Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An Open Letter to the Direct TV "Recovery" Team

Dear "Recovery" Team,

It's my fault. I can't hang up on people. Maybe it's because I worked for the fundraising telethon in undergrad. Maybe it's because I worked at the Wal-Mart service desk. Maybe it's because I'm just a weak fool, but I can't do it. So, when I pick up my phone and hear "Hi, I'm calling from Direct TV and we see that you used to be a valuable customer and you're on our preferred list and I'm calling to see how we can bring you back"(all without pause, so that I can't shut you down midway)--I should just hang up, but I don't.

I try to tell you no, but you're well trained. You just won't stop talking long enough for me to get in that one syllable. Or you ignore it. Whatever. So I stare off into space as you give me the same spiel you've given me at least once a month, every month, since January when I paid good money to break my contract and cancel my service with you.

You use lots of exciting-sounding words. "Choice Extra" "Preferred" "Special" I can get a deal! All I have to do is pay you money, and you'll give me channels! It's cheap, oh so cheap.

"For how long?" I ask, sarcastically, but you are programmed not to pick up on sarcasm.

"This price is locked in for 12 whole months!" You say this like you are sincerely excited. Maybe this is as far as you've ever gotten into your script without being hung up on.

"Mmhmm," I say. "And how long is the contract?" You ignore the question and go on and on about how I can get Sunday Ticket, and HBO, and first-born children, and a tour of Heaven.

"The contract?"

"A standard contract. The same as all of the other companies. Do you have a contract with another company? We can help with that."

"I'm not with another company. I left your company because I don't want a contract. This is not difficult. How long?"

"Twenty-four months," you sigh.

"Yes, see, I am not going to sign up for something that is going to lock me into paying, especially when that price is guaranteed to change. It's not happening. I'm not interested. Good-bye."

"But," and you continue. You go on and on and on about how great of a deal this is. I tell you that it's not a deal. It's the exact same service that I paid you money to cancel. I tell you I am not going to sign up for something with one price and then switch to another. You tell me that I'm not actually signing up for a different price. It's the same price the whole time, I just get a "special" rebate for 12 months. I tell you that is nothing but empty rhetoric and we both know it. This is where it gets entertaining.

You tell me that I can reject the rebate and pay the standard price the whole time. I'm actually, legitimately interested.

"And then I don't have to have a contract?" I ask, actually considering a purchase for the first time in the year you've been doing this.

"Well," you stammer, "No. There's still a 24-month contract."

I laugh at you. So, you'll give me the privilege of paying you double for a year and then paying you double for another year? "I'm hanging up now. There are so many other options for entertainment that don't require me to lock in place for two years. There are so many options that give me an upfront price. Change your business model, and stop calling me."

Talk to you next month.


  1. I have a hard time hanging up on them too.

    But getting to (sarcastically, I hope) laugh at their ludicrous offer must have felt good!

  2. The guy sounded young, so he's probably just some kind trying to do his (not very pleasant) job, but still it was kind of fun . . .