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Earlier this month, a neighbor gave me a small flyer advertising “150 channels. $29.99 per month.”  The amount was crossed off and $24.99 was written in.

No company name was on the home-made flyer, just the name Jeffrey – – – – – – and a local phone number.

My apartment complex has outlawed satellite dishes in the past, but exceptions were being made if the dishes could be installed on our small (6′ x 8′) patios.  Four-plexes on the north side of the parking lot were lucky, since they had a clear shot at the satellite.  My apartment faces a bunch of trees.

DishJeffrey assured me dishes could be installed OFF the patio as long as they did not interfere with the lawnmowers.  If I agreed, a dish would be installed SOMEWHERE that would give me access (I swear he said “flower bed.”)

After a long face-to-face, I agreed to the absolute minimum package, with discounts for referrals and other credits.  We waggled it down to $19.99 for the first 10 months.

Only a couple of days went by, and I had buyers remorse.  All those channels would be far more than I could ever watch – no DVR in a budget package.  Since Social Security is my only income, I decided I just couldn’t afford the contract AFTER the 10 months.  The fee would then go up to $29.99 per month.  So I called Jeffrey to cancel.

January 14 – left a message on Jeffrey’s  phone to cancel.

January 17 – installer called.  I told him I had cancelled.  NO cable or “black box” was ever been installed.

January 20 – the property manager removed the dish.  The dish that would have served my four-plex had been placed OVER the fence – on a neighbor’s property!  The cable from the dish to my building was strung up in the trees!

January 21 – after getting two letters from DIRECTV setting up my account, I left ANOTHER message on Jeffrey’s phone.
That night, one of our son’s told me of a nightmare he had with Comcast.  His cable was never installed properly, yet he was billed.  He cancelled and was billed for a second month – over $200.  He had a devil of a time getting it straightened out.

January 22 – still worried I was going to be charged, I searched the two letters and FINALLY found a number to call at DIRECTV.
Camilla told me I had to call a different phone number to cancel – my account was still active.
The number she gave me did not sound like a company phone.  Just your standard “leave a message” routine.
I left a message, then called Jeffrey one more time to beg for a confirmation my account was cancelled.  Of course he didn’t answer, so I left a message.
Seven minutes later, Miro called me to assure me he just cancelled my account.  Before we hung up, I asked him for the name of the company (remember, the small flyer did NOT have a company name).  He told me SkyLink.

The only reference Google gave me for Skylink was Slovakia and the Czech Republic!
MtelJust to make sure I was covered, I searched my cellphone and looked up Miro’s phone number.  It looked odd: 359-882-xxxxxx.  Not 10 digits, but 12!

So, I looked up the prefix.  Miro called me from a cellphone based in . . . . . BULGARIA!!!!  His phone company is Mtel.
Bulgaria!

Look how many red flags went up in this story.  Hopefully this will help others.

THE END?

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