Friday, March 31, 2017

DirecTv: Unending advertisements interlaced with massively marginal programming.

A cold rain here today in Central New York State. We are less than ten hours from April First – better known as April Fool's Day around these parts. Snow and ice fell this morning, Ma Nature is playing games again and more snows predicted for the morning. So did some messing around on the Internet it being too miserable to go outside. Then sat down to watch a bit of TV this afternoon. We have DirecTv satellite TV provider here in this rural Town of German Flatts location. Those couple hundred channels DirecTv “provider” sends are mostly insignificant and UN-watchable junk. Not a single program on now – not a thing is view-able by these old eyes.

The words almost every uses when approaching our home west-side deck – “what a beautiful view!” – and this is true. It is the main reason we purchased this property a dozen years ago. After considerable site work, it wasn't until our 28' x 36' garage was under construction in the second year of land ownership it became clear there was no AC power out front on our country road. Cost an unplanned couple grand+ to have Niagara Mohawk Power route some electric juice into our new place. Also unknown when this property was purchased – there is no cable TV provider like Time Warner around here and checks confirm there is seemingly no hope to ever get such competitive TV or Internet services. Further, there is one and only one land line telephone provider and ISP here – this being the dreaded Verizon. My gosh, what a non-choice indeed we must buy from a single source. These oversights were neglected service considerations when locating this building site far out of town.

Having vented enough on this, let me refocus this rant for a moment on DirecTv. Not much to do last weekend since easily two feet of the near 40 inches of snow deposited on us ten days past still prevents any meaningful outside activity. So decided to sit a while and watch a couple movies on DirecTv. Had noted earlier last week the “Godfather” series was scheduled for presentation. Oh great, something to do and watch this day! But here is the sad tale. First, DirecTv announces the films are cropped to fit our TV and chopped to fit their allotted run-times. Almost universally, the altered films run for less than eight minutes, followed then by four and a half minutes of commercials – over and over, sometimes as many as thirteen different commercials within these very frequent commercial breaks. Needless to say, the extensive and lengthy commercial breaks, coupled with an already altered film makes the viewing basically UN-enjoyable and far less interesting. After all, it is so believable when the various “F-bombs” are deleted from intense gangster communication. My gosh.

So, if readers plan to watch some DirecTv programming this weekend, here's some sage advice. Get your popcorn, loosen your pants, bend over, and prepare to take a hit on the butt. All this because a multitude of TV commercials are coming your way – commercials enough to make a senior saint scream in disgust.

Note to DirecTv management: Your claims to hold over thirty million subscribers logically gives you the collective corporate power numbers to insist that your program providers very significantly reduce the length and frequency of TV commercials interspersed within shows, and in particular those commercials presented within classic movie presentations.  DirecTv in concert with other similar firms have the collective power to better control program providers like AMC, et. al. to thus deliver better TV content to many millions of subscribers.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

**** Liberty Mutual Accident Forgiveness Ethics **** --- Sayonara, Adiós Liberty --- Bon jorno GEICO! ---

We happily switched insurance companies to Liberty Mutual in summer 2014... not due to unsatisfactory services with former insurance carrier State Farm... the change simply due to a small cost savings.  Recently we discovered our Liberty Mutual "Accident Forgiveness" is revoked -- the highly advertised auto insurance policy provision where no price increase will be extracted by Liberty Mutual for your first accident.

Well, here is the real story.  In early summer 2013 and while happily served by State Farm auto insurance, a severe storm deposited significant hail on our home and our two vehicles parked in our driveway.  My 2009 Dodge Charger experienced minor hail damage -- just a couple small dents -- not enough to ask for insurance help.  However, Terri's new 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee, then being less than five months old, experienced very significant hail damage. Small dents covered most of her Jeep's topside surfaces that required professional services and an insurance comprehensive claim.  We are highly concerned and outright angered that Liberty Mutual Insurance Company considers "Acts-of-God" (a/k/a: hail storm damages) comprehensive claim that exceeds $600 against our previous insurance company as an accident with cause for revoking our current Liberty Mutual accident forgiveness.

Insurance claims directly connected to Acts-of-God are never mentioned in any of the many Liberty Mutual Insurance Company on-air advertisements or in any plain language citation in company literature. These facts have been twice verified with Liberty Mutual customer service representatives on or about 18 Jan 2017, and verified again a few days ago.  I asked to speak to a manager empowered with decision making authority... and I was assured that a manger would contact me by phone within two days. The promised management phone contact was never received. Accordingly, I intend to file a complaint with appropriate insurance industry public and private sector authority citing these facts and to allege unethical conduct by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company regarding this matter.

So here's the Liberty Mutual deal.  A couple of this insurance firm's TV ads aggressively tout "Accident Forgiveness" as an auto policy marketing inducement.  The firm never discloses a provision whereby this forgiveness will be suspended for 5 years if a policy holder makes an Act-of-God claim against paid comprehensive auto insurance coverage.  So what type of injury requiring less than $600 can Liberty cite?  Clearly, an official corporate policy that suspends paid "Accident Forgiveness" for five years due to relatively small claims caused by clear Acts-of-God is GROSSLY UNETHICAL.  Damages caused by Acts-of God are NOT auto accidents as understood by reasonable people or by any classic ethical business definition.    

Direct quote from Liberty Mutual Insurance web site:

"What is Accident Forgiveness?  Accident Forgiveness is a policy benefit where Liberty Mutual won’t raise your rate due to your first car accident if you’ve been accident-free and violation-free for 5 years."

Click HERE to check out what unethical insurance advertisement looks like.

Note: the image displayed at the top of this post is from a personal collection shot during a NY City visit years past.