• DIRECTV in apartments -- is it true that you have to call someone special?



    DIRECTV in apartments. It used to be near impossible, with complexes denying access to rooftops, putting rules in place to stop installers from drilling, and 2-year contracts that just didn't work for renters.

    The good news is that it's gotten a lot easier. DIRECTV's new apartment complex programs are designed for finicky apartment managers, with a single dish serving the entire building in a way that minimizes visible wires. There are also programs where the equipment stays with the apartment, rather than going with the tenant, so it's ready for the next tenant who can activate it with a phone call.

    That's all good, but in some cases it means that one DIRECTV dealer has exclusive control of the complex. If you think about it, it makes sense -- the dealer knows where all the wiring is and can keep detailed records that make the system work better.

    But, it does mean this -- if your apartment manager says you have to call a special number, you have to call a special number. That means no calls to 1-800-DIRECTV or to Solid Signal for routine changes to your account, and all activations have to be done through that dealer.

    Yeah, I know, it's a drag.

    But I also understand why. Hopefully the complex's DIRECTV dealer is responsive and will be willing to help you with building the kind of DIRECTV system you want. Chances are, the dealer has bought from us at one time or another and will work with you if you choose to get your accessories from us.

    Because, honestly, there's no way around it. Calling us or calling 1-800-DIRECTV, there will be a flag on the account when we try to make a change saying that the account is protected and assigned to another dealer. We'll end up just sending you back to them. I know that seems unfair if you're not happy with that dealer, but on the other hand if the dealer is doing his job, it rewards him with a protected territory and peace of mind knowing that other dealers are not rewiring things without his knowledge.

    If you are in an apartment and you want DIRECTV, talk to the apartment manager. Some managers are ok with everyone having a dish on the patio, others have a contract with a dealer for a central dish, and others don't allow it at all. It may not seem fair, but the apartment complex is owned by someone who gets to make his own decisions on how to proceed.

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