If you install satellite TV on boats, you need to know about fraud and misclassification. Solid Signal shares this important information with marine electronics installers.
Newsflash: Using residential DIRECTV receivers on commercial boats is illegal! The satellite TV provider considers this fraud and/or misclassification. Your clients can be fined and even incarcerated if they’re caught doing this. And they will be caught. As a marine electronics installer, you have to understand fraud and misclassification in order to help your customers avoid it. It all starts with knowing the differences between commercial and residential accounts. Signal Connect is here to help by sharing these valuable marine satellite TV installation tips.
What is Satellite TV Fraud and Misclassification?
In marine installations, AT&T defines fraud as the use of residential satellite TV equipment in commercial vessels and craft. Typically, this happens when commercial boating companies let workers connect their home satellite receivers to the vessel’s dome. This defrauds AT&T and its content providers of the money earned from commercial accounts. Some other examples of fraud include misrepresenting a billing address, credit, or personal info to get DIRECTV service. Fraud is a federal offense that punishes wrongdoers with heavy fines and sometimes even jail time.
Misclassification is a specific type of fraud encountered in marine satellite installations. This term describes instances when someone uses a home satellite receiver on a commercial boat that they own while their family continues to watch DIRECTV at home. People committing acts of misclassification will be caught. Since DIRECTV joined the AT&T family, the corporation’s attorneys have been cracking down on those who violates the company’s installation agreements. Like fraud, misclassification is a federal offense that comes with heavy fines and even imprisonment.
DIRECTV: Commercial vs. Residential Accounts
Avoiding fraud and misclassification is simply a matter of understanding the difference between commercial and residential accounts. At its most basic, commercial accounts are for businesses while home satellite TV installations are for residential viewing. Things can get complicated with marine installations, though. For example, which account do you use for someone who owns their boat through an LLC and takes it out on paid charters as well as personal use? Answer: Since this boat is a business, the installation must be set up as a commercial DIRECTV account.
This handy guide helps marine installers understand the different approaches to marine satellite TV installations:
If your customer’s boat is chartered (yachts) or used as a business (service vessels), then DIRECTV must be set up as a commercial account.
If your customer only uses their boat for personal leisure, and it’s not owned as an LLC or corporation, then it’s considered a residential satellite TV account.
Recommending Commercial Satellite TV Accounts
As a marine satellite installation technician, you must warn your clients about fraud and misclassification. They need to know that they could get into trouble if they use a residential DIRECTV receiver on a commercial yacht, tugboat, or trawler. If you don’t tell your client and they get caught – and they will get caught – they’ll be angry with you for not warning them.
When installing commercial DIRECTV on boats, you should advise your customers to take these steps:
Open up a secondary account. This lets your client have the same type of receiver in each cabin of their boat. If they own a fleet, it also allows for multiple receivers on each vessel.
The company can receive billing separate from their “house” account. This lets each employee choose different programming than the main company account. The commercial maritime company also has the ability to shut off DIRECTV service for six months out of the year if needed. This makes a commercial DIRECTV account an option for maritime companies with a seasonal business model.
DIRECTV sets up separate billing for each employee account. The company has the choice to have these bills sent to the office or accounts payable.
Signal Connect is a Marine Installer’s Ally
When it comes to residential and commercial DIRECTV accounts, let Signal Connect be your guide. As a DIRECTV authorized dealer, we’re the bridge between you, your client, and their satellite TV provider. Our representatives are happy answer any questions you have about satellite TV classification. Here is another benefit we provide installers – we can quickly activate your clients’ satellite TV accounts. We offer this service free to you. If you need help, just give us a call at 866.726.4182.