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Unleash the Dogs of War!

September 8, 2017

You might recall that I’ve been fighting with DirecTV over a refund owed my late mother, a refund of $30.90. My mother spent hours on the phone trying to get her refund and died without receiving it. She’d often complain about the incompetence of the people on the other end of the phone, and since she could be a cantankerous old soul I assumed she was the one responsible for the problem. Sorry Mom, it wasn’t you. DirecTV has the worst customer service I’ve run across in my sixty-five years.


A month ago I spent a ridiculous amount of time on the phone explaining for the umpteenth time that I was executor of my mother’s estate and we were still waiting for that refund, a refund promised us many times. At one point, a six-month hold had been put on the account. When I pointed out that a year had passed they had no explanation and agreed to remove the hold, and I was promised Mom’s refund in four working days. Still I received no check in the mail. It would be easier to just let this go but I continue to receive statements from DirecTV showing a credit on Mom’s closed account. The address on the statement remains my mother’s old address, even though I’ve asked that it be changed many times.


Last week I nearly had a stroke dealing with these people. I was on the phone for four hours (Stupid I know.) I completed a painting while waiting on hold. Many times I asked for supervisors, and after long waits where I was transferred to the Philippines or India, I’d get someone saying they were a supervisor, but they weren’t. Finally, I was transferred to DirecTV’s headquarters in California. That’s when it really got dicey.


My conversation with a so-called supervisor went something like this:


“I’m calling to find out why I haven’t received a refund on this closed account, a refund I was promised.”


“Is your name on the account?”


“No. It was my late mother’s account and she died trying to get her refund from you people.” I shouldn’t have referred to “you people,” which often ticks people off, but I was at the end of my rope, or so I thought at the time.


“If your name isn’t on the account, we can’t help you. Your mother needs to contact us for a refund.”


I wanted to scream into the phone, but didn’t. “Like I’ve said repeatedly, my mother is dead.”


“Can’t help you unless you send a copy of your mother’s will naming you executor of her estate, along with a copy of your Power of Attorney—it must be a DURABLE Power of Attorney—and a death certificate.”


I swallowed hard and tried to control my temper. “I’ve already been promised this refund. Besides, a death certificate costs nearly twenty bucks. It would be stupid sending one for a refund of only $30.90.”


“Sorry, can’t help you without those documents.”


“So why was I lied to? I was told I’d have the check in four working days.”


We went back and forth for another forty minutes, and I told this individual I firmly believed they had no intention of sending a refund.


Well, yesterday a refund finally came in the mail; they still hadn’t changed the address on the statement, but a check was NOT included. They sent a gift card for $30.90, made out to my mother.


It’s absolutely worthless because only my mom can use it, and like I’ve told them a hundred times—she’s deceased. Mrs. C. says they’re just jerking me around and have no intention of sending me a real refund.


We’ll see. I’m a cantankerous old soul, just like my mother. Perhaps more so.



The unusable card sent to my late mother






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That has got to be the screwiest thing I've ever heard. Go to war. Spread it all over the Internet. Call the BBB. They can't win!
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on September 8, 2017
If you don't have a Twitter account, start one and spread this everywhere. Someone at headquarters who is in charge of monitoring such things will see it and something will be done. It's sad it has to come to that.
By: messymimi on September 8, 2017
DirecTV does have horrible customer service. But you can probably use the card, unless you don't want to do so as a matter or principle. Just call to activate it and then swipe it at checkout in a grocery store. DirecTV probably spends a fortune on pissing off people. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on September 8, 2017
Hey Stephen, I just shared this on my Facebook and asked people to share your story. Maybe if we can generate enough stink they will do what's right.
By: Rick Watson on September 8, 2017
Oh my word - what ridiculousness!
By: The Bug on September 8, 2017
I went through the same thing when my mom passed away, except it was with Comcast! They finally issued a check, but made out to her! The bank wouldn't take it, so went back to Comcast, and got the same runaround as you. After several months of frustration, numerous trips to Comcast, the bank agreed to accept the check. What's with these companies?
By: Laurie on September 8, 2017
Call one of those tv stations or newspapers that has a guy who publicizes and solves these kind of customer disputes. The offender usually bends to that kind of pressure.
By: Catalyst on September 8, 2017
That's ridiculous!!
By: fishducky on September 8, 2017
did you try calling the number? If it's just an automated thing maybe you could activate it even with the wrong name.
By: PT Dilloway on September 8, 2017
I have Direct and so far haven't had to contact them. May I never. Could you use that card to buy gas somewhere?
By: Arkansas Patti on September 8, 2017
Why am I not surprised. In Canada, we have a show called Marketplace that dealt with cell phone issues and the same run around was happening with that but not in the same style you have dealt with. I wonder if you can get your local government guy involved. Here, we have a minister of Parliament-M.P- who often can help people. We also can contact the media who reports things and I was able to help friends of mine with something by contacting CTV News, their special report cases, and it was aired. Once it got aired, my friends finally got what they should have received at the beginning. No company likes being in the news
By: Birgit on September 8, 2017
Sorry to hear this, Stephen. I know from my own personal experience with DirecTV's customer service that they are horrible. I think it has gotten worse since they merged with AT&T. Good luck with everything.
By: Mr. Shife on September 8, 2017
I agree with Janie Junebug, just register the card and buy something for $30. I've almost never had anyone check the ID on my cards and I don't sign them, I just write "Ask for photo ID" on the signature line. People do not check, use it and be done with it...or maybe use it and also send a nasty letter to the CEO, sometimes people read them and you get action.
By: on September 8, 2017
I like the advice offered by Catalyst. Those guys LOVE to knock Goliath off his high horse. Good luck.
By: scott park on September 8, 2017
Find a way to use that card! Your mom was due that money, and now it's yours. Not DirecTV's. Maybe Mrs. C can pretend that it's HER card!
By: Val on September 8, 2017
Direct tv has the absolutely worst customer service. This week a channel on which I have been watching America's Got Talent was unavailable because Direct tv refuses to pay them the fee they want. What am I paying for is I can't get the channels I was promised. Yes, if you are considering Direct tv, you might want to shop around for a different supplier.
By: Kate on September 8, 2017
just posted a few nasty grams for the public to read on FB plus on their FB page too...bwa hahahah!
By: Kathe W. on September 8, 2017
I think you should redistribute your time and frustrations. They're obviously jerking you around, so just rip them apart on social media and save yourself from a stroke. Good luck!
By: Chris on September 9, 2017
I hope you can use the card...if it's a prepaid card, wouldn't anyone who has it be able to use it? ("Treat it like cash?") I certainly hope you won't need it to buy high blood pressure medication!!!
By: Pixel Peeper on September 9, 2017
Stephen- My blood boiled in just reading this. I think Bruce aka Catalyst has a good idea. I would also suggest that you take Direct to small claims court. It will cost you very little, since you represent yourself, but it will require Direct to respond and to represent themselves and some where up the food chain it will rankle them.
By: TomCochrun on September 9, 2017
I would think the card could be used by anyone. This is incredibly poor customer service.
By: jenny_o on September 11, 2017
I'm in total agreement with the group suggesting you give them hell. Take your cantankerous old soul and put it to work. Make it your mission and have fun with it too.
By: Daniel LaFrance on September 13, 2017
I hate that you (and your late mother) had to go through all this crap...for $30. I agree with the others that said to activate the card. Terrible customer service, but in the end they gave you the money. Life is too short and it sounds as if you spent too much time already (pun intended). Swipe and spend, my friend.
By: STL Fan on September 15, 2017

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