Fuck DirecTV.

The directv.com web site is, without a doubt, the single most incompetent web site I have had the mispleasure of being forced to use in the last 10 years. (I was going to say 15, but that might not be strictly true. Let's say 12.5.)

Dear DirecTV: FIRE YOUR WEB SITE STAFF.

Oh wait, you must have ALREADY DONE THAT. There's no other possible explanation for how it could possibly be this bad. Even BANKS do a better job than this. They're not exactly known for being forward thinking and cutting edge.

If there was ever something that more clearly said, "cancel your service and just torrent everything from now on", it is the 30 minutes I just wasted trying to change my service to something that costs a few bucks less a month by leaving out channels that I never watch and never wanted in the first place!

Every time I click a link, it makes me log in again. The first three times it did that, it also tried to make me fill out a pointless "security question", before finally insisting on it on the third try. SPOILER ALERT: for all intents and purposes, my first pet was named "Foo". There, now you all know.

Every time I click "Select" on the "packages" page, it waits FIVE MINUTES before telling me "Sorry, you package could not be changed, call customer service." And before you downgrade your package to one that doesn't include them, it won't even tell you how much per month they charge to add HBO, etc. back. So it's not even clear whether downgrading to omit the 50 to 100 channels that I don't want will save me anything. (That part I assume is by design. Hostile, customer-hating design.)

YOU ARE BUFFOONS! Your industry is dying and it is your own god damned fault.

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32 Responses:

  1. elevatordown says:

    I've had similar issues with my landline provider's website. I truly believe they've purposely made it inconvenient or even impossible to downgrade services or remove features using the website. Probably because they have metrics showing people procrastinate on actually running through the customer service gauntlet over the phone and it earns them a couple more billing cycles for stuff the customer doesn't want.

    • luserspaz says:

      I'm pretty sure you're right. Basically any utility with recurring billing seems to have figured this out. No easy way to do anything on the internet, multiple layers of phone tree hell, and long wait times to speak to anyone on the phone.

      • jered says:

        What they said. RCN doesn't even pretend to let you make any changes online.

        Not only that, but in 2006 they stopped accepting credit cards. Really. If you had a card on file you were grandfathered in rather than having to switch to ACH, but every time your card expires (or has the number stolen, which seems more frequent for me), you have to argue with phone staff about it.

  2. cdavies says:

    What a coincidence. Foo is also my mother's maiden name.

  3. jayp39 says:

    Cox is the same way. They must have all fired the same web staff.

  4. mhoye says:

    I don't know why you even bother. Right now, today, the only sane and civilized way to watch tv is bittorrent (miro) -> local share -> HD player box (WDTV, popcorn hour, etc.) -> screen.

    Good players have a real, in-one-hand remote control and civilized if not TiVo UIs and are trivially set up. The only other option that's less of a bitch to set up is "watch no tv." Anything that touches a cableco or telco directly is going to be a shitty experience.

    • fantasygoat says:

      Well, let's be honest and say torrents aren't as hard as they used to be, but there's no way grandma is going to get it working. You really need to be a nerd to get it to work, whereas DirecTV, TiVo etc. are mostly grandma-level tech.

      Although, I gave my mother a TiVo for her birthday a few years ago and explained time shifting and season passes to her, but I found she was just using the better guide to watch live TV. She just couldn't understand the concept of letting it record things while you watch something else.

      But at least she could use the guide!

      • mhoye says:

        Sure, but I'm not talking to Jamie's grandmother here. I've heard that he knows enough about computers to get by.

    • twiin says:

      Replace 'bittorrent' with 'usenet' and I'm with you.

    • jwz says:

      I bother because I don't want to have to sysadmin my god damned television.

      • mhoye says:

        That's the deal. You sysadmin your mail server for the same reason: the alternative is handing it over to incompetents.

  5. nzchrisb says:

    You can downgrade online! Wow, try doing that with comcast.

    • drkscrtlv says:

      yeah, i think comcast's site(s; comcast.net does not interface with comcast.com) blows harder than directv's.

    • nothings says:

      Yeah, this is more fodder for elevatordown's comment above: comcast lets you make the initial service purchase/contract over the internet -- if you're not currently a customer you can become one over the internet -- but doesn't let you make any changes with the internet after that. It's hard to imagine that's not just coldly calculated.

  6. ruineraz says:

    Site works for me. Using IE 6.0. Could not reproduce. Ticket Closed.

  7. I'd agree with you, but Godaddy holds that crown for me. That site is an absolute clusterfuck.

  8. pixel_juice says:

    I want this:

    Pick 10 channels for $9.99, 20 channels for $17.99, 30 channels for $24.99, 50 channels for $39.99 or 100 channels for $79.99 per month. Any channels. In HD. With a DVR.

    But then I'm crazy I guess.

  9. mattyj2001 says:

    Last month I realized that I was paying 99 bucks a month for TV. Funny how it all adds up and you don't notice when you have auto pay.

    Not only could I see how much I would save by cutting out a few non-essential channels and their attached packages, I was able to do the downgrade online in 10 seconds. Then a fuckin' CREDIT shows up in my next invoice. Are you kidding me? I about shit myself.

    Now I'm happily cruising along at $59 a month with the essential HD channels and all the hockey I could want to watch.

    I ditched DirecTV for Dish years ago mainly because of DirecTV's incredibly crappy HD-DVR. Glad to see that they still suck.

  10. taffer says:

    Rogers cable in Canada had a similar self-servicing website. Actually, I'm pretty sure they still have it, but I've dropped everything I formerly had with them.

  11. nathanrsfba says:

    This sort of bullshit is the reason I still haven't gotten cable (or satellite) TV. Nevermind that there's hardly anything on TV I want to watch, I've been considering getting it anyway. The reason I haven't is because I don't want to have to deal with a bunch of retards.