Yo-I don't want cable.
February 27, 2016 11:20 PM   Subscribe

How weird is it to tell the guy coming to install your cable that you don't actually want cable?

Ok, so here's the weird deal. I went to renew my phone contract and get new cell phones, and the folks at the store were like "if you keep your current family plan, it's $300 a month. But since AT&T just bought directv, and they really want people using it, if you get the cheapest direct tv plan WITH your new phones, it'll actually be cheaper. Which is great. I went through with it, and with directv, my plan is about 40 bucks cheaper.

There's just one thing: I really don't want cable. I haven't had it in a decade, I don't miss it, anything I want to watch right now I can catch on my Roku or my computer. I also don't want a satellite dish in my house. So... Since I don't want cable is it ok for me to tell the guy who comes out to install it and just--I don't know, keep the dish in my basement and never use it? Or is that weird?
posted by Alex Goldman to Technology (16 answers total)
It's not weird to explain this to the installer and ask them to just leave the dish and bounce, but if they're like "I'm gonna get in trouble with corporate if I don't actually install the dish" then you kinda need to let them install the dish.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:29 PM on February 27, 2016

Not weird. Insist. You don't want it, you won't use it, and you don't want it on your roof.

Heck, call up and cancel the install appt. You're busy. You'll reschedule.
posted by notyou at 11:54 PM on February 27, 2016 [8 favorites]

DirecTV installers are typically (I think always?) independent dealers rather than direct employees, and as such it will directly cost them some money/lost time if they keep their appointment with you but don't get to complete a sign-up.

I'm not sure what repercussions there might be to your phone bill if you never complete the installation (I'd guess none,) but the nice thing to do would be to follow notyou's advice and cancel the installation appointment. They might be aggressive about following up to reschedule since having a signed-up box in your house means they get to count you in their viewership numbers, so be ready to keep fending them off.
posted by contraption at 12:03 AM on February 28, 2016 [5 favorites]

This sounds like way too much weirdness and hassle to save less than $40, factoring in whatever you have to pay for satellite service that you never even use. The only way this would make sense is if you got the cheapest plan and thought of some way it could possibly be useful.
posted by bleep at 12:12 AM on February 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's $40 a month on my current phone bill in perpetuity And that includes the cost of tv service
posted by Alex Goldman at 3:56 AM on February 28, 2016

A couple easy choices:

1. Get the installation and don't use it. It's that simple. Think of it like that one outlet that you put your dresser in front of and you just don't use it.

2. Call the installation company and cancel the installation. Explain that you have this just for the discount and don't actually want the installation thanks and don't want to waste their time or equipment. And I'm perfectly certain that it's nowhere near the strangest request they've gotten.
posted by plinth at 4:58 AM on February 28, 2016 [5 favorites]

3. If they absolutely must install the dish, let them and then after they leave take it down.
posted by HotToddy at 5:14 AM on February 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

From an installer's standpoint, there's too much that could go wrong if they don't fulfill the terms of their contract with AT&T - every installer out there has had a customer ask for something out of the ordinary be done and then called and complained about it. I would imagine failing to install it at all would be a fireable offense. You'd be asking them to take a serious risk for no benefit to them.

It's also possible that until your receiver box is listed as having connected that they will either keep pestering you to set up the service or not count it as having fulfilled your side of the deal and not give you the discount.

Can you figure out some place on the ground or deck that has the necessary line of sight so you can let them set it up and it'll be easy for you to pack up and put away afterwards? It beats having to climb up on the roof.
posted by Candleman at 8:04 AM on February 28, 2016 [9 favorites]

Yeah, have them put it on a pole in the back yard. When they leave, remove the pole.
posted by miyabo at 8:09 AM on February 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

I was once in a similar situation. Temporary place, needed internet, didn't need TV (there wasn't even a TV in the place). Service was cheaper if I bought cable TV and Internet. Installer came, wouldn't set up the internet unless he could also set up the TV. Wouldn't set up the TV without a TV to hook it up to (and confirm that it's working). Claimed he'd get in trouble if he left without doing the full install. Customer service said I couldn't get the deal without TV. I went back and forth with them a little bit, but eventually gave up and decided it wasn't worth the hassle. YMMV.
posted by primethyme at 8:16 AM on February 28, 2016

In order for the install to be complete, the directv box has to be registered with the satellite or with the company's computers. When I had directv, there was a card in my box that identified me to the signal. You want that to connect at least once. If it were me, I would let them install and not use it for a month and then take down the dish on my own. Dishes do get bumped or moved during other repairs etc. They lose connection to the satellites and that does not cause too many red flags, but they need to connect for the first time.
posted by AugustWest at 8:22 AM on February 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

Just interjecting: DirectTV does not equal Cable. The right term would be satellite TV.
posted by beagle at 8:39 AM on February 28, 2016 [5 favorites]

AugustWest has it. The installer needs to register your box before your setup is considered complete. I don't think they will get paid unless they do this step. Before AT&T, if you didn't want satellite internet, the DirecTV installer would just set up the satellite TV; sometimes they offered bundled internet with a cable partner, but the internet setup technician was a different person. So, in that scenario, perpetually cancelling/rescheduling only the DirecTV appointment may(?) work. But, if the installation is through the same entity, probably not.
posted by bluefly at 9:35 AM on February 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

In my experience with Comcast, I just (truthfully) told him I didn't have a tv that I could hook up right now but he did the general install anyway. I now have a carefully preserved cable box in its original packaging that I will eventually have to return to Comcast. They would not let me just not keep it.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 1:49 PM on February 28, 2016

In some instances, I have heard that companies "audit" a sample of subscribers periodically. This includes making sure that the company itself is providing the requisite service/pricing level. If your account is audited, and they discover that you have not activated the TV service, the discount may be removed. I would do what Candleman and AugustWest suggest.
posted by cynical pinnacle at 1:57 PM on February 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was an installer for 10 years. Yes, the installer will likely get in trouble if he doesn't install it - as others have mentioned, they do audits.

Here is the definitive solution for anyone else who is in a similar situation:

1.) Let the installer put up the dish on a temporary non-pen mount somewhere in your yard.
2.) Then wait a day or two, and just pick it up and put it away.
3.) Tell them that you will never be watching TV, and that you will give them scores of 10 on all the follow up calls that the companies make. This will put the installer at ease.
4.) You may want to ask them if a QC guy will come by. You may want to leave the dish up for a week or two so he can pass the inspection.

Really, if you are dealing with an odd installation situation, it's best to contact an independent installer FIRST. Try SatelliteTechnicians.com, SatHookUp.com, or FTAInstall.com. If you place your order through the independent installer, then you can still get a free install, etc. Otherwise if you don't want to order through them, you can pay an independent to do a "site survey" where they just come out and talk about your installation. Well worth it for the super strange install situations.

All installers who are sent out by the service provider are going to be parroting the company policies. They won't have many independent thoughts on most issues.
posted by Zandarkoad at 10:51 AM on December 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

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