Berbicians cry fraud over DirecTV service
Several customers who have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars combined for subscriptions to a DirecTV service from Caracas, Venezuela, are irate, to say the least. They have complained of being part and parcel of a rip-off carried out by an individual (name, address and telephone numbers given).
The customers, with whom this newspaper spoke on Sunday, have been without DirecTV signals for more than three weeks. After contacting the individual who hails from the city, the customers said that they were being promised that the service would be restored this week.
They are adamant that the individual has been swindling their monies and has not been paying whatever dues necessary to the DirecTV Caracas headquarters; hence the subscribers lose signals for very long periods on a regular basis.
Kaieteur News spoke to one customer from New Amsterdam who related that she started subscribing to the service on June 21, 2009 after paying down the huge sum of $176,000 for 14 months of viewing.
She said that she also paid the gentleman an additional $18,000 for pay-per-view channels—channels which have never been connected to date. She said that she had viewing for one month, and then the troubles began. Her service was disconnected for two months after that. She recollected that it would follow a pattern of a few weeks of viewing which would precede months of disconnected service. That customer has been without service since January.
“He is a very conniving and robbing person. And every time you try to contact him, he gives you his word [that the service would be reconnected]. He is very unreliable; he even gets his wife to lie for him to customers whenever they call to complain about being disconnected.
“Sometimes, whenever you call, he is out of the country. I am not getting any satisfaction. He doesn’t want to give a refund. He always put you on a lockdown. He get a bullying way about him.”
The customer, who was very angry and confused, was adamant that she was not the only customer who is suffering the same fate. “I am sure it is not me alone. I am sure that there are other people. Someone should forward his information to the police so that they can hunt him down.”
Another customer had a similar tale. He paid $139,000 on September 9, 2009 for one year service. He showed this newspaper a copy of the contract signed by the company’s General Manager (name given) and the reseller of DirecTV. He said that he saw the advertisement for DirecTV in the Guyana Times in September 2009, and decided to connect to the services.
According to him, the individual arrived at his home the very next day from Georgetown to connect him. “He ‘sugar coat’ everything. He made it look so nice—the service in which I was about to enter into—he gave me a list of the channels on a sheet of paper and said that I would get a discount and pay only $7,000 per month if I paid for an entire year of service.”
According to the customer, he did pay for a year and after one month’s viewing, he began having similar problems. The service was reconnected and the same pattern was followed. Since September 2009, he said, he was probably disconnected five times, each period of disconnection lasting no more than six weeks.
“You don’t even have anyone to call. The numbers they have for DirecTV Venezuela are all Spanish-speaking.
I contacted Stabroek TV, which is the authorised DirecTV distributor in Guyana and they told me that there is nothing that they can do about this individual. Well I want the police to do something. I am going to take a lawyer and take this person, who believes he is smarter than his customers, to court and it would not be nice at all,” the customer told this paper.
“This guy is such a nasty liar. He would lie to you right in front of your face. He is very deceitful. I told him I would take steps further if he does not turn on back my cable. He begged me to wait until this past weekend, which I did, but I cannot wait anymore.
“He told me that he has made lots of financial losses and he trying to recuperate, by turning people’s systems off. That is preposterous,” the customer said.
This newspaper understands that an incident was reported late 2009 about an altercation at the individual’s residence in Georgetown by persons purporting to collect monies on behalf of disgruntled customers of the DirecTV service.
We were also informed that the line-up of channels numbered over 100, most of which were Caracas-based and obviously in Spanish.
The customers are asking anyone with similar problems with DirecTV to make contact with Kaieteur News, who would in turn make contact with them, so that they can put up a unified defence to deal with the individual. They are also asking for the intervention of the police, Guyana Consumers Association, lawyers, and Stabroek TV Inc.