We signed up for DirecTV in 2007. It didn’t take long for the price to double, and then double again. Back in 2020, after yet another price increase, I finally called to cancel. And then the retention department offered to cut the price by roughly half – or on par with the Hulu or Youtube premium streaming services I was planning to use. The one year deal elapsed in September, 2021, and I called in early October to cancel again. This time, the customer service rep took care of it in one easy phone call and advised me to just keep calling in every year to renew the promotional price.
Duly noted. I set up a calendar reminder for next year.
And that led to my walk in the woods with my dog the evening of Tuesday, October 26, 2021. My cell phone rang. The caller ID said it was somebody from Stillwater, Minnesota, near where I live. I should have ignored it.
A recorded message said DirecTV wants to talk to me about my monthly bill. Press “1” to talk to a representative. I bit.
Somebody with a thick Indian accent came on and asked if I could confirm my new DirecTV pricing. Another yellow flag. I missed it. I spilled my guts and told them DirectTV had offered to cut my bill by roughly half.
The caller offered to cut it in half again. I could retain my same DirectTV package, now for only $37.99 per month, and with HBO and Cinemax included. Oh really? This sounded too good to be true. What was the catch?
With COVID-19 throwing lots of people out of work, AT&T is concerned for its customers.
I told him I was touched by AT&T’s concern for my welfare.
The catch was, they wanted $300 right now to pay for the first eight months. After that, the bill would be $37.99 per month for three years and I can cancel any time.
As I compose this, that should have set off alarm bells in my head. But maybe AT&T is hurting for cash. And I was in the woods with my dog on a leash. And a shovel in the other hand. Well, it’s not really a shovel. It’s a manure mover. It works better than an inside-out plastic bag. I wasn’t thinking about DirecTV. Or technology. Or money. I was thinking about cleaning a pile of fresh dog doodoo.
The caller offered to connect me to his supervisor. Why do I want to talk to a supervisor? Well, whatever, sure, why not.
A “senior supervisor” with an American name and another thick Indian accent came on the line. Wow. A senior supervisor. I must be important.
He asked me if I understood the offer. And like a dork, I repeated it.
And that’s when he made a fatal mistake. He said the offer also includes a $100 Visa gift card.
“Hmm. This offer is sounding more and more like too good to be true. Why don’t you tell me something about my DirecTV service.”
“What would you like to know?”
“What package do I have with you guys?”
“You have a basic package.”
“Really. What’s the name of the package?”
“Just the basic package. With movie channels.”
That made me mad. I’m standing in the woods trying to scrape up dog turds with one hand because I’m holding a cell phone and dog leash in the other hand and listening to some clown on the other side of the planet try to con me. I told him he was wasting my time and hung up.
I should be mostly mad at myself. But it’s also a lesson. We should never let our guards down. Sometimes, con artists call and the timing is just right and the story sounds plausible enough that we buy it. It could have been worse; I didn’t part with any money and the story makes good cybersecurity blog material.
My phone rang a few seconds after I hung up. No doubt, they wanted to keep trying to reel me in. I was ready to answer and yell at these guys. But it was my oldest grandson. He wants Chinese food for dinner tonight.