Direct TV Advocated Lying About Need Of Phone-Line

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Poke

Poke

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http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060502/2248208.shtml



DirecTV Install Techs Claim They Were Forced To Lie To Customers
from the what-a-nice-company dept
While so much attention is paid to the recording industry for its sleazy practices, it's surprising that DirecTV doesn't get more attention for its practices. You may recall a few years ago when they (before the RIAA figured out a similar scheme) sent around letters to anyone they suspected of using a smartcard reader (they got a list of buyers) demanding $3,500 or promising a lawsuit -- even if there was no evidence that the smartcard reader was used to illegally access DirecTV signals. It was a similar plan to the RIAA, where they made it clear that it was much cheaper to just pay up, rather than go to court and prove your innocence (even if you were innocent). Eventually, the company was forced to stop the program, as a court found obvious problems with the practice. Just a few months ago, though, we noted that the company was being fined for two different violations. First, they were telemarketing to people on the Do Not Call list. Second, they were fined for their advertising, which didn't make clear certain blackout info and (of course) additional unexpected fees that subscribers would get.

The latest news story represents even more fun for the company. Apparently, a group of DirecTV technicians in Florida (who work for an outside contractor) have blown the whistle on the fact that the company set up incentives that forced them to lie to customers, in order to get people to hook their telephone lines up to the DirecTV boxes. Technicians were told to tell users that it was required, or the device wouldn't work -- even though that's false. In order to enforce this, the company would fine installers any time a box was set up without a phone line connected. Unfortunately, the article isn't entirely clear whether it's the contracting firm or DirecTV who was directly responsible for the fines or the directives to lie to customers. DirecTV was contacted by the reporter doing the story, and they made it clear they plan to continue the practice of pushing installers to hook up phone lines, because users who do so are more likely to order fee-based content and can be more easily tracked by DirecTV. It's easy to see why DirecTV would want this -- and they could obviously turn around and say it wasn't about "fining" the installers, but simply paying them extra if they hooked up a phone line -- but, the fact that installers were encouraged to lie to customers and "do whatever it takes" to get phone lines hooked up is a problem. Especially from a consumer standpoint, it doesn't make DirecTV look very trustworthy -- even if the ultimate fault is with the contractor.
 
charper1

charper1

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Although I have always known since starting my subscription to DBS back in 1996 that a phone line is not needed 100%, the letter of the law MIGHT see it different.

The receivers "will not function completely as designed without a land line phone connection" is what I was always told, and this IS true.

Now this issue of who told who to do what and what is really behind their complaints with DirecTV, is the larger issue here.

This group really seems to be disgruntled (maybe with their compensation) and seeking to grasp at something to gain support from the public; because we all know griping about pay never wins fans and outing a dishonest huge company does.

IMHO
 
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landlocked

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I was told something along those lines a couple months back when I got my H20s. The installer told me that they needed to be hooked up within 3 weeks or they wouldn't work. Knowing that the phone, at least for previous models, was only needed for PPV functions...I didn't sweat it...and it works just fine. The rooms in question don't have phone drops...but if DTV wants to install some for me (free of charge) I'm cool with it.

* Somebody up there loves me *
 
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dtvservicetech

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I work for a company coincidently in Florida and we are required to run the phone lines.WE have to go through a lot to not run the phone lines. We were told that the DVR will shut down if the phone lines arent run but I heard through another source that the DVR plus was made for people that do not use a land based phone. Our company gets charged back 5 dollars a phone line that isnt installed. I dont know how other contractors are charged though.
dtvtech
 
cablewithaview

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My installer insisted I had to have the phone line hooked up. I told him, I'm cell based only, no land line. Then I had to talk w/ DirecTV and sign a statement that I wasn't basically BSing them about not having a phone line. I have only one receiver active at the moment and they just thought it was horrible I didn't have a land line. If they want a land line, then pay for it yourself.
 
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Raydr

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Guys, keep this in mind:

1.) Installers have always been contractually required to install and connect a phone line to each IRD.
2.) The pay that installers got was under the assumptions that they were connecting a phone line.
3.) The installers were warned for MONTHS that if they did not connect phone lines, it would mean less money.
4.) The installers got paid for YEARS at "IRD Installed + Phone Line connected" rates. Now after months of warnings, they started getting "not paid" for each one they did not connect...after years of getting paid for ones they did not connect.

Come on - you're doing less work when you do not connect a phone line. Why should you get paid the same amount as someone who DOES go through the trouble of running and installing a phone line?
 
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Newshawk

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You know, I find the subject line of this topic, not to mention the origianl story, misleading. D* did not "advocate" lying to customers-the subcontractor did. D* is merely enforcing a long-standing part of its contract with the HSP... it's the HSP mandating deception to get the job done.
 
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scotsmanron

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Raydr, you are missing the point. D* is telling the CONSUMER that they MUST have a phone line when they don't need to. It has nothing to do with paying the installer it has EVERYTHING to do with if I need a phone line or not. I don't. D* WANTS me to. I couldn't care less what D* wants. They are trying to get the installers to lie to their customer base. THAT is nothing but FRAUD.
 
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scotsmanron

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Newshank, I don't think that is the case. When I got my H20s one CSR adamantly told me that I MUST have a phone line in the house or they would, under no circumstances do the install. I said fine and ignore it. Sounds to me that D* is telling them to lie.
 
Poke

Poke

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Here is where they used the word "Advocated Lying" came from. So sorry if some of you did not like the subject line but either way "Misleading or Lying" in some cases can be the same.

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/74092

DirecTV Advocated Lying
Urged techs to lie: DVR's need a phone-line

Posted on 2006-05-03 08:57:59

Whether or not a DirecTV/Tivo DVR needed a phone line is a common question that springs up in our forum, particular as users migrate to VoIP. The reality is that the phone-line is not absolutely necessary, but some DirecTV technicians in Florida are saying they were forced to lie and tell customers it was, or face having money subtracted from their paycheck (Local6 via Techdirt). "Tell the customer whatever you have to tell them," technician Frank Martinez says he was told by management. "Tell them if these phone lines are not connected, the receiver will blow up."

Here the link to Local6 on the issue which I would take a look at.

http://www.local6.com/problemsolvers/9142100/detail.html

Last year, DirectTV paid out a $5 million settlement with Florida and 21 other states for deceptive practices.

Read more in the link listed above.
 
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chadzx11

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Jan 28, 2006
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Raydr said:
Guys, keep this in mind:

1.) Installers have always been contractually required to install and connect a phone line to each IRD.
2.) The pay that installers got was under the assumptions that they were connecting a phone line.
3.) The installers were warned for MONTHS that if they did not connect phone lines, it would mean less money.
4.) The installers got paid for YEARS at "IRD Installed + Phone Line connected" rates. Now after months of warnings, they started getting "not paid" for each one they did not connect...after years of getting paid for ones they did not connect.

Come on - you're doing less work when you do not connect a phone line. Why should you get paid the same amount as someone who DOES go through the trouble of running and installing a phone line?

This is BS. The industry standard pro install calls for hooking that 25ft phone cord up to an EXISTING jack. No one other than primestar has ever mandated phone lines, and back then, they supplied EVERYTHING but the tools and the trucks. 10 years later, my "pay" is exactly the same as it was them. What's changed? Now I have to supply everything but the hardware. And gas has tripled in the last 10 years. I quit doing D* last year and am doing E* only. If E* mandates me to install phonelines, E* can hire a wetback to replace me (because I will quit before I accept responsibility for a customer's phone system). I have no doubt that they will.

here is a link where a "top 5" dealer breaks down a standard install

Another

one more for good measure

Bottom line: D* is mandating this NOW, in 2006. Personally, with the advent of complicated home security systems, there is no way you guys as customers should want a D* tech rooting around in your phone box.
 
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charper1

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lou_do said:
Here is the policy on phone lines from D* web site, nothing about it being manditory: http://www.directv.com/DTVAPP/customercare/CustCare_phoneline.jsp


Exactly Lou! The company line is not that they are mandatory but that the receivers don't work 100% AS DESIGNED without the line connected.

I am wondering if it is the contractors or their companies advocating the lies as to charge for the phone lines; then blaming the big brother.
 
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Newshawk

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Bingo, charper! Oh, BTW, one thing I did notice with all those "standard professional installation" guidelines that chadzx11 gave links t was that none of them addressed the 2nd DVR satellite input line that D* mandates.
 
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Raydr

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May 17, 2004
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scotsmanron said:
Raydr, you are missing the point. D* is telling the CONSUMER that they MUST have a phone line when they don't need to. It has nothing to do with paying the installer it has EVERYTHING to do with if I need a phone line or not. I don't. D* WANTS me to. I couldn't care less what D* wants. They are trying to get the installers to lie to their customer base. THAT is nothing but FRAUD.

--THIS IS MY PERSONAL OPINION--

I think that you are missing the point.

DirecTV is the company offering the service. DirecTV can ALSO set the terms of them providing the service to you, and one of those terms happens to be required phone lines.

Just like when you lease or purchase a new car, the bank requires you to get full coverage. Many would argue they don't need it, but hey, don't like the terms? Then don't sign up.

This isn't about what you want or what DirecTV wants - this is about the fact that one of the conditions of DTV service is that a "land based phone line is connected to each IRD".

BTW, all of those techs have been fired.
http://www.local6.com/news/9164122/detail.html

The "advocating lies" is Bullsh!t - an exaggeration of the facts, etc. What they did was take "do whatever it takes to get a phone line in" and convert it in to "let's lie and decieve all our customers". It could just as easily been converted in to "work a bit harder and take the extra time to install the phone jacks", but what you have is a bunch of techs who do not want to spend more time on an install for the same pay.

--THIS IS MY PERSONAL OPINION--
 
stevo/65

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Raydr said:
Guys, keep this in mind:

1.) Installers have always been contractually required to install and connect a phone line to each IRD.
2.) The pay that installers got was under the assumptions that they were connecting a phone line.
3.) The installers were warned for MONTHS that if they did not connect phone lines, it would mean less money.
4.) The installers got paid for YEARS at "IRD Installed + Phone Line connected" rates. Now after months of warnings, they started getting "not paid" for each one they did not connect...after years of getting paid for ones they did not connect.

Come on - you're doing less work when you do not connect a phone line. Why should you get paid the same amount as someone who DOES go through the trouble of running and installing a phone line?
You sound like one of those supervisors who are tellng the tecs to lie to customers about needing the phones hooked up to the reciever, or if it is not hooked up to the reciever then the reciever will explode.:eek:
Again you are wrong and lying. Tecs do not get paid for phone lines to be hooked up to all recievers, that is free at thier expense. The phone line is only to be installed to the primary reciever only(and within 25 feet) under the contract and as a contractor i know this to be a fact. Also Mastec is in fact charging back 5 dollars a reciever that is not hooked up to a phone line, and that is including cell phone houses.(do you really think that is fair)? a D* rep for a local retailer said that the phone line is not a requirement to all recievers only the primary (if cust wants it). Now that is straight from Directv`s mouth.:rolleyes:
So as for the phone lines to all recievers always have been required is again a lie.
Again phone line installation from D mark to reciever is not taught at the SBCA certification.
SBCA certification covers everything that is required on installs per D* and E*. again no phone lines mentioned
 
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iceturkee

iceturkee

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just read on my road runner home page that mastec has fired 40 central florida directv installers for going to problem solvers. the installers are threatening legal action. this could get ugly. go to www.wkmg.com for details. (sorry i have limited finger detexerity or i would post the story).
 
VIPERS-PIT

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I only have phone lines to 2 of my 8 recievers. Even though there are phone lines in the rooms or next to the IRDs I did not want the phone lines hooked up. In fact I called D* and had the PPV order option turned off on the IRDs except the 2 main TVs. I do not want the kids ordering PPV on one of the TVs in their rooms.

The installer was made aware of this choice by me and had no problems with it, neither did D*. This sounds like the local contractor tring to get even.
 
stevo/65

stevo/65

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VIPERS-PIT said:
I only have phone lines to 2 of my 8 recievers. Even though there are phone lines in the rooms or next to the IRDs I did not want the phone lines hooked up. In fact I called D* and had the PPV order option turned off on the IRDs except the 2 main TVs. I do not want the kids ordering PPV on one of the TVs in their rooms.

The installer was made aware of this choice by me and had no problems with it, neither did D*. This sounds like the local contractor tring to get even.
Its not a local contractor getting even. Its MASTEC :mad:
It is not only in Florida it is nationwide with MASTEC :mad:
 
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