Corporate Con Games

As our play, One Flew over the Cuckooʼs Nest* at The Grand Opera House in Dubuque, draws very close indeed — opening night is this coming Friday —, my life headed in a very distracting direction, for no good reason except corporate greed and intentional defrauding of customers (like me).

First about ten days back, FedEx delivered an empty box. Really, a box containing nothing but air, two shock-absorbent layers and a sheet of paper (oh, yes, and a strip of packing tape that could not be separated from the backing paper). The sheet of paper instructed us on how to package our DVR receiver(s) to return them to DirecTV.

What?!! No explanations, no cover letter, no nothing but the formulaic instruction sheet (which also mentioned how to include the remote controls in the separate plastic bag — we had no plastic bag enclosed).

Besides being typical of DirecTV (I would call them by the name by which I have come to address these sordid corporate evildoers, but it isnʼt sufficiently sanitary for these confines), this latest affront only caps a miserable summer of incorrect and devious misbilling, followed by lengthy and angry phone calls to DirecTV customer service centers (an ultimate misnomer) around the globe — all precipitated by a mandatory “upgrade” of our receivers in order to maintain reception of our local channels. Each and every month since June, I have been forced to find (not an easy task on the DirecTV website) and call the customer service number to complain, forcibly and sometimes very angrily, about what they have done to our bill following the receiver-replacement incident.

Among the bookkeeping wrongs inflicted upon us (all of which I am sure some elevated corporate coward believed we would, accidentally in our busy lives, ignore and thereby considerably overpay), was a third receiver we did not have, request nor use. Month after month.

And now an empty box to return one or more receivers. Unexplained in any way whatsoever — no cover letter, no other communication by mail, no phone call. Utterly mysterious…

Until Janet, cleaning thoroughly around the house, discovered an otherwise equally mysterious object secreted away behind our basement TV stand — a DirecTV receiver, probably the old one from down there that the installer replaced with the required new device and then forgot to take away with him.

And one little mystery was clarified (maybe, two). I concluded that… we were to return the old receiver that the negligent (but very nice and otherwise capable) installer had accidentally left behind, unbeknownst to us.

So I am doing. The receiver is boxed up according to instructions and ready to go into the mail. However, unlike the wickedly lazy and self-indulgent corporate doo-dahs who sent the box out to us, I am enclosing a cover letter. It appears below.

Dear DirecTV,

When this mystery package arrived, without benefit of explanation of anything, I was bemused, to say the very least. However, I figured out over the period of a week, that what your corporation must have in mind was sending back one of our receivers (for some unknown reason). Just about the time I was preparing to make yet another annoyed, angry phone call to your poor customer-support personnel (couldnʼt the rampant and criminal greed of the company just be reduced enough to bill accurately and honestly? Please), to demand (with difficulty, as always) some kind of coherent explanation about this terrible injustice, my wife, cleaning thoroughly by moving our television cabinet out of its accustomed place for the first time since June, discovered that your technician, when installing the company-required “upgrade,” that has caused so much grief for us and so many irate calls to your customer service centers around the globe, had left the original receiver sitting behind the cabinet, unknown to us.

In an instant of realization, I figured out the mystery of the incorrect “third receiver” charges we may still be owed money for, as well as the conundrum of this unexplained package to return a receiver (which a letter of explanation on your part, not done, could have clarified easily — how typical of DirecTV not to do the necessary and obvious step to attempt to keep customers marginally satisfied).

Next time, try explaining whatʼs going on. And I continue to figure that our records with your scheming corporation reflect our belief that DirecTV operates illegitimately and in violation of state and federal laws regulating commercial deception, dissimulation and corporate swindles of all kinds.

Enclosed is the receiver your technician unaccountably (and obviously, incorrectly) left without notification to us in our home. Thank you, DirecTV, for pretty much nothing.

Sincerely and with immense, continuing dissatisfaction,

John Randolph Burrow 

Although I am positive that I will be on the phone yet again in October, attempting yet again to correct the companyʼs deliberate mismanagement of our bill, perhaps the letter might do some good. Unless the flunky at the receiver storage facility who opens our package merely pitches my missive in the nearest garbage can, which is quite likely, I guess.**

…Now on to CenturyLink, the new antagonist on phone service and internet nonprovision. Having bought out Qwest a while back, they have deliberately used the opportunity of this corporate shuffling to pretend a “mistake” as they shucked us twice for the past monthʼs bill, once as CenturyLink and once as Qwest, even though we only recived a single bill from CenturyLink.

Furthermore, the connection failures of that worthless ISP (whether you call it Qwest or CenturyLink) remain unchanged since whenever I last complained on that issue. (I have been keeping a daily record of the repeated and dire interruptions of service, too.)

And some daft fools (and corporate shills in Congress) wonder if corporations in America need regulation. Absolutely and thoroughly! These companies are proving with every swindling, fraudulent move they make the truth of my thesis that capitalism is merely organized crime writ large…

* You have to wonder why the only link about the show is still under “Auditions” and nowhere else…

** Thus my “publication” of the letter here. (And I finally take the time to present a post again.)

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

5 thoughts on “Corporate Con Games

  1. Sorry John, but I like DirecTV. It is so much better than our cable or Mediacom. It must be a Republican vs Democrat thing. Maybe they know your leftist leanings and secretly trying to drive you crazy. Speaking of which, I hope all is well with Cuckoo’s Nest. Break a leg or what ever you wish the director with out bringing down bad luck upon the performance.

    • Dave, we do acknowledge that nearly anything is better than Mediacom cable. Nonetheless, no company should be allowed to con, swindle or defraud its customers the way the dastards at DirecTV (gotta love what alliteration can do for you sometimes!) seem to feel is permissible business practice (at least with us).

      By the way, did you folks have to “upgrade” recently to maintain your local channel reception? Except for continuous (and unacceptably explained) excessive price-hikes, we were relatively (not quite) satisfied with DirecTV until that event…

  2. Nope, no upgrades for us. Maybe because you live so far north. Interference with the Northern Lights? Don’t switch to Dish. They go out if a cloud passes overhead.

  3. Hello John, this is B with the CenturyLink Help Team. I’m sorry you’ve been having issues with your services, but I’ll be happy to help out. If you would like us to further asssit, e-mail us at TalkToUs@CenturyLink.com, and we’ll be happy to help.

    Thanks John,

    B
    CenturyLink Help Team

    • Thanks for noticing the blog post, B. The excess draw on my account was refunded. Now I am just waiting to see what happens in October… (and hoping I donʼt continue to suffer five or eight internet connection failures a day; better lately).

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