DirecTV dished out a $184,530.67 satellite television bill to an Ohio woman, and no, it wasn't for a new HBO/Showtime package. Angela Mixon-Smith, an Army veteran, recently agreed to bundle her DirecTV service with a new AT&T cell phone plan, and has been receiving strange service bills ever since.
Mixon-Smith said she opened the bill Monday and began to feel ill. According to KTLA:
“I mean, my chest got heavy,” the Ohio, woman told KTLA sister station WJW in Cleveland on Wednesday. “I had to get some water. I don't drink. I was ready to drink." ...
“I know I don't have that kind of money,” she said. “And, since April? There's no way.”
AT&T, which merged with DirecTV in 2015, apologized for the error and recredited Mixon-Smith’s account. The spokesperson for AT&T who issued the apology did not give an explanation to KTLA for the mistake.
Image: Dwight Burdette
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JWZ reports some of the sleazy things that DirecTV does to squeeze money out of its customers, of which he is one. In addition to the predictable stuff, like market-obscuring channel bundles and below-the-radar billing extras, there are weird cramming strategies designed to make customer service as inconvenient as possible.
I receive 626 channels, and watch shows from about 14 of them ever.
So here's how evil DirecTV is: The DirecTV web site lets you add programming packages online, but never, ever lets you delete one. If you click the "X" box next to any of them, it just tells you to call the 800 number and waste time in voice jail before talking to a human.
Making content available only as part of a contractual screwing doesn't legitimize piracy, but it does make it a problem largely of the industry's own creation. Everyone understands this: it's why politicians only care about piracy when they're paid to. The naked fact is now so obvious that Hollywood has no qualms about ripping up the checks in public.
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