Former AT&T employees say they were pressured to use questionable tactics to sell DirecTV Now

Former AT&T employees say they were pressured to use questionable tactics to sell DirecTV Now
AT&T is in hot water. Some current and former employees of the nation's second largest carrier say that they were pressured to use unethical sales techniques to sell subscriptions to AT&T's DirecTV Now streaming service. One of the methods used by AT&T reps was to promise customers that if they signed up for a trial, the reps would make sure that the service was cancelled before the trial ended. This was against AT&T policy, although the company did nothing to discourage it according to those who spoke up.

Some reps would forget to cancel trial subscriptions despite the promises they made. Many unlucky customers would end up getting billed $35 a month for as long as seven months before realizing that they were overpaying. And even worse, during times when AT&T was running $10 promotions for DirecTV Now, some reps used customers' credit cards to start as many as three trials at one time.

Several AT&T customers were tricked into signing up for a trial subscription for DirecTV Now by being told about a fake, made up fee they would have to pay when purchasing a new phone. The rep would tell the customer that the fee could be waived if the customer signed up for the trial. One employee who ended up fired, revealed how his manager used the employee's iPad to create a fake email account, which was used for a trial DirecTV Now subscription. 

AT&T's top salesman in Hawaii for two years, Abraham Buonya, was fired earlier this month by the carrier for falsifying records and for violating the company's code of business conduct. He says, "These customers are seeing charges on their statements that they have no clue what it is, but managers are forcing us to do it because they need to meet their quotas." He noted that no matter how unattainable his store's target was for a given month, the figure would be met. "The managers basically encouraged us and informed us of how to manipulate sales," Buonya stated.

The number of customers that each store signed up for the DirecTV streaming service is important for managers because all company stores are competing against each other and these sales are one of the metrics used in determining store rankings. Hawaii had some of the best DirecTV Now sales at one time, and a current AT&T employee said that 90% of  DirecTV Now sales achieved during that period were made unethically. This employee also recommends that AT&T customers check their statements. "I have no doubt that there are still people that are being charged," he said.


AT&T says that in the cases where customers had to pay for the DirecTV Now service, it reversed the charges. But if you do detect some unexplained charges on your AT&T invoice, you should get in touch with the company immediately.

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13 Comments

1. apple-rulz

Posts: 2112; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

This I can total believe, AT&T relentlessly pushes DirecTV, so annoying. I hope they get hit with huge fine, then again they’d just pass it on to us customers.

2. Derekjeter

Posts: 1486; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

I loved the deal they had where you can get an Apple TV 4K for $105. I took advantage of that deal.

3. Odeira

Posts: 300; Member since: Jun 29, 2012

THIS is what Ajit Pai is protecting. That is all.

4. darkemperor666 unregistered

Just like verizon. We were force by our managers to lie to our customers about Hum. We were told by managers to give three months free then managers never gave the credit. At one point a Manger gave me a coaching because I didn't sale a hum to an elder customer with a basic phone and no knowledge of technology. To be honest when you work in sales you have to sale your soul. Selling with integrity is a bigood B.S. Some times you have to lie to achieve your sales quotas. I have worked in sales for a lot of years and saw really good sales people and really dishonest sales people.

6. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 966; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

This is why people complain about the corporate stores and premium retailers. The clerks are paid commission and in some places need to sell a minimum amount to even start receiving commission. That sort of pressure (and oftentimes greed) ruins the sales experience.

7. Rager722 unregistered

You think that's bad, a couple of years back I worked for best buy mobile. I also had to reach a "quota" of getting people to not only upgrade a phone but apply for a Best Buy credit card or an insurance plan, and if you didn't meet the quota, you would be penalized. And you don't even make commission in best buy!!

10. BuffaloSouce unregistered

It sounds like the Best Buy you were working for were nothing more than greedy dickheads. My friend is the ASM at the one here in my town and from what he tells me, there a quotas in those categories they would like to hit as an entire store. They never singled out a specific employee for not selling one of those services.

5. tacarat

Posts: 854; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

Hey Randall? Is that DTv acquisition paying off yet? Did you forget HOAs don't always like your dishes. Mine is taller than me!

8. Foxgabanna

Posts: 597; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

You must be a old midget because they are really small now.

11. tacarat

Posts: 854; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

I'm 5'10". The Hawaii market has huge dishes because of where we're at. They pretty much have to point at the horizon because it's not practical to place one above us. Coincidentally, the story is about the Hawaii market. I think they pushed the streaming hard because the dishes themselves are pretty much no-gos for a lot of folks. HOAs, space requirements, or placement are strikes against the service. When we had it, there was pretty much nothing that made it comparable to Time-Warner cable. AT&T doesn't even offer non-cellular internet here, so the bundling options are craptastic.

9. Gsmalltheway

Posts: 275; Member since: Aug 15, 2009

A company pushing their product....what else is new? Isnt that what all companies do

12. Eclectech

Posts: 349; Member since: May 01, 2013

So glad I decided to stick with Sling

13. xtroid2k

Posts: 601; Member since: Jan 11, 2010

I don't know if anyone remembers the Verizon Wireless VPAK from back in the day. But this brings back memories. Basically the same high-pressure sales techniques and so on.

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