Pay TV scams?

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littlebird
Posts: 1411
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:05 pm
Location: Valley of the Sun, AZ

Pay TV scams?

Post by littlebird » Sun May 20, 2018 5:55 pm

We never had any form of pay TV. My elderly spouse was in an assisted living home for two years and is completely bed-bound and unable to use his hands. He spent all his waking time with the TV on, watching, or dozing through, Cable News. I recently brought him home, with the assistance of Hospice, and ordered what I thought was Cable TV for him, through my phone company, Century Link, on the advice of a neighbor. It turned out to be Direct TV. The price for basic seemed reasonable, $35/month.

I haven't even received the first bill yet, supposedly from the phone company acting as billing agent for Direct TV, but I've already received two disturbing pieces of mail from Direct TV. The first acknowledged my order for TV service at $78/ month. I had to call Century Link and was assured that the cost was actually going to be $35/month. The second then arrived thanking me for "purchasing Direct TV Protection plan" at $7.99/month (soon to rise to $8.99/month). Needless to say I had done no such thing.

I'm a veteran of the consumer wars of the 1950's and 60's, when utilities, banks and other companies routinely scammed their consumers. Resultant laws have since stemmed the threat, so I haven't faced this sort of thing in many years. Of course, I'll call DTV and Century Link on Monday (as though I don't have enough to do), but I'm wondering if this is what I'm in for in the next 2 years. Should I rescind my auto-paying of the phone -now also the TV - bill? Does anyone regulate these people? Am I safe in ignoring any mail I get from DTV before my 2-year contract is up? Do I have to affirmatively negate any further fake charges in order to avoid a later phone battle? Or can I just treat such nefarious mail as an offer to deal, and ignore it? Help needed.

ResearchMed
Posts: 7675
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Pay TV scams?

Post by ResearchMed » Sun May 20, 2018 6:35 pm

littlebird wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 5:55 pm
We never had any form of pay TV. My elderly spouse was in an assisted living home for two years and is completely bed-bound and unable to use his hands. He spent all his waking time with the TV on, watching, or dozing through, Cable News. I recently brought him home, with the assistance of Hospice, and ordered what I thought was Cable TV for him, through my phone company, Century Link, on the advice of a neighbor. It turned out to be Direct TV. The price for basic seemed reasonable, $35/month.

I haven't even received the first bill yet, supposedly from the phone company acting as billing agent for Direct TV, but I've already received two disturbing pieces of mail from Direct TV. The first acknowledged my order for TV service at $78/ month. I had to call Century Link and was assured that the cost was actually going to be $35/month. The second then arrived thanking me for "purchasing Direct TV Protection plan" at $7.99/month (soon to rise to $8.99/month). Needless to say I had done no such thing.

I'm a veteran of the consumer wars of the 1950's and 60's, when utilities, banks and other companies routinely scammed their consumers. Resultant laws have since stemmed the threat, so I haven't faced this sort of thing in many years. Of course, I'll call DTV and Century Link on Monday (as though I don't have enough to do), but I'm wondering if this is what I'm in for in the next 2 years. Should I rescind my auto-paying of the phone -now also the TV - bill? Does anyone regulate these people? Am I safe in ignoring any mail I get from DTV before my 2-year contract is up? Do I have to affirmatively negate any further fake charges in order to avoid a later phone battle? Or can I just treat such nefarious mail as an offer to deal, and ignore it? Help needed.
We had some trouble when initially getting MIL set up with the phone/TV package from the service that her then-ALF (Assisted Living Facility) required to be used.

In this case, I think it was just a totally lazy rep, rather than ill intent (and I'm usually not slow to be suspicious). But the "bottom line" was the same, and he just wouldn't respond, despite being *very* prompt when setting things up.

What I found did the trick was to contact the local regulators. The telecom people were especially helpful (and gave us the direct dial number for "corporate" instead of the incompetent toll free number, etc.), and suggested we contact Elder Affairs.

It took perhaps 5 seconds from the time I spoke with "corporate" and uttered the magic words of "... so is this some sort of Elder Financial Fraud? We'll be in touch with <name of agency>..."

All of a sudden, everything was fixed, ".... and please don't hesitate to call me on my direct line if you have any more problems..."

:annoyed
It shouldn't require that.

RM
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dratkinson
Posts: 4383
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Centennial CO

Re: Pay TV scams?

Post by dratkinson » Sun May 20, 2018 8:43 pm

Would OTA (over the air) TV work for you?

Go to tvfool.com, enter your zipcode (optional: street address and antenna height), and see what stations are available to you.



Disclosure. Being in a metropolitan area, rabbit ears get ~50 channels (all varieties). A rooftop antenna with rotor would get a few more, but is probably not worth the expense as the additional channels are major networks broadcast from another city---a duplication of local offerings.
d.r.a, not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.

littlebird
Posts: 1411
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:05 pm
Location: Valley of the Sun, AZ

Re: Pay TV scams?

Post by littlebird » Sun May 20, 2018 9:01 pm

dratkinson wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 8:43 pm
Would OTA (over the air) TV work for you?

Go to tvfool.com, enter your zipcode (optional: street address and antenna height), and see what stations are available to you.



Disclosure. Being in a metropolitan area, rabbit ears get ~50 channels (all varieties). A rooftop antenna with rotor would get a few more, but is probably not worth the expense as the additional channels are major networks broadcast from another city---a duplication of local offerings.
Been using OTA TV exclusively, although rarely, for 64 years. But hubby got accustomed to Cable news in assisted living home and there's nothing else for him to do in his condition.

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