Back in November of last year, I canceled Dish Network. I decided I wanted to try cord cutting. A cord cutter is a person who doesn’t have a cable or satellite TV subscription and instead gets their TV directly off the Internet or with an over-the-air TV antenna. I wanted to be that type of person. At least that’s what I thought.
As it turned out, the cord cutting lifestyle wasn’t for me. Last week, I called Dish Network and signed up with a new two-year contract.
Watching live sports
The biggest problem I had with cutting the cord was watching live TV. I paid $10 a month for CBS All Access. Along with being able to watch old episodes of Big Brother, It gave me live access to CBS WUSA 9 out of Washington DC unless whatever I was watching was also being watched by more than 12 people. If what I wanted to watch was something popular, for example, an NFL playoff game, my streaming experience was constantly interrupted with an annoying “Loading, please wait” message.
It wasn’t my Internet connection. CBS All Access was being overloaded with subscribers.
When you don’t have a cable or satellite TV subscription, you cannot count on watching anything. You can’t look forward to watching a live football game. That posed a giant problem for me because I like to look forward to things.
I also didn’t realize how much I was addicted to the ability to record things with a DVR. With cord cutting, DVR functionality is almost impossible. Sony’s PlayStation Vue streaming service supposedly has the ability to DVR things, but I didn’t have a PayStation Vue account, so I can’t confirm that.
That’s another thing about cord cutting: you cannot trust any of the streaming providers to provide what they promise. Just because a streaming provider says something on their website, it doesn’t mean it’s true. For example, AT&T’s DirecTv Now.
DirecTv Now sucks harder than a car wash vacuum
DirecTv Now is an abomination. It doesn’t work. Their customer service is terrible. You can’t use a Roku streaming device with DirecTv Now. They promise access to local channels, but depending on where you live, that promise may or may not be true. If they decide you aren’t geographically close enough to any of your traditional local channels, then they don’t let you watch them even though you pay the same amount as everyone else.
DirecTv Now was constantly throwing errors. I canceled it on day five of my 7-day free trial. At least I thought I did.
When I signed up for DirecTv Now, I signed up for the three-month plan. It came with a free Apple TV. DirecTv Now told me in an email that they would send me the Apple TV in two to three weeks. I assumed this delay was because of the 7-day free trial. It was not.
As it turned out, when you sign up for a three-month plan, you don’t get the promised 7-day trial. Not really. Instead of allowing you to try the service free for seven days and then charging your credit card, they charge your credit card immediately.
I contacted DirecTv Now support on December 27 through their chat app, the day after I canceled my free trial. I explained that I canceled five days into my free 7-day free trial. The support agent told me that because I pre-paid for three months, the free trial was added to the backend of my three months. I didn’t know I pre-paid.
They went on to say that I was getting a “free” Apple TV. I told them I didn’t want the Apple TV. I told them not to send me the Apple TV. I closed out the chat with telling them that if they don’t close my account immediately and return the funds they took from my credit card, I would be forced to file a chargeback.
The following day, I filed the chargeback.
A few days later, I received the Apple TV. I was first told they were gong to send it in two to three weeks. I looked at the shipping label to see when it was shipped.
It was shipped the day after I canceled my account. It was shipped the same day I had the online conversation with the DirecTv Now support agent telling them not to ship me the Apple TV device.
I didn’t open the Apple TV from its shipping box. My hope is that I can send it back after the chargeback I filed has been fully resolved. Worst case scenario is that my credit card company rules in AT&T’s favor and I’m out the cost of the three months of DirecTv Now, a service I am not using. I could then sell the Apple TV on eBay. I don’t know how much I would be able to get because I don’t even know what model of Apple TV it is.
Even if my credit card company doesn’t rule in my favor, at least AT&T has to pay for the chargeback investigation. Considering how many people are dissatisfied with the service, I think eventually a state Attorney General somewhere will investigate AT&T for the fraud they are perpetrating on its citizens. Once one or two states get involved, more will follow.
I’m really happy with Dish Network. They now have a much better receiver, the Hopper 3. It’s a work of art. The remote control has been simplified. The entire viewing experience has been improved. Even though cutting the cord turned out to be a mistake for me, at least now I know.