the Customer Agreement addresses moves. So that means you are stuck with your current agreement if you move.

    Those who intend to move may seek some comfort under DirecTV’s Movers Deal. So the details of said deal is extremely important.

    DIRECTV MOVERS DEAL: Offer available once in any 12 month period for qualifying customers only.
    Qualifications based on tenure, package level, payment history and other factors.

    The last sentence clearly explains that you cannot possibly know if you qualify (i.e. tenure, payment history, other factors) since you are not yet a customer. You will know once you call them when you are ready to move.

    Your comments about moving for FREE is misleading. The only way for a customer to know what their cost is, is to CALL DIRECTV.

  • TonyA_says

    Re: “And just because I don’t have a written contract doesn’t mean I don’t know.”
    That’s the whole damn point of the article. Get it in writing.

  • EdB

    My response was to your question to *ME* and not about the article.

  • TonyA_says

    Furthermore the dish itself is irrelevant. They usually leave the old dish where it is. What is relevant is DirecTV pays their outsourced installer each time they install a unit. So they have to factor that in somewhere.

    Here’s another misleading statement -“Unless you pay full price for the equipment, you are only leasing it.”
    According to DirecTV contract – ALL EQUIPMENT DURING OR AFTER MARCH 2006 ARE LEASED !!!

    I highly recommend that you read the DirecTV webpage.

  • mdy2k1

    We should not allow “read the contract” as an excuse for a company’s immoral or illegal behavior.

    Direct TV is in the wrong here. Once the technician started to sell products he became a salesman and a reasonable expectation of providing accurate information. It’s Direct TV’s fault he gave wrong information.

    The salesman was under the obligation to give accurate information or to offer to put the client in touch with the right people.

  • TonyA_says

    Ed, you are arguing that it is FREE to *YOU*.

    But didn’t we all just read it wasn’t free to the *OP*.
    Well, why not? Answer – because the Movers Plan did not apply to him.

    If it was FREE, then the OP did not need Chris Elliott.

  • TonyA_says

    Damn Right! You must be a school teacher :-)

  • TonyA_says

    Add DirecTV to the list – RyanAir, Carnival, Spirit, Enterprise, Vacation Clubs, … Who else?

  • EdB

    Are you purposely trying to confuse things by cross posting responses to statements they were not made about? Let’s try to straighten this all out.

    The OP was told incorrect information. Moving is not covered by the protection plan as stated by the tech.

    You posted the info about the move deal. Something I questioned why since it really didn’t have any bearing on the original post. We knew he was given incorrect information.

    I tried to explain what I thought the tech tried to do by sharing my experience as a customer of DirecTV what their policy was on moving and how I thought he was relying on that policy to cover him when he moved.

    Whether I have a contract or not and what it states is irrelevant to the discussion. Yes, he should not have relied on what the tech stated and should have talked directly to DirecTV about his situation.

  • TonyA_says

    Sure, Ed.

    I am not disputing the fact the the Installer MIGHT have given the OP incorrect information. Shame on the installer if he misled the OP.

    I am also not disputing the fact you posted I am a DirecTV customer. DirecTV gives each customer one free move a year…

    What I am saying is whether the move is FREE depends on whether the OP qualifies for the DIRECTV MOVERS DEAL; and not whether *YOU* got a free move or not.
    You cannot possibly know what the OP signed for in 2012 without reading the DIRECTV customer agreements that were (or are) in place at that time.

  • EdB

    True, I don’t know what they signed. However, my response you are quoting was made as an attempt to explain how the entire situation may have happened (and made in a different thread than where you quoted it). The installer was relying on his information about how customers get the free move. It was not, and never was, a blanket statement on DirecTV’s current move policy.

  • EdB

    How is my statement misleading? Your quote only supports what I said. Unless you out right buy the equipment by paying full price, anything you get from DirecTV is leased. The prices listed on the DirecTV pages are not full price but the initial payment made at the start of the lease. That is explained on DirecTV’s web site ( When you cancel your account, you have to return the equipment unless you purchased it yourself through another source.

  • EdB

    My response was as a possible explanation of what the tech was relying on when they told the OP the move would be covered. As we know from the story, the tech was wrong and the policy that covered me, and that the tech was relying on, did not apply to the OP.

  • TonyA_says

    Because the OP recently signed up, all he is getting is LEASED equipment, period. All the UPFRONT payment scheme does is lower the equivalent monthly fee for the equipment. You still do not own it. You are merely leasing [with a 2-year contract].

  • EdB

    Again. How is my statement misleading? I said unless he buys it, he gets leased equipment? You just keep supporting my statement.

  • TonyA_says

    Frankly, I find your statement (DirecTV gives each customer one free move a year ) just as misleading as the installer’s (He said that it did — one move per year).
    Strange that you don’t see the problem.

  • EdB

    What!?!? The statement we were talking about was about the leased equipment. The statement about customers getting a free move was a generalized statement used as an example of how the tech tried conning the OP. Two completely different and unrelated threads.

  • Laura

    Since he lives in Texas, the Deceptive Trade Practices Act may apply to this situation, if he was misled by the technician as to what the protection plan included and he signed up for the plan based on that misrepresentation.

  • emanon256

    Sometimes the written contracts aren’t even good. I had a similar problem with Dish Network a few years back, and I even had it in writing and they still wouldn’t honor it. They pointed me to a small section of fine print, 8 pt font and light gray on off white paper on the bottom back of the contract that said, “The terms of this contract can change at any time with out notice.” I don’t know how that can even be legal.

  • emanon256

    I hate the used rental equipment that they charge for, and then expect us to pay to fix. If we are renting it, and it breaks through age or normal use, why would we have to pay for it?

    That said, I just realized I have paid $364 so far to Comcast to rent a cable modem that sells new for $50. I just bought my own and can’t wait to stop paying their monthly rental fee. It could have broken 7 times since I started the rental and I would have still spent less. I sure feel dumb.

  • TonyA_says

    Your words – BUY. If he is talking to DirecTV, he CANNOT POSSIBLY BE BUYING EQUIPMENT. So what is your purpose for including the word BUY if not to mislead us?

    Even ebay has a buyer’s guide warning people about BUYING DirecTV equipment

  • pubpeople

    One problem is that it is possible to get a 3rd party to install the equipment. It’s not reasonable to have a business liable for something someone says when that person is not connected with the company.

  • EdB

    If they change any of the contract, then I believe you are no longer bound by it. Otherwise, anyone could write a contract with that clause and then change the agreement to you agreeing to sign over all future paychecks to them. Would never stand up I would hope.

  • EdB

    That’s what they are hoping for. That the customer doesn’t realize they could save by purchasing the equipment outright. DirecTV don’t charge a lease fee (disclaimer: they don’t for me but you experience may differ) but a connection fee. So it doesn’t matter if you own the box or not, you still get charged.

  • pauletteb

    Companies make huge profits off so-called “protection” plans, one of Consumer Reports favorite bugaboos for years. There are frequently incentives paid for selling them (as well as punishment, including firing, for not), and some salespeople and technicians will promise customers just about anything to get them to sign on the bottom line. I used to sub in the electronics department of a major department store and watched it happen many times, especially since sales associates were threatened with losing their job if they didn’t sell their monthly quota of these plans.

  • EdB

    You are taking the quote out of context and you know it. The quote was in regards to using used equipment for leasing. It was not in reference to the OP but again, a generalized statement. Don’t be putting in context that is not there to try and support your argument.

  • pauletteb

    @Ed Boston: Not sure if TonyA needs more coffee or less.

  • TonyA_says

    No I don’t know it. It’s generalized statement like yours – DirecTV gives each customer one free move a year- that causes problems like the OP’s.

  • TonyA_says

    You would think they already should have learned a lesson

  • EdB

    Actually, it statements like yours, taking other statements out of context, that causes issues.

  • TonyA_says

    It depends on the company and the product. I do buy a protection or service plan for my oil-fired equipment (here in Connecticut). I bought both the equipment and the plan from my (contract) oil provider. Costs me almost $600 a year for the plan. [Note: that does not include oil which is several $$$$ a year.) I want to make sure I have heat in winter, and hot water all year, that’s why.

  • TonyA_says

    I guess the OP also took the installer’s comments out of context :-)

  • Alex

    I’m surprised by how DirectTV acted here, for the OP. My contract allows me one move per calendar year, for free (like someone else says). We are fairly new customers, but this was a question when we signed a 2 year contract. We were told if it was within the first 12 months we would have to pay, but if it was after that, it would be free install. Also, ANY issues I have had with DirectTV have been promptly resolved, almost to ‘harrassment’! We had an issue with the DVR box, and they called me once a week for a few months to track the issue. They really seemed as if they wanted to fix the issue. A nice change after Time Warner. They do have issues, but I have not noted customer service to be one. I hope that isn’t changing.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    First off, it appears the free move was at some point in writing because it took about 30 seconds to see it referenced in a Direc TV forum. (It’s apparently in some document called “The Movers Connection Terms and Conditions.”)

    Secondly, as much as I normally like you as a poster, Tony, I absolutely can’t understand how this turned into such a battle today. Ed’s explanation of what may have happened was very plausible and his personal experiences as a customer regarding the free moves was helpful information. How you got from him relating his personal experiences to it equating to an employee misleading a customer is beyond me.

  • Roger Miller

    This has been my experience as well. I’ve had DirecTV service for over 10 years. Prior to that, I had Comcast cable. DirecTV beats the pants off Comcast in every respect: picture quality, pricing, customer service, etc. There is no way that DirecTV should be added to any list which includes Ryan Air, Spirit, etc.

  • TonyA_says

    I believe y’all are missing the point.

    The MOVE POLICY of DirecTV is purposely very vague, because, in my opinion, it is there to upsell the customer. [By the way, the document you are referring to has changed over time. What is really important is the wording of the MOVERS DEAL in 2012.]

    Everyone and their brother thinks they can get one FREE move in a 12 month period. Really?

    The word FREE is not even specifically mentioned in the MOVERS DEAL. Read it if you do not trust me.

    Speaking of forums, here is a good one

    Note one reply by a certain Kaminar who appears to be a rep:

    Sometimes DTV policy is updated internally and not reflected immediately online or in print..West99999 is correct at this time, due to updated info..all account mods/changes are qualified based on algorithm that reflects pmt history, balance due and credit..CSRs can check the active account and advise based on qualifications..they have little flexibility, but exceptions may be made on case-by-case basis. Mover’s Connection offer guideline is as follows:

    A. 1st move in 12 mths: $0 – $149

    B. 2nd move in 12 mths: $49 – $199

    In both cases, $19.95+tax is charged for delivery/handling.

    Note s/he mentions an ALGORITHM. What if you have a late payment? A balance due? A lousy credit history? What if you call again and again and get a different CSR?
    Therefore, unless you call and ask you cannot assume you will get a move for free. THAT IS THE ISSUE. IT *MAY* BE FREE BUT YOU DON’T KNOW FOR CERTAIN unless you call (and the CSR gets the opportunity to upsell you).

    So people who go around saying it is FREE, whether they be posters here or DirectTV installers, are not telling the WHOLE truth. In effect they have become mouthpieces for DirecTV’s wishy-washy and seemingly unfair MOVE Policy.
    Enough said.

  • TonyA_says

    Have always been tempted to get Dish or Directv, especially when I see the deals in Costco. But after reading their contracts, and the consumer forums, I lost interest.

    Because of my line of business, I use call center services in Asia. Satellite providers are big accounts of offshore call centers and if you have the opportunity to (interview and) listen to agents talk about their retention and upsell tactics, you will shake your head in disbelief. That sealed the coffin for me.

  • EdB

    Tony, I think you are missing the point. The mover deal is irrelevant to what the OP said. He was told something that was not true. The availability of a mover policy was presented as a possible explanation of why the tech said what they did. The bottom line is the OP took the word of the tech instead of verifying with DirecTV. If the OP had read the contract for the protection plan, they would have found nothing about it covering moving.

  • TonyA_says

    Ed, we really see the world from different sides. Nothing wrong with that.

    For me, the Mover Deal (note a marketing offer and not part of the service contract) is very relevant because that is the only way one can get a FREE move from the company, regardless what the installer said. As you and I both point out there is nothing in the service agreement addressing moves.

    NOTE: If the installer wanted to offer a FREE move himself, assuming the OP is moving in the same town, he could have left his card and asked the OP to call him. The installer could have simply removed the dish, move it to the new home, and rewire the rooms. Given access to the location, there is nothing stopping the installer to make good his own “promise”. But this is probably not the case. I assume the installer is simply going by what he knew other people experienced – free moves each year.

    There are 2 reported experiences in moving.

    (1) People who got it for FREE (i.e. YOU and possibly the other installs of the installer, so that’s why he knows).

    (2) People who did NOT get it for FREE. This also includes those moving once within 12 months but for some reason did not get it free. The OP is in this group.

    There are other posts here that also said they got it for FREE just like you. Well and good for you guys. But y’all cannot also deny that others did not get it for free. So even if you had a positive experience, which the installer also could have shared, IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT ALL MOVERS WILL GET THE SAME DEAL.

    You, the installer, and others DID NOT LIE. You know that you and others got it for FREE. But because you did not know that the MOVERS PLAN can and will depend on other factors, then a general statement like DirecTV gives each customer one free move a year is misleading. Not all customers can get a free move a year. It depends on their QUALIFICATIONS.

    Quoting DirecTV:
    Offer available once in any 12 month period for qualifying customers only. Qualifications based on tenure, package level, payment history and other factors

    Why I think this is dangerous?
    If ALL the posts here say “I got a FREE move”, then anyone going to this consumer advocate site will assume that’s correct and they should be less wary of DirecTV’s move policy. But the fact is that you are not 100% correct. The OP got charged.

    I am not accusing you of being a liar or deliberately misleading the public. It is your statement that I find misleading (not 100% correct). The truth is NOBODY KNOWS IF THEY CAN GET A FREE MOVE UNLESS THEY CALL.

    Well at least we both agree the OP got a rotten deal. Let’s leave it at that.

  • TonyA_says

    Hi Alex,

    Can you please quote where in your service agreement it says you can get a FREE move each year. Perhaps the OP can compare his with yours.

    I have a feeling you are also quoting what you were told orally.

  • EdB

    Why are you so hung up on the mover deal. It is irrelevant in this case. The OP’s original story never mentioned it. Again, I brought it up as a possible explanation as to what the tech might have been thinking. Nothing more. Why are you so insistent on trying to bring the details of it into the discussion? It is irrelevant. You may not agree with my wording thinking it was an absolute when I brought it up only as an example of just ONE way someone could get a free move. As far as we know, the tech never brought it up and in fact lied to the OP when they claimed it covered moves.

    Let me try explaining it on last time. The tech, in trying to get the OP to sign the protection plan agreement, claimed the plan covered moving. The tech makes that claim knowing there is a mover deal and thinks that will cover the OP when he moved and that the OP wouldn’t realize it wasn’t the protection plan that facilitated the move. However, when the OP found out he didn’t qualify for *ANY* type of move deal, the false information given by the tech was discovered.

    See how none of the details of the current mover deal is needed? It has no direct bearing on the situation. So please, just drop this mover deal issue.

  • TonyA_says

    Bill, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

    Even if the OP read the service agreement he will not find a Move Policy.
    That means he would have to call first and talk to someone about his future move. He assumed that installer knew what he has talking about.
    And after hearing people here they got a free move, who wouldn’t believe the installer?
    Having read the MOVER DEAL, I doubt the OP could have received anything in writing.
    This is definitely one case where we need a Chris Elliott.

  • emanon256

    I thought about switching to DirectTV recently because I am fed up with Comcast. I won’t go back to Dish after what happened last time. Well I looked at Direct TV, and they won’t give me the full terms until after I provide a Social Security number which raises a red flag. The limited terms they gave me also states that they are valid until they are changed. So I can’t trust that. The limited terms do disclose that I have to sign a 2 years contract, and I only get the advertised price for the first year, then I pay whatever the current price is in a year. So if I sign up, I am agreeing to pay for a year at an unknown price, that also raises a red flag. As bad as they are, at least Comcast doesn’t have a contract, and is upfront with their price. So what if it goes up a few bucks a year. It’s better than committing to a year at an unknown price.

  • TonyA_says

    Look Ed, we really don’t know exactly what happened during the conversation between the OP and the installer. All we know is that DirecTV charged the OP for the move. Why? Because the OP did not qualify for the MOVERS DEAL. It’s that simple.

  • EdB

    YES! See even you were able to sum it up without bringing all that worthless details about the mover deal.

  • BillCCC

    You know what they say when you ASSUME.

  • TonyA_says

    I was in the same boat, until I did the research. I realized I was jumping from the frying pan to the fire. The deal with them is quite ONEROUS. You are at their mercy for “details”.

    Every move (or request) you make is an upsell opportunity, and I hate it.

    What happened to the OP is a perfect example.
    Instead of having a MOVE provision, they don’t.
    You are stuck with your 24 month commitment.
    Either you succumb to an upsell BS called MOVERS PLAN or you get dinged for the ETF (cancellation fee).

    I’m trying to figure out their business model.

    When you sign (sucker) up you commit to revenue stream of at least $49.99 for 24 straight months.
    But let’s say you move on the 6th month and still have 18 months to go. Looks like they’ve got you by the Cajones. If you don’t pay the relocation fees, you will have to cancel and pay a cancellation fee of up to $480 (who knows if it is more?).

    What do you think they prefer:

    (1) immediately bill you $480 or more and say Sayonara, or

    (2) force you to pay the relocation fees and keep you for $49.99 a month knowing you will leave at the end because you are pissed.

  • TonyA_says

    NOPE. The DEVIL is in the DETAILS. :-)

  • EdB

    But in this case, it’s the details of the protection plan that was important. The tech claimed it covered moves but it didn’t.

  • emanon256

    Well, the $49.99 revenue stream isn’t just $49.99 for 24 months, that’s just the first 12, then its whatever they want for the next 12 or a cancellation fee. Makes me sick. And there are always new suckers.

    I called Comcast a while ago because I was fed up with the promotional rates that expire, and having to call every 6 months to negotiate anew rate. I asked them what they could do that will give me internet and cable for under $100 a month and will not suddenly change in a few months. They gave me a package with basic cable, and 30Mbps internet for $82 a month after tax. No commitment, no contract, and it will only go up based on their regular increases. It won’t shoot up to $160 after 6 months like their old deals seemed to do.

    When i was looking at Direct TV, they said I would have to purchase my own internet separately, or through the packaged rate with Century Link. This Comcast package rate was the best deal for both. Better than either Dish company once I add internet.

  • jpp42

    Hi Carver,

    I agree that my analysis is not treating it like “insurance.” If it truly was “insurance” than it should not cover events that are planned in advance of purchasing the policy. Just like a pre-existing condition in medial insurance, or life insurance that doesn’t pay for suicide.

    I agree that it would be difficult for either side to prove whether or not the move was planned prior to purchasing the policy… a good reason why this type of protection plans probably shouldn’t include moves at all.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    No, Tony, you’re missing the point. You’ve made a federal case out of a guy relating his personal experience as a customer of this company. The knowledge Ed has a customer who’s used this deal likely explains where the whole promise of a “free move” came from. It’s irrelevant to the story other than showing the tech didn’t just make up something crazy, he was either confused on how the rules worked or trying to make the sale.

  • TonyA_says

    Ed, you keep on harping about what the installer allegedly said. Move on, we all agree that was wrong. Forget about that bogus Protection Plan, that might be nothing but an extra commission kickback for the installer. The installer MUST have known about the Movers Deal (since it has been there for years) so he simply said you can move each year. So maybe in order to sell that stupid plan, he “expanded the truth”. Then it BACKFIRED.

    But the DETAILS of Movers Deal actually seems to suggest he can get a *FREE* move (even if they don’t call it FREE). Note it says “Offer available once in any 12 month period for qualifying customers only.” So even WITHOUT THE PROTECTION PLAN, he could have moved for “free” (plus a handling fee). The issue is WHY DID DIRECTV TURN HIM DOWN? What disqualified him?

    My guess, is that he has being sold something he refused to buy. So they dropped the hammer on him. The installer issue is a red herring. The real problem is when is moving FREE and when is it NOT FREE. The policy leaves too much power in the hands of DirecTV. It’s like my professor giving me an F in Latin because he does not like the way I walk.

  • EdB

    What the installer said and did is the whole point of the story. The details of the mover deal is completely irrelevant and you need to move on from that. I have been trying to keep the discussion focused on that but you keep bringing up irrelevant subjects like the details of the mover deal.

  • TonyA_says

    Also I do not agree with the 24 mo. contract. It’s not like an iPhone where you end up owning the phone. Their equipment is leased forever.
    My cable provider has a triple-play deal. You can get TV, phone and internet for one real low bundled price for UP TO 12 MONTHS. They dangle a carrot (not a stick). You can quit anytime but since the deal is so good you will stay for the 12 months. Also there is no BS protection plan. You simply have the box, DVR, remote or cable modem swapped if you think it is not working for FREE.

    I can also add or drop the cable channels at any time. Of course I cannot do that for NBA, MLB whole season offers since that is different.
    I really do not understand why these satellite companies think that way – predatory and gotcha pricing. Maybe they need to hire Chris Elliott as a consultant.

  • TonyA_says

    I said “we all agree that was wrong”.

    But EVEN IF THE INSTALLER WAS WRONG, the MOVERS DEAL could have covered his move except that he was disqualified for UNKNOWN REASONS.

    How many times do we have the same issue in this blog?
    Some contractor for an airline, service provider, etc. oversteps their authority to commit the company and then something bad happens.

    Since Cable/Satellite TV companies are “regulated” by the FCC (just like the airlines are by the DOT), then they can play hardball and insist that employees and contractors cannot change tariffs, and customer agreements. That said, the installer did not have the power to commit DirecTV to a free move. Too bad. The [Federal] law will be on DirecTV’s side. Worse, the OP has no recording or proof of the conversation.

    So again, I am saying that the MOVERS DEAL is the only written policy that will provide the OP with something that might hold water [in a complaint].

    IMO it is better you (or us) find out why you qualified for a *FREE* move and why the OP did not. Shouldn’t he have the right to know why he was disqualified?

    Arguing with Satellite companies is quite similar to arguing with airlines. Unless you can show they violated their own rules, then you lose. You will always lose a he said she said event unless you can get a Chris Elliott to bat for you.

  • EdB

    You should have stopped after the first sentence. Everything after that is irrelevant.

  • TonyA_says

    Joe that is exactly my point. Satellite or Cable TV companies are regulated by the FEDS. So I want to use anything in the Fed Rules, the company’s own rules, tariffs and service agreements to argue the OP’s case. So what if Ed got a *FREE* move? So what if an outside contractor said something might not bind the company? What is relevant is the TERMS and CONDITIONS of a FREE MOVE.
    To me the OP should have gotten a free move regardless what the installer said unless the company tells him WHY he did not qualify for the Movers Deal.

  • TonyA_says

    Now you are deciding what I should say or not say.
    I thought this is a free country.

  • EdB

    Will you knock it off. You know damn well that was not the meaning of my reply. I only said the first sentence was the only relevant material. It seems you will just pick on anything to make the final statement. So fine. Here you go. This is my last response on the matter. You can have the last word.

  • Cybrsk8r

    Not only was the installer wrong, I’m pretty sure he was lying just to get the OP to sign up. It’s a pretty good bet the installer gets some sort of incentive bonus based on how many people he signs up for a service contract.

  • TonyA_says

    Well said. So many problems given to Chris are like this – he said __________.
    Maybe the FCC should mandate a structured disclosure sheet that tells customers excatly what they are getting in plain English. And, the form clearly states who can answer questions and commit the company.

  • TonyA_says

    The second and third sentences in your original post refers to the MOVERS DEAL
    So how can you say the Movers Deal is irrelevant to this whole discussion when you yourself brought it up?

    You seem to neglect the fact that there were two sales events which created a contractual obligation.
    First the Satellite TV service itself.
    Second the Protection Plan that the OP bought later during installation.

    Your point seems to be that the installer misrepresented the company’s protection plan. You alledge that he misled the OP to believe that a free move per year was included in the protection plan. We all know that the protection plan does not include move coverage. So let’s say there was an honest misunderstanding between the two, what is the legal remedy? Should DirecTV take the OP’s word and give him a free move? Should it return the money he paid for the protection plan and say sorry for the misunderstanding? Any high school student can read what is covered in the 5.99 a month protection plan and can understand it does not include moves. If this was an honest misunderstanding between the parties then for me returning the money is a fair remedy.

    This cannot be the main focus of the story because the real problem was a denial of a free move. My point is the OP was entitled to the Movers Deal by virtue of the first and primary contract itself. Even if he did not get a protection plan, the Movers Deal still applied to him. In my opinion, DirecTV failed to explain why he did not qualify for a free move WITHIN a year of service. Note, not AFTER a year of service as your original post claims.

    The OP was already entitled to some moving rights from day one. That is clear ftom the Movers Deal even before he erroneously signed up for the protection plan. To deny him a free move under that deal must be justified by the company. They cannot just say it is not part of the protection plan.

  • EdB

    I said I wasn’t going to post again but when you post a LIE I am going to respond. I NEVER MENTIONED THE MOVER DEAL! I said they give customers one free move a year. That MAY be via a mover’s deal, but it may not. I got one of my moves because of a situation when I had to leave my current residence and did not qualify for the movers deal. They gave me the move because I was a long time customer. SO STOP ASSUMING CONTENT THAT IS NOT PRESENT!.

    As far as the relevance of the mention of the free move, how many times must it be said. THAT WAS ONLY AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT THE TECH MAY HAVE BEEN THINKING WHEN HE MISREPRESENTED THE PROTECTION PACKAGE.

    And is is not MY point about the installer misrepresenting the protection package, that is the OP’s point! I was only providing ONE POSSIBLE EXPLANATION as to what might have happened. I don’t allege the installer mislead the OP. The OP alleges the installer mislead the OP.

    As you have so painfully pointed out in other posting, but now seem to contradict yourself, “My point is the OP was entitled to the Movers Deal by virtue of the first and primary contract itself.” HE WAS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR THE MOVERS DEAL so was not entitled to it. How do you come to the conclusion that he was entitled to some moving rights from day one? He was entitled to check if he qualified under the movers deal but he did not. And why can’t they just say it’s not part of the protection plan when it is not?

    The main focus of the story was, AS THE OP ALLEGES, the installer misled him about the coverage of the protection plan to believe it would cover the move and what the response from DirecTV would be appropriate it. The movers deal has no part to the story since he didn’t qualify for it.

    As for your claim, ” Note, not AFTER a year of service as your original post claims.” You are again reading content in that was not there. I said, “What it sounds like happened here was since it had been less than a year since it was installed, he would have to pay.” You see that first part that reads “What it sounds like happens”? That means it is just speculation. I didn’t CLAIM ANYTHING!

  • TonyA_says

    Second sentence, your words. Quote: DirecTv gives EACH customer one free move a year. That’s an ASSERTION you made about all DirecTv customers. And where do they get such a priviledge? From the Movers Deal.
    You see Ed, when you make a general statement about all customers then it is no longer just about you.

  • EdB

    There you go again Tony. Apply responses to statements

    they were not made against.

    TonyA_says: “Note, not AFTER a year of service as your original post claims.”

    I responded and showed I NEVER made THIS claim. But then you go and take that response and apply it to another statement.

    TonyA_says: ” Quote: DirecTv gives EACH customer one free move a year. That’s an ASSERTION you made about all DirecTv customers.”

    You are also making and assumption that all free moves are from the movers deal:

    TonyA_says: “That’s an ASSERTION you made about all DirecTv customers. And where do they get such a priviledge? From the Movers Deal.”

    As I stated in my reply, that is not true. I got a move from a Loyalty policy DirecTV has. You seem to be making an assumption that the only way anyone gets a free move is from the movers deal.

    As for my ASSERTION I made about ALL DirecTV customers, in general, from my experience and as has been expressed to me by contacts at DirecTV, they do try to give all customers one free move a year. Be it through the movers deal, a loyalty program, or out of the goodness of their hearts. Regardless, that assertion is moot in regards to the story. I only put that out as a possible explanation of what the tech may have said. So to avoid further issues and to clarify it, I will amend my statement from….

    “I am a DirecTV customer. DirecTV gives each customer one free move a year.”


    “I am a DirecTV customer. In my experience, DirecTV tries to gives each customer one free move a year if possible.”

  • TonyA_says

    Here we go again. More rope…
    Your words, third sentence from the top.
    What it sounds like happened here was since it had been less than a year since it was installed, he would have to pay.

    Hmm… Is that an opinion or are you quoting a DirecTV policy?

    Anything who reads English would infer from your statement that had the OP been a subscriber for a year or more then he would not have to pay. OK, based on what policy? The Loyalty Policy? Care to show us a link to the so-called Loyalty Policy so we check for ourselves.

    Seems to me that “loyalty” connotes tenure, and tenure is one of the factors considered under the Movers Deal. Of course that is only my opinion after reading the Movers Deal.

  • EdB

    You know what Tony. I really don’t give a damn what you think. You would rather nit-pick a response for “accuracy” rather than look it at in the light it was given, a possible explanation of how the situation may have occurred. This seems to be the theme of a lot of your responses. Ignore the over all picture and intent of message and attack irrelevant details of other’s responses.

    Well Mr. Let’s Be Perfect In Our Responses, “Even ebay has a buyer’s guide warning people about BUYING DirecTV equipment…” This is not an *EBAY* buyer’s guide and you would have realized this if you had, as you say, “I highly recommend that you read the eBay webpage” (Paraphrased). If you did, you would see the description of the guides as, “enable eBay members to share their expertise on any topic or category. Whatever your interest or expertise, you can write a guide on it.” (

    As far as this topic is concerned, I am through with it. I made my point and others were able to understand what I was trying to get across. So go ahead and nit-pick this response and my others all you want. I don’t care. You opinion is not important to me.

  • TonyA_says

    Likewise. The “accuracy” of the installer’s statement regarding the protection plan caused the OP’s problem. So accuracy does matter. An inaccurate assertion can be misleading. That’s my opinion.