directv's malicious billing

| 14 Comments

This morning, I had to cancel my Amex card and order a new one with a different number. All because DirecTV has been billing us for six months for an account we don't even have.

The first mysterious charges showed up in the fall, and we contacted them to explain that the charges were in errror. We don't have DirecTV, or any services they provide. They told us that we needed an account number to complain, which was a problem because we don't have an account. So they said to contact Amex, which couldn't provide an account number, only a billing reference, but allowed us to dispute and therefore not pay the charge.

The following month the same thing happened. And the month after that it happened again. Gerald started getting increasingly frustrated with the calls to DirecTV. Apparently they got irritated with him, too, because the charges didn't disappear--they started duplicating. Two charges (for different amounts) last month. And FIVE (yes, five) this month. That was the last straw--it's hard not to interpret this as malicious on their part, since each attempt at resolution leads to increased inaccurate billing.

Apparently we're not the only ones having problems with DirecTV. In fact, fraudulent billing to people without DirecTV accounts seems to be a common complaint.

Changing credit card numbers is a serious pain in the ass, because we have a number of things that are regularly billed to that card. I really didn't want to have to do this. But we didn't really have another option, since we couldn't even get through to a supervisor at DirecTV's billing office. (And now that I've read the stories linked above, I'm sure we did the right thing by changing my card number.)

So...be careful with DirecTV. Check your charges. Monitor your bill. And don't count on any assistance from "customer service." You can bet we'll never do business with them in any way in the future.

14 Comments

I have had a similar experience with a multinational organisation in the UK. Checking around I have come (rather reluctantly) to believe that a deliberate scam is being worked by some of these organisations using their size and reach to intimidate people into paying bills that were originated by these organisations using fraudulent though deniable access to your bank details. Typically, a cold call will come purporting to be from a charity (Help the Aged, in one case) or from a supplier you deal with (British Telecom, in the UK, gets targetted as it is likely to be your telecoms supplier). Your bank/card details will be requested "for confirmation only". If you make the mistake of passing them over the game is on. An account is created. When you discover this you complain. You are then told, "but you must have agreed to this because you gave us your details". Cancelling is impossible because you have suddenly to write a letter to confirm your request (no letter is required to prove your original compliance). This is never replied to. If you cancel your payment, you will get threatening letters from a credit agency (purporting to be from a solicitor). Even your bank may insist (in the case of a credit card) that you continue to pay and will not let you stop as both sides have to agree to cancellation of a credit card debt. However, the organisation never replies to your letters, can't cancel on the phone, can't find a supervisor etc etc. (Often, the complaints address changes with every phone call.)

In the UK I have found one method that works, but you have to have proof of your attempts to communicate. That is to write stating that you will bring the debt before the small claims court. This handles amounts of up to £5000 sterling, and can be addressed by a layman. So no legal fees, but very expensive for the organisation as it is held at the court convenient to the claimant. Result, the siuation suddenly resolves itself. You may even get your payments back!
Sadly there are several internet sites in the UK with forums (eg http://forums.ntlhell.co.uk/)full of people complaining about very similar scenarios. So common is your experience that I believe this method may be being taught to telephone sales people in these large organisations. What I cannot understand is the reason for this. These businesses are vast, the payoff minimal (most amounts are less than £500)and the unwilling customer will tell everyone they know about their nightmare payments, losing more business.

I'm not so sure it's limited to DirecTV. A guy I used to work with had a mysterious 'Service Plan Change' charge from SprintPCS (or Spring Personal Wirelss, whatever they call themselves now) appear on his Visa. Not having ever had a Sprint account, he called his credit card company, who volleyed him to Sprint, and not having a Sprint account number to reference the charge, bounced him back to his credit card company. Eventually, after much pleading, and explaining how it just can't be possible, his credit card company refunded the charge.

He never did find out how Sprint was allowed to make that charge in the first place.

Thanks for the warning. I had something like that, but not so expensive and partly my fault since I wasn't paying attention to the charge card bill and the little $9.95 being charged each month.

We can all watch for the DirectTV charge now.

I am not sure that this is related but I just spent an hour and 10 minutes on the phone, only to be given the very kind "Have a nice day!".
I will follow this up with a huge e-mail that will go national.
I am refinancing and I have on my credit report that I owe Directv a balance. So I called and cleared this matter up, right? NO, my blance has been zero since 8/04 and when I asked for something in writing to provide to the credit agency they me that they could not do that.
Five people later, 1 hour and 10 minutes and hung-up on.
I have a call in to the Executive Suites and am curious if I will receive a call. Does anyone know the CEO's e-mail address? If so please post it.
Thank you

If you don't have a directv account, that means someone in the bank or the credit card company is using your card for THEIR directv service.

July 7, 2006

I have also had numerous problems with DirecTV. They overbill for charges unrelated to the account and threaten to "interrupt" service.

Someone asked for info on the CEO. I have provided it below along with the owner of the conglomerate that owns DirecTV. I wrote letters to them yesterday -- we'll see if they respond.


Michael

Chase Carey is the CEO of DirecTV his info:
2230 East Imperial Highway
El Segundo CA 90245

Phone: 310-964-5000
Fax: 310-535-5225

Rupert Murdoch is the owner of "News Corp" which owns DirecTV. He is also Chairman of the Board for DirecTV. His info:

News Corporation
8th Floor
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York NY 10036

Directv operates without honor,is dishonest and is guilty of unconscionable business practices. Just paid $750 for a HD DVR and learned after installation it would only deliver a few HD channels-they say have to buy an off air antenna to get local HD stations, but the $99 receiver does deliver all available HD programming-refused refund until I asked for address of CEO to serve law suit, which of course changed their minds and am supposed to get a "recovery kit" to send unit back for refund-don't ever buy anything fron Directv-liars and thieves

hello just to confirmand forewarn that fraud and directv seem to go hand in hand i don t know why . i lost my card about a week ago and reported it. today i have acharge of 200, i have never had directtv service i just got charged 200 dollars for directv hardware customernoservice claims they dont have me on record as having an account . (really) what sort of stupid verification process do these guys have ?!
I have filed to dispute and , then plan to file a law suite

Cory,

DirecTV does not have a verification process. I found this out this past weekend. I have an account with DirecTV and the billing statement comes in my name. However, they allowed my brother to add an HDTV receiver to the account without my permission, and then tell me when I call to check on some charges I felt should not have been on the account, that my account had been renewed for another year. I told them no it is not and that any lawyer would back me on the fact that what they did was illegal. I was then told to simply return the receiver and I can then end my commitment with them at the end of the year. They also tried to sneak and continue to charge me for the NFL ticket package even though I called them before the 4-months promotional deal ended. They had no choice but to remove it. So, they now tell me they would hate to lose me as a customer and that I could continue with a month to month service. It seems to me that these people do not realize that what they are doing is illegal until you threaten them with the law. They also tend to want make the customer feel as if they did something wrong.

After having a terrible time tying to solve a very simple problem with DirecTV's customer relations-I decided to pass my concerns on to their Senior Management. I managed to locate the Email for their new Customer Relations Senior VP-Ellen Filipiak. She was kind enough to Email me back telling me that DirecTV's Business Operation Analyst, a woman by the name of Heywot Bitew, would "resolve" the problems that I had and was apologetic for her staff's actions.
If you have the opportunity, I encourage you to read the actual Emails at http://oregonsand.blogspot.com as it really sheds a light into the attitude and poor customer relations policies of DirecTV.

Long story short-Ms Bitew did anything BUT resolve the issue. Seems Ms. Bitew is under the impression that the treatment I received is "not the norm" for her customer relations. From what I can see from boggs on the internet-I beg to differ. Right or wrong-I encourage you to share your experiences by phoning Ms. Bitew or Emailing either Ms. Bitew or Ellen Filipiak with your concerns. I am concerned that perhaps Ms. Bitew and Ms. Filipiak may not be getting accurate information as to just how bad their customer service is-so I encourage anyone that has had, or is currently experiencing problems, with DirecTV's customer service to give these two executives a clearer picture of just what is happening in this department.

To reach Heywot Bitew: Email:HZBitew@directv.com Her direct phone line:310-964-6508
To reach Ellen Filipiak, Sr VP of Customer Relations: Email her at: eafilipiak@directv.com
And you may want to send a copy of your EMails to DirecTV's investor relations. Their Email is investorrelations@directv.com

DirectV is doing the same thing to me. I was a loyal customer for many years. Had to mover some 60 miles and move into town. I called and cancelled my service. Lady said I will have a credit. Well six (6) months later DirecTV started billing my credit card again. We did not catch it for 6 months, dur to do paper billing and 5-family deaths and one automobile accident. I have still not got my money refunded to me.
So, if anyone stoped service where a auto-pay credit is set-up call the credit card company and cancelle it as well at the same time.
ANY SUGGESTIONS AS HOW I CAN GET MY $500.00+ BACK FRO THES GUYS?? IS A SHAM AND SCHEAM TO STEAL MONEY...PLAIN AND SIMPLE IT'S JUST NOT RIGHT.
325-668-1015

I too have a problem with DirecTV. We went through untold phone calls to service and 5+ visits by their service company to fix problems we were having. The last couple of times nobody showed so we canceled our accout. We were told there was a cancellation fee which we refused to pay. We were sent collection notices and in February 2007 we sent a dispute to that company listing our grievances. Never received a reply.
Now, the first week of September we received another collection agency notice. I am sending them the same info I sent in February. Thanks to the info above I can also send this information to the people running this outfit.
Very poor service, even if it was their service company, it's the same as dealing directly with DirecTV. It's their responsibility to take care of their customers not to be persecuting them after they go elsewhere.
We had been a DirecTV customer for about 10 years. It's a shame they don't treat us like they wanted us.

http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/getNFLback Would you reward a kid for stealing from your purse? Of course you wouldn't.Then why is the NFL rewarding Directv with exclussive rights? They lie , cheat , and steal.They charge you to lease their equipment , then charge you upto $5.99 to protect it against repairs.They will also make unauthorized charges to your credit/debit card.This is 100% accurate , google directv complainsts , it will blow your mind , they had over 20,000 complaints in 3 years , thats a BBB record.They have 3 lawsuits pending , in California , Washington , and Oregon.This does not include the silent suits.My goal is to get congress to open the NFL Sunday Ticket to cable companies , And all Satellite companies , At the top there is a Petition , my goal is to get 10,000 signatures then I'm sending the petition to congress.America needs competition , what if there was only 1 electrc company , gas company , Or auto maker?You Get the point , Thanks for your support! Earl David Evans

wow, I never expected that there would be a lot of people who really disappoint with DirectTv. I was planning to get a DirectTv services, so I start to look for it on the internet. once i start the search icon, suddenly i saw this website. so with curiosity, I clicked it, and I red a lot of complain regarding DirectTv. I am very lucky that, I found this website. After read all the complain, I decide not to get any service from DirectTv. thanks for the info...

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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on April 18, 2006 2:54 PM.

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