5 On Your Side

No simple fix after DirecTV dish wrongly installed on Raleigh home

Posted October 1, 2013

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— A satellite dish installed on the wrong home seems like a simple fix. But that wasn't the case for a Raleigh woman who contacted 5 On Your Side after a dish she didn't order suddenly appeared on her roof.

"I thought it was an optical illusion at first," said Susan Burcham of the unwanted piece of equipment on her home.

Burcham called DirecTV, expecting a quick removal of the dish.

"Everybody kept asking me, 'What's your account number?'" she said. "I don't have an account. I didn't want this."

Burcham said she was repeatedly told she couldn't be helped without an account number. She even called the president of DirecTV and was dumbfounded by her conversation with an assistant.

"(At first she) didn't believe me and then told me that this couldn't be true because they never put things on the wrong house," Burcham said. 

Burcham said the assistant told her that someone probably stole the dish and put it on her roof, so it wasn't DirecTV's responsibility.

"Then she said the only thing I could do was go to the Yellow Pages and find every installer in the area and start calling them directly," Burcham said. 

Instead, she called 5 On Your Side. 

Dish installed on wrong roof Satellite dish wrongly installed on Raleigh woman's home

While 5 On Your Side was at Burcham's house, a satellite contractor pulled up with information that probably solves the case. He didn't want to go on camera, but did say that he came out after the installer had a problem a few days before. The contractor said that installer was fired and then he called his supervisor about Burcham's issue.

While Burcham went round and round with the supervisor, 5 On Your Side went to straight to DirecTV.

The company admitted the technician was confused and installed the dish on the wrong house.

Then, Country Cable in Burlington – the company where the technician worked – emailed 5 On Your Side. They didn't admit it was their fault, but said they would pay for repairs as long as Burcham did two things: first, let us know that the company took care of the problem and then write a letter to the president of DirecTV detailing how they handled it.

Now that the unwanted dish is gone, Burcham can laugh about it.

"You couldn't write a comedy sketch that would be believable with what this has been," she said.

But she's glad she called for help. 

"That's great service," she said. "5 On Your Side works."


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  • rachelsgma Oct 11, 2013

    Does not surprise me at all. I had them come out to install satellite at my home. The installer put the dish on a 6 foot pole then put it in the ground 2 feet in front of the back door! You could not open the door far enough to get out. I called and they moved it promptly but I could not believe they did that. BTW I no longer have any cable or satellite, its over the air and Netflix for my house!

  • RaleighFoodBlogger Oct 10, 2013

    I'm not surprised. When we moved a few months ago I had everything set up to transfer Time Warner directly with them. And then when I called to change some utilities, they asked about our cable. We kept saying we are all set, but the person on the phone said they could get us a better deal. We kept saying, no we want exactly what we have at the new place. Turns out they signed us up w/DirecTV even though we made if very clear we were with Time Warner (and apparently they were a DirecTV contractor so they obviously were trying to get a new installation commission). I didn't realize what happened until we got a confirmation installation e-mail from DirecTV. And of course that led to several more phone calls to stop it, and ask what the heck they thought they were doing. Lucky I caught them in time... crazy. And a total waste of my time, not to mention an attitude from the manager without an apology. I'm not thrilled with Time Warner either, but at least we weren't lied to.

  • mcondor Oct 4, 2013

    I understand the "need" for cable/sat-tv if you have rugrats,
    but at my adult household the over-the-air antenna which
    picks up lots of cool extra stuff (like antenna-tv, me-tv, and this-tv)
    on subchannels. Combined with an $8 netflix streaming account
    gives the household more tv than it can even hope to consume

  • DaddysAngel27 Oct 3, 2013

    I had severe issues with Time Warner. I switched to Direct TV and never had any problems with them. I have had Direct TV service for over 11 years now.

  • ashewing Oct 3, 2013

    Netflix and Hulu....

  • snowl Oct 3, 2013

    I'd make sure that the roof shingled area that they installed "the dish" is properly repaired too!

  • billggibsonii Oct 3, 2013

    "...this couldn't be true because they never put things on the wrong house,..." and "...someone probably stole the dish and put it on her roof..." Was that DirecTV assistant stupid? At least we know this Halloween's "prank of choice" will be to steal DirecTV dishes and place them on someone else's house. Modern day toilet papering;-)

  • charlesboyer Oct 2, 2013

    "DirecTV and Dish prices go up every year too." DirecTV has two year contracts with set prices and after the contract, customers are on month-to-month. They don't always raise their rates annually either.

    Generally speaking, the rate hikes for all of these companies are a result of content provides (like WRAL, other local stations, ESPN and others) raising their carriage fees, which are of course passed along to consumers. None of these companies want to have anything more than a limited a la carte menu, where you could eliminate ESPN if you don't watch sports (for example) because the bundling keeps their net income higher.

  • charlesboyer Oct 2, 2013

    ncpigboy99 is correct - companies now run their customer service centers at an absolute minimum. Then there is also the fact that many of them use knowledge base scripts that the CSR's must use to respond -- with no deviations allowed. Even their supervisors have playbooks that they must utilize as well.

    The real failing here is how the executive office failed the lady. They should have been able to research the problem and rectify it with a smile. They didn't and fortunately, WRAL was able to use their clout to cut through the red tape.

  • govtpackmule Oct 2, 2013

    How can we get this free???? -- puzzled
    An antenna.--catfisherman

    You can get a lot with an antenna. If that's not an option, it's not exactly free if you factor the cost of internet service, but many of the major networks put current shows on their website about a week behind. I've been without any type of subscription for years now and have no trouble finding legal ways to get content. Don't forget websites like Hulu too.