AT&T’s DIRECTV has lost more than four million subscribers since the telco giant purchased the satcaster in 2015. (The TV service had 20.2 million at the time of the takeover, but now is around 16 million.)
In the last week, I have written two stories detailing some of the issues causing the defections, and laying out some possible solutions to curtailing the losses. The two articles have generated dozens of thousands of pageviews as well as nearly 60 comments from subscribers.
For many customers, particularly those who have subscribed for several years, AT&T’s stewardship of DIRECTV is a sore subject. Their comments reflect a longing for the pre-AT&T era when the satcaster’s executive team (General Motors, Hughes, News Corp., etc.) took great pride in running a satellite TV service. Now, they say, AT&T seems more interested in launching new streaming ventures (AT&T TV, HBO Max) rather than serving an audience that has demonstrated remarkable loyalty over the years.
I thought it would be interesting to print some of the comments posted at the end of the two articles to illustrate this dissatisfaction, and perhaps give AT&T’s executive team something to ponder:
“First thing AT&T HAS to DO is MOVED its Customer Service BACK to the USA.
It will NEVER get better with it’s HORRIBLE Overseas Service. And definitely consider SELLING the Company. I don’t believe they have their heart in TV and NEVER will.
Closing down Satellite service will really HURT Millions of Rural Customers. They can NOT count on internet TV with all it’s BUGS to be a success now.” — “Tom.”
“I totally agree with moving customer service back to the US. I live in the country. I don’t even have internet or a computer. At least when I had Dish if I call and said money was a little tight they would give me a credit for six months. AT&T won’t do anything to help their customers. My contract ends in May, will be moving back to Dish.” — “Kimberly.”
“We will never be able to depend on streaming. As soon as (AT&T) bought Directv, it went downhill. You used to be able to call with a problem and get a technician who quickly solved your problem, now you get someone, usually with a heavy accent, insisting on telling you a scripted answer. I’ve been a customer for over 20 years, I already know how to reset the receiver, etc. The last time I called I knew my receiver was broken, but it took about 40 minutes to FINALLY get transferred to a technician, 10 minutes later they agreed it was dead and set up the shipment of a replacement. Now I’m seeing messages that tv channels are going away. If this downhill slide continues I will have to jump to Dish.” — “Debbie.”
“I went that route. 24 yrs.with DIRECTV. I would of stayed if they offered me what they were offering new scribers. Plus, I couldn’t understand customer service. It will be two years at a better rate with cable. Then Antenna service here I come.” — “Frank.:
“AT&T ruined Directv. Plain and simple. Ruined customer service. Ruined calling and getting promotional discounts. Even paying the bill you aren’t sure if you are paying the phone bill or DirecTV. I have been a customer for 17 years. Was the best service out there. I have DVR’s in 3 different locations. That is the only reason I haven’t switched to Dish Network. AT&T GO AWAY and stay with phones and internet. You suck at TV.” — “Tom.”
“Great comments, customer since 1994 and can’t get customer service for my traveling antenna, at&t does suck.” — “Lauren.”
“They did ruin a very good service..(rumor) has it, it only acquired DRV was for their technology UI AT&T is mental. 16 year subscriber thinking of calling it quits since AT&T is clueless with Directv, too many issues to name on here… AT&T I hope you burn to the ground.” — “Nemesis UT.”
“AT&T stop playing games with your customers give top shelf service because customers are really everything! Do something about the weather interruptions, like free heaters or shields for snow. Choice packages and no passing calls around when customers call all for under a hundred dollars a month. Oh yeah stop the damn India customer service reps that nobody can understand.” — “Randy.”
“I have been a DirecTV customer over 20 years and AT&T longer. DirecTV was a great company until acquired by AT&T. Calling customer service was no problem whatsoever. Now you can barely understand what they are saying, but even worse is getting any kind of satisfaction from them. I have my wireless service with them, internet & satellite with AT&T. They recently talked me into combining 2 of them but in doing so they somehow screwed up my e-mail account: the one I have been using for over 10 years. I cannot get logged in because somehow they did away with it. And it was this e-mail account where I got my bill each month since I had went paperless. I stayed on the phone over an hour, talking to 4- 5 different departments but I cannot get my e-mail account back. And it is this account I use to log into my NFL Sunday Ticket. They screw up everything they touch. I really believe they are trying to up dissatisfaction with DirecTV so switching customers over to some AT&T TV service will be easier.” — “Dennis.”
“They should lower their price and include premium TV channels at low price. Current price with included TV channels not worth it unless you upgrade. But people don’t want that overpriced and then service will be interrupted for unknown reason. They offer me Direct TV with internet bundle 50MBPS internet and its F**** slow. They should just make it the lowest 200MBPS with the same low price they offer for the 50MBPS.
TBH I just wanna cancel this Direct TV and just have the internet. Internet somehow works okay at 50MBPS. But the Direct tv is useless with the channels included.” — “Marvin.”
“I just left Direct after 17 yrs. I loved it. I got several credits for referring new customers. But I knew trouble was coming the day they announced ATT bought them. Lies and more lies for months about changes they made. Customers are just not as stupid as they thought. So many things I loved about Direct went away. When I called it was “we don’t offer that anymore”. Finally I did something I thought I would NEVER DO I went back back to Comcast. Its OK but I wish who ever SOLD DirecTV would buy it back.” — “Gail.”
“Been with Directv for 24 years. What was once golden is now dog poop.” — “Stefan.”
“I agree with all the above complaints about Directv and AT&T. I’ve been a Directv customer for almost 10 years I’ve been there only for the NFL Sunday ticket. The price increases, the package and channel changes are happening more frequently. The NFL has said it’s taking away Directv from there strangle hold on us, I hope so. There basic package does not include ESPN or fox sports so even if you buy the expensive Sunday ticket you have to pay extra for Monday or Thursday night football. Don’t do it.” — “Dan.”
“Don’t do it. I got it at one price from them next month it went up 30 dollars Don’t trust them at all and because they want to become a streaming only company we don’t have half the channels we signed up for. oh they did raise their price 3 times just in last few months and customer service is horrendous.” — “Terry.”
It goes on like that, and on like that, and on like that.
In previous years, if I wrote an article somewhat critical of DIRECTV, I would get numerous responses saying I was being too tough on it. But those days are gone. Customer dissatisfaction with AT&T as the owner of DIRECTV is pervasive, and possibly, permanent.
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