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