As they used to say on old TV shows, the following story is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
A while back, I got an urgent message from a customer. It was long after our offices in Novi, Michigan had closed for the day. He said:
Help! I tried to call DIRECTV to activate my receiver and I was told that I couldn’t because it belonged to someone else! What are you people trying to pull?
First let’s flash forward to the end of the story, where the customer was 100% satisfied by calling Solid Signal at 877-312-4547 first thing in the morning.
Now let’s talk about how we got there.
The first thing you need to know is that there is a lot of refurbished hardware out there. I don’t like to talk about it much on this blog, but there’s no denying that both DIRECTV and DISH are losing net customers. That doesn’t mean no one is signing up, only that more people are leaving.
When you leave DIRECTV or DISH, you’re asked to return your hardware. In most cases it’s perfectly good and can be reconditioned. There are receivers out there that are almost 10 years old and they still work perfectly. These things are extremely well built.
So, keep in mind that when you order from Solid Signal, it’s possible you’ll get reconditioned equipment. Neither AT&T nor DISH make any distinction between new hardware and reconditioned hardware. We get what we get. That’s true with any AT&T or DISH dealer.
The reconditioning process
The reconditioning process is pretty thorough. In addition to being physically cleaned, some devices get new outer cases to make them look better. They’re put through hours of automated testing to make sure they work perfectly.
Another aspect of this process is making sure that the receiver is properly checked back into the system. Each receiver is registered to a customer, and when they return the receiver, it is put “back in stock.” I think you can guess what went wrong in this case.
Maybe one time out of a thousand…
…yes, someone makes a mistake and a receiver isn’t properly checked in. This does happen, although it’s rare. It’s exactly what happened here. Because these receivers come in sealed boxes, there’s no way for us to know that there’s a problem until it’s time to activate.
If you call Solid Signal, there’s no problem
I hate when people blame the customer. It’s always a bad business decision. In this case the customer thought it would be best to ignore the sticker and paperwork we send with every receiver and call AT&T for activation. Unfortunately their call centers have no idea what to do with hardware from dealers like Solid Signal.
The rep on the other side of the phone (who was probably on the other side of the world) had no idea how to handle the problem. If the customer had called us first, we would have taken care of it quickly. We know these things happen and we have people on staff who are experts at taking care of them quickly.
So, moral of the story: always call Solid Signal for activation of receivers you get from us. You won’t save time by calling AT&T or DISH, and chances are they’ll just leave you frustrated.
Without a doubt, that’s what happened here and hopefully we can avoid it in the future.