First Things First
Since the DirecTV bill is in Ron’s name I’ll let him fill you in on getting rid of it and the details therein. My end was choosing which services we were going to get. But first? We needed an antenna. I headed over to The Wirecutter to get their recommendations, then compared their choices to the customer reviews over on Amazon. One of the biggest things I looked at was range, due to where we live we need an antenna that has some power to it. With that in mind I chose three to really compare: The Mohu Leaf 50, Clearstream 2V Indoor/Outdoor and The Winegard FlatWave Amped. These three had the most customer reviews and were consistently rated at 3 stars or higher. Now the question is, which one to get?
I ended up getting the Clearstream 2V I/O because it had the best ratings and the most powerful signal across the board, plus since we’re in the midst of a green retrofit, the Clearstream could be placed outside when the time comes. The other thing I ended up getting is an RF splitter, we have three televisions, one on each floor of our house so I wanted to be able to use the existing cables to link everything together, hopefully it won’t be too much of a hassle but I’ll let you know.
Once you’ve been a customer for a while cable/satellite companies tend to forget about you (unless you haven’t paid your bill promptly). It’s no different than any other service company, really. Offer you a great deal to get you in the door then count on your apathy once the bargains expire. Since these companies make billions every year and I don’t, I’m going with they know more about the American psyche than I do. For the first few years after my father retired he would play one end against the other, calling his cable company and telling them that he had an offer from another provider and list all of the things he heard on the commercial. His cable provider actually caved and gave him some free channels and everyone was happy, but after a while they called his bluff and soon he was paying full price and griping about it like the rest of us.
What I can say is that, other than not paying your bill, nothing gets a reps attention faster than you saying “I want to cancel my service”. All of a sudden you get to skip voice prompts and pressing this key to get to this department and you get a human freaking being on the line PRONTO. I like to imagine that there is a room of specialists sitting in DirecTV’s HQ, absentmindedly staring at the walls until someone on the phone says the magic words “cancel” and “service”, then alarms go off and a mad scramble ensues and it looks and sounds like the communications room in the belly of a nuclear submarine in every Tom Clancy novel when the Russians are getting a little TOO close.
A gentleman named Leslie took my call. He is a pro at this. Never loses his cool. He asked why I’m cancelling and I told him the truth: that with streaming services the cost for pay TV is not worth it. He looks at my account and says “You’ve been with us for 8 years. That’s a long time. You qualify for a $40 discount”, which sounds great until I ask him why, if I qualify for this discount that I have not already received it as thanks for being such a loyal customer. His reply is to up the offer to $50 & add $5 off our HBO. Leslie would make one hell of a politician. In fact, I think he is in the wrong line of work.
I tell Leslie thanks but no thanks. This makes him sad. He only has one card left to play: we have not completed our 2 year contract from when we upgraded to the new receiver. “THERE IS A PENALTY! YOU’LL HAVE TO PAY A PENALTY!” (Leslie didn’t actually yell so much as he was excited because he thought he’d found a way to make us stick around for at least a few more months.) But when he tells me the penalty is $60 and I point out that is about 40% of a monthly bill and even with his discounts it’s still just a shade more than half of a monthly bill Leslie knew he had lost this account. At that point all of the joy left his voice as he went through the steps explaining what we would have to do and what we would have to send back. I think he found a little schadenfreude in being able to tell me that the dish that they bolted to my house 8 years ago is considered mine so it is up to me to remove it. I’ll be buying some silicone foam to fill in the holes in my wall. But that is a small price to pay, I guess.
As the call ended Leslie dropped a bomb on me that I was not expecting. He said “That’s everything. Just know that DirecTV will always welcome you back with a great re-connect special”. I feel like I told him “it’s not you, it’s me” and he said “if you ever take me back I’ll buy you a puppy!”
So that’s the disconnect, now onto the streaming…wish us luck!