26 May 2009

An Exercise in Futility

Here is a recent e-mail comment I sent to DirecTV after switching from their Choice XTra programming to the Choice package to reduce expenses, followed by "Jennifer's" response, which makes me wonder if she comprehended my complaint at all:

My comment:

Customer (dminmem) - 05/25/2009 08:56 AM
The main reason I switched to DirecTV many years ago was to get some relief from the cable's monopoly on my entertainment options. Currently, I feel like DirecTV has become another inflexible version of cable.

I don't understand the limitations of your programming package options. Why must I receive channels I don't want, need or watch? Conversely, why are others that I do want available only through excessively priced upgrades? DirecTV is capable of providing more individually tailored options, but does not.

Today, I changed my programming, for the second time this year, in order to curb expenses. DirecTV rates have continuously, steadily increased without any added benefit. Many channels I like to watch, including Logo and National Geographic channels, are no longer part of my lineup and I find this disappointing.

DirecTV response:

Programming Limitations

Discussion Thread
Response (Jennifer A. - 100216511) - 05/25/2009 09:41 AM

Dear (dminmem),

Thanks for writing. You’ve been with us since 2000 and we recognize you as a valued and loyal customer. We want you to know we appreciate it.

I understand that wish to have an option to choose the channels you frequently watch to be included with your package instead of upgrading. Kindly be advised that our programming packages are designed to give you the best selection of channels for the money and are currently not customizable. Also, we also provide a wide variety of programming in order to appeal to the broadest audience possible. We understand that not everyone will like each program. However, our ongoing research tells us that most customers like being able to choose from so many viewing options.

In addition, please know that it's never an easy decision to raise prices, but we feel it is necessary due to the increasing costs we pay to carry the channels you see. Despite rising programming costs over the years, we've managed to keep our prices very competitive while still offering the best programming options.

Even with new pricing, the cost of DIRECTV service continues to be a better value than our competitors. While our prices have changed we have invested in new programming and innovative services in order to provide you the best possible entertainment experience. We will continue to invest in the quality of your viewing experience by bringing you more new features and more new programming in 2009.

Nevertheless, though we currently do not have that option yet, I have forwarded your suggestion to DIRECTV management. We are always on the look-out for ways to improve customer experience. We appreciate it when we receive feedback and we do take them seriously.

Moving on, kindly be informed that Logo and National Geographic channels are included in our CHOICE XTRA package or above. By upgrading your current base package back to CHOICE XTRA or upgrading to PREMIER, you'll get more than 30 channels that are not available in CHOICE, including the Biography Channel, History International and four Discovery Channels. Furthermore, you'll also gain access to Great American Country (GAC), Do It Yourself Network (DIY), VH1 Classic, PBS Kids, Boomerang, the FOX Movie Channel, History International, the Military Channel, the Nicktoons Network, The Science Channel, Style as well as almost 20 extra XM Satellite Radio music channels.

For complete programming and packaging information, please visit

We appreciate your patience and understanding.


Jennifer A.
Employee ID 100216511
DIRECTV Customer Service

Gee, thanks, Jennifer. Nice to know you've "got my back." Perhaps I'll shut the service off altogether.

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