(photo Destiny Calls by Neal Sanche)
Is there any negotiation more frustrating than the one you conduct on the telephone with people who won't give you their last names, have no "authority" to do or say anything that deviates from their script and who you are finally connected to only after enduring the "go ahead, try to choose the right numeral to fit your problem" automated phone system.
I'll include some of these conversations in the series on negotiating the purchase of the flat-screen T.V.
This post, however, is an emergency act of mercy for anyone who is upgrading their DirecTV non-HD DVR service to either Dish or DirecTV HD-DVR system.
Information Gathering Cut Short
After at least one full hour of searching online, I found this clear, easily understood, linked resource entitled My Dish Network vs Direct TV Experience. This advice page links to a side-by-side comparison of the HD-TV-DVR "deals" being offered by satellite providers here at the DigitalTVDojo Daily Deal Monitor. The "Deal Monitor" links to the "secret" web deals that you will not be offered on the telephone or the internet unless you find them.
But that's not all.
Gathering Information about the Dish Service
Preface: After the Dish representative dodged the following question four times, I gave her one last chance, telling her she would lose my potential business unless she answered it. She didn't. I called DirecTV for the second time that day.
The question: will you provide me with a 5 LND dish free with the HD service?
What the question means: I have no idea. My rocket scientist neighbor told me that's what I needed.
Back to DirecTV
If you, like us, are existing DirecTV customers, you cannot get the "deal" linked above online. If you sign in to your account (or create an existing user account) the only "deal" available to you is to pay $299 for a new HD DVR (which you understand you are leasing, not purchasing).
Here's who you have to call to get the same deal being offered to new customers: The Customer Retention Department.
How do you get there? Press 0 even though you're not given this option, which may not directly connect you to a human operator, but will lead you to one more quickly than any other means I tried.
How I Got to the Customer Retention Department
I spent a lot of time appealing to DirecTV's "higher value" of customer service and its interest in retaining customers. I said the words "Dish" alot. I said, you're not a monopoly and you have the power to lose a customer today. That sort of thing.
But all this effort bought me was access to the Holy Customer Retention Department.
So don't bother negotiating your way there. Just ask to be directly connected.
The Deal the Customer Retention Department Will Give the Existing Customer
(please let me know if you do better -- Thad Employee # U2179 represented to me "as a matter of fact" that this was absoutely the best deal any existing customer could get on an HD-TV DVR upgrade. I'm hoping no one proves to me that Thad misrepresented the available deals because I'd like to continue to believe that when directly asked this question, my negotiating partner will either say -- I cannot guarantee that -- or tell me the truth. I'll provide a link for misrepresentations during negotiations and negotiation ethics later).
Here it is: DirecTV will:
- provide you with an HD-DVR for $199
- it will install the needed 5 LNB dish
- though the cost of HD service is an additional $9.99/month, DirecTV will waive that fee for the first year ("that's a $120 value" says Thad)
- free installation
- free handling and shipping
That's it. Happy shopping and thanks to all the selfless TV service bloggers who helped along the way.