Help me understand how DirecTV handles installations
January 12, 2012 3:10 PM   Subscribe

Could you help me understand the structure and entities involved in DirecTV installation? This information I need pertains specifically to DirecTV, not to any other company. I'd like to know about the relationships between DirecTV and the companies and people who do the installations, and how the money flows between the various people and entities.

Take a situation in which a company (let's call them Acme) is somehow involved in DirecTV installation. Now, Acme is NOT a subdivision of the DirecTV, but appears to be a small company with eight or ten people who work in its office. Acme installs DirecTV equipment ... or, maybe it just finds individuals to work as subcontractors to do installations.

Acme enters into contracts with individual installers, and ships DirecTV equipment to these installers, and has contracts with the individual installers (let's call them the Joe Installers). The Joe Installers then go out and install the equipment in consumers' homes.

My questions:

(1) Is Acme a "contractor" for the installation of DirecTV equipment? Or is there some other designation for what Acme does?
(2) Are the Joe Installers considered "subcontractors"?
(3) Does the equipment being shipped to the Joe Installers belong to DirecTV until it is sold to the consumers? Or has it been purchased by Acme to re-sell to individual consumers who subscribe to DirecTV services?
(4) Let's say some of the equipment sent to Joe Installer goes unused; under what circumstances does it get sent back to Acme or DirecTV? Specifically, let's say Joe Installer terminates his contract with Acme (or vice versa), what does Joe Installer do with any uninstalled equipment that he still has?
(5) How does the payment "flow" for installations work? Does DirecTV pay Acme only after a successful installation in a subscriber's home? And does Acme pay Joe Installer after it is paid by DirecTV? Or something else altogether? What mechanisms are in place to make sure Joe Installer gets paid?
(6) Any other interesting information about the way DirecTV installations are organized, assigned, farmed out, whatever? I'm trying to understand it from an insider perspective, so any firsthand information you can provide will be appreciated.

I would appreciate anyone with insider knowledge helping me out here. Throwaway e-mail account:
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (1 answer total)
DirecTV doesn't sell its equipment. Even if you "buy" a receiver outright from e.g. Amazon, the service contract you agree to stipulates that the receivers and other equipment actually belong to DirecTV and you are merely renting them. If you're not paying for your receiver, because you signed up under one of their many specials or paid full price for a receiver from a retailer, there is still an equipment rental line item on your bill (with an offsetting credit).

So the answer to your #3 appears to be that all DirecTV equipment belongs to DirecTV always.
posted by kindall at 3:30 PM on January 12, 2012

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