Independent Incompetence

Before I go any further, I need to point out that the jerk-offs who come out to setup DirecTV are not employees of DirecTV. They are independent contractors who work for themselves. Hence, the above title.

Notice the carefully placed sticker.

If DirecTV’s business model depended on the quality of work of their installers, they would not exist. Luckily, their service is pretty good once you are up and running. I’m happy now that everything is over.

What started off as a happy move from Comcast turned into a sloppy mess. I put off writing this article because I got so pissed every time I sat down to transcribe my notes and crop pictures. Argh, even after all this time my blood pressure is rising. This install originally happened in December of 2010.

Online Registration Woes

I signed up for DirecTV on their website as it offered the best deal. After completing checkout, I was prompted to choose an installation date. There is a bug in this part of their site. If you look at the calendar to select a date, then close the window (to check with your wife on the date…), when you open the calendar again, the list of available installs moves to the next month. I.e., I could select December dates the first time. Next time, I could only select January dates. The third time, I could only select February dates! As the original closest install date was still a week away, I hopped on the phone and was able to easily setup an appointment without even talking to anyone. That was actually very slick. Way to recover DirecTV!

Did It Save?

I choose the very first appointment of the week. I figured that if your appointment was at 8:00 AM on Monday, there would be no appointments before you that could delay the installer’s arrival.

I was wrong of course.

While talking, he pauses, rocks to his side and farts. He just DROPPED ASS in front of a CLIENT! But to his credit, he did say excuse me.

At 9:30 AM I started to worry, let me see what the website says about my appointment. Well, that’s interesting, the website has no record of any install appointment. In fact, it is asking me to schedule one! Freaking out, I call DirecTV and the representative lets me know that the installation is, indeed, scheduled and that someone will be coming out today between 8 AM and 12 PM.

But none of this really matters when you compare installation scheduling woes with the actual installers who come visit your house.

Highlights of the Install

1.  When the installers finally arrived, the weren’t wearing uniforms. They didn’t explain who they were and there was no explanation or apology on why they were late. They arrived at 1:30 PM! The appointment was from 8 AM – 12 PM.

2.  The SD receiver they installed was refurbished and didn’t work.

3.  When swapping out receivers, the installer was using existing video cables and not leaving the new ones. What, was he selling them on eBay after an install?

4.  The installer lost the screws for one wall plate after having to borrow my screw driver to do the wall plates.

5.  My A/V equipment was all professionally installed with keystone wall plates and combined data/video/audio jacks. The installer popped out my wallplates with the keystone jacks and just ran the cable through the hole.

6.  The installers were extremely overweight. That wouldn’t bother me, except that they exceeded the weight limit of my attic ladder and took frequent breaks to go out and stand around at their van. I assume they were taking a cigarette break, but they didn’t smell of smoke when they came back in. So maybe they were just resting. Fine. Except that they didn’t finish their job on time.

7.  Any physical alterations of the house were never communicated or asked if it was okay. Suddenly they are just drilling wherever they feel like. It didn’t matter if there was already an established pathway for cabling.

8.  They ask to borrow a step stool, I don’t have one. All I have is a 7 foot ladder. “Well, all I have is a 16 foot ladder. Can I use this chair?”. Sigh.

9.  At 5:40 PM, almost 6 hours after their scheduled completion time and there is no word from them on what is happening. Are they going to finish today?

10.  At 6 PM, they start working on getting the receivers up and running and putting out a picture. We are all in the living room, myself, the two installers, my wife and two kids. He is explaining to me the required “power inserter.” While talking, he pauses, rocks to his side and farts. He just DROPPED ASS in front of the CLIENT! To his credit, he did say excuse me.

11.  The receivers were up and running and then suddenly their van is pulling out of the driveway. They just left as if they were done, but said nothing to me about the job being finished or not. That was at 6:40 PM.

The worst part of all of this is that I felt violated and DirecTV didn’t care. I called them up and filed a complaint the day after everything happened. What was their response? “Your complaint has been filed. We are sorry.” Nothing else. I had invested a lot of time and money into having things exactly right. These guys came in and shit (or sharted) on everything.

Photos

This should explain it all.

Here are some photos I took of the install. For some, there is a before and after shot. An hour into the install, I realized these guys are buffoons and I should take some comparison photos.

The picture to the right should explain it all. How hard is it to put a sticker on that lines up better than this? I could do a better job with my eyes closed.

Exterior

They didn't bother sealing the giant hole they drilled through the exterior wall.

Their latter knocked out a big chunk of wood. Notice the elite cable routing.

More great cable routing. Nothing securing the cable, tons of excess.

Interior

The following are before and after shots of my data/telecomm “rack” and cabling runs.

Before

 

After


Notice how everything is very well organized.
 

Notice the general mess of things. SPLAT.


Clean.
 

Not Clean: "Just stuff that extra cable back up there!"


Orderly.

 


Not Orderly. Notice the hanging cable in front of the shelf.



Everything in its place.

 


“And let’s just hang that right here…”


The first and last photos really get to me. Like, are you kidding me? "Just stuff that extra cable back up there!"

Receiver Installs

This is how the wall plates looked before the install. The piece to note is the bottom, smaller wall plate with the RF/Cable jack sticking out.

The original main TV install.

These are the after shots. What a mess.

All the bunched up black wire is from the power inserter cabling they just threw back there.

Notice the where the cable jack originally was, there is now a cable just passing through. They just punched out the keystone and ran a wire through.

The faceplate is missing a screw and the mounting bracket was damaged making it very loose to the touch.

Umm, what happened to the screws?

The downstairs faceplate wasn't even put back on. Keystone jack was punched through again.

To add insult to injury, the installers felt the need to turn off my furnace (A switch mounted to the side of the furnace). This was in December and we didn’t notice until the house dropped to 64 degrees.

It's 64 F in here?

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Discussion

  1. Undisclosed says:

    I work for directv as an install tech. I personally would like to appologize for how everything was done in your home. I hope your service with us was better then your installation. I know personally there are many techs out there that go above and beyond on every service call or upgrade, or install. Sadly it didn’t happen for you and again I appologize…..

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