DIRECTV's Billing System of Doom

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Help me out, folks, cuz I'm at a loss here... I think there's something seriously wrong with DIRECTV's billing system... or maybe it's billing systems? The past couple months I received summary statements by email that said I owed $0.00. This was great - free TV, who wouldn't like that? So, just to be sure, I go online, and sure enough, the online statements say that I owe $0.00.

Then I get my credit card bill (yeah yeah misconfigured payment method sue me - actually, check that, it wasn't my fault, but anyway)... I have charges for the months of Nov and Dec - the very same months where the statements said I owed $0.00. ?!?!?!?!?! So, I start digging further and I find that, yes, the statements do in fact reflect a payment made in conjunction with the billing cycle. As a matter of fact, it turns out that the reason my bills said I owed $0.00 was because they were charging me on the same day that the statements were generated, which meant that my summary would zero out even though I'd just made a payment.

Soooo... I call up DIRECTV... "hello, yes, there's a problem with my bill... it keeps saying I owe $0.00 and yet you people keep charging me every month... what is up with that?!" The guy goes through the bill, explains the situation, and then, against all belief, says that this is absolutely correct, it's the way it's always worked. At this point, I'm confused, because through October it hadn't worked that way, but then I move cross-country and suddenly "this is the way it's always worked" (it turns out later he's been with the company all of about 4 months, so whatever). Clearly I'm not going to get anywhere here, so I decide to let it drop and I'll just put a fluff high estimate into my budget and then check the detailed statement each month. Oh, sigh.

It's now mid-January, and I've just received my summary statement. It says I owe an amount that is not $0.00. "Hmmm," I think. "They must have fixed the glitch!" I go online, check it out, sure enough, I owe money and they haven't charged me yet. But wait... what's this? Apparently I now have two different due dates. The summary bill says the balance is due on 1/27, but when I verify my auto payment configuration (to the right account now, thankyouverymuch), IT says the balance is due on 2/1. Uh... huh?

So, here's the thing... on the one hand, I'm hesitant to call DIRECTV because, let's be honest here, I'm not going to get any sort of satisfactory answer. However, on the other hand, I'm concerned that the auto payment will go in on 2/1 and then next month they'll charge me a late fee of some sort. Of course, I sort of secretly hope that this will happen because then it would give me an opportunity to call up and complain at length and wonder loudly about the stability of the company and its systems. Or maybe not.

At any rate, DIRECTV's billing system(s) is/are apparently completely hosed. Maybe this is a sign that they're not long for this world. Or, maybe they just deployed SAP (*rimshot*).

2 Comments

Ben - I have had my own issues with directTV billing system. I bundle directv with my att stuff and am supposed to get a discount. It never shows up and every month I with hold the money from my bill payment (i refuse to let them charge me automatically) and them call them and make them put the discount in there. Over the last year there support has gone totally down the tubes!

@Alan - that's interesting, especially about their support going downhill... I've noticed an increase in promotions from them, too, over the past 6 months or so... perhaps these two paint a picture of their pending demise? They sure spend a lot on advertising, yet I also recall reading about an investigation into their billing practices (summary here: http://www.lieffcabraser.com/consumer/directv.htm), plus they seem to also have gone through a merger of some sort last year that is also causing them problems (see here: http://www.prlog.org/10231805-the-directv-group-inc-investor-investigation.html)? Anyway... not good news at any rate for them... perhaps good news for all of us fooball fans, though... if DirecTV went out of business, then maybe online streaming could be purchased separately? :)

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