One of the concerns many have when considering satellite TV is whether they will have any customer service or technical problems once service is installed. It is of course a good idea to review any product or service before purchasing, and DIRECTV satellite falls into the category of being a large purchase when you consider that they require a two year contract for new customers. In this article, we will consider some of the DIRECTV ratings that have been published, and how that fits into your purchasing decision.
For year, cable television companies like Comcast and Time Warner have suffered because of their poor customer service record. When satellite TV came along, many jumped at the chance to dump the cable company no matter the price. Of course, the lower prices offered by DIRECTV and Dish Networkwere an added advantage when compared to cable. Over the past decade, both satellite providers have solidified their position in the pay television market by offering low prices and better service than big cable.
The main DIRECTV ratings we will look at here come from the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, or ACSI. This group has put together satellite TV ratings for the past ten years, and also evaluates the major cable TV companies like Comcast, Cox Communications, and Time Warner cable. There are also ratings out there from JD Power and Consumer Reports, so if getting excellent service is at the top of your list you may want to evaluate these other surveys as well.
The ACSI rates companies on a scale from 0 to 100, and for most cable or satellite providers a score in the mid-70’s is considered excellent. The overall score for all cable and satellite companies for 2009 was a 63, so that gives you an idea of where DIRECTV rates. For 2009, DIRECTV scored a 71, which was a three point increase over their 2008 rating. Dish Network scored a 64, which was their lowest rating in more than five years.
One thing that ASCI comments on that could affect DIRECTV’s score is their relationship with telecom providers. DIRECTV has resale agreements in place with the big three telcos in America – Verizon, AT&T, and Qwest. While Verizon and AT&T offer their own video service in many areas, they offer satellite TV service to their customers as the secondary option. Qwest does not have their own cable TV product so they only offer DIRECTV as an option. Because these telecom companies offer combined billing and customer service for DIRECTV in many cases, customer satisfaction for DIRECTV may be somewhat based on the service provided by these partners. If so, they seem to be doing a fairly good job in keeping customers happy.
Among the other providers, the big cable companies seem to have the lowest ratings among consumers. The top two cable companies in terms of size – Comcast and Time Warner cable, both scored a 59 in the latest survey. Cox cable had the highest cable rating with a 66, while Charter cable came in with a dismal rating of 51.
While DIRECTVtopped the survey, many complaints have flooded the Better Business Bureau, or BBB – and other consumer groups over some practices. Mainly these complaints have centered around the cancellation policy DIRECTV enforces. When you are a new customer, be aware you are agreeing to a two year contract with DIRECTV, and there is a fairly hefty cancellation fee if you stop service early. Also be aware that the HD DVRand DIRECTV receivers are considered leased equipment, and must be returned once you drop service. Former customers of DIRECTV have reported getting billed for these devices when they aren’t returned in a timely fashion, so sending them back right away can same you from some headaches.