Direct TV

When we first moved here, we had a complimentary package to very limited TV programs.  Most of them were in Spanish and the few American channels seemed to show the same episodes over and over.  Even though I’m not a huge TV buff (I have had a few  select shows that I’ve liked in the past), I decided that TV was something I wanted for my own sense of what I call normalcy here.  So whether right or wrong, we extended our TV access and upgraded to a more diverse package with more American programs.

I thought, since my Spanish is still a work in progress, that chatting with a live specialist via messaging on the computer would be the best way to order the service.  The specialist replied with “no habla Espanol?”  In which I replied “very little”.  She asked me to wait a few minutes and then came back and wanted my phone number.  She would have her supervisor call me.  Once again, I’m reminded of how hard it must be for foreigners coming to my home country.  The supervisor called and spoke English, not perfect but certainly enough to get the job done.  My main concern was that we are not locked into a contract for years to come in which I was assured that is not the case.  “Great”, I thought, “let’s get this done!”  The supervisor said he would request a technician that spoke English and he would arrive on Saturday.  Great! But wait, how will he know which house is ours?  Addresses here are very, very different.  There are no house numbers to identify which building is yours.  Basically the address consists of the two nearest cross streets (and there are no street signs here), the town and the province.  So I told him to make sure to let them know we are the last house closest to the ocean and the house is purple and blue.   In the mean time, I was sent a 7 page contract all in Spanish.  Trying to read a 7 page contract in a foreign language is a bit silly, however I did attempt and I read what I thought said the contract was for 24 meses (months)……two years.  Hmmm?

Never-the-less  Dave and I set aside our entire day on Saturday and cancelled all our other pressing engagements (just kidding…we had nothing going on)!  We waited and waited…..and waited.  By 5:30 I put a message out on the Crucita Expats facebook page, and here were a few of the comments:


The cable guy was supposed to come today but hasn’t showed up as of yet. In Ecuador, is it common that they might not come the day they say they are? Just curious if anyone else has had similar experience?
I know I know….anything goes here but just curious. lol

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Mary Macdonald
Mary MacdonaldI’ve never had one show the day they were suppose to, but then again the day isn’t over yet. Once they showed up at 8:30 pm 🙂
Ecuador Huskers
Ecuador HuskersManana Manana manana
Louiseand Gary Mullins
Louiseand Gary MullinsGary and I are rolling on the floor.
Ingeborg Majer-O’sickey replied · 1 Reply
Milinda May
Milinda MayAfter a while, you’ll. Stop asking questions like this, lol! 😉
Jennifer Quinnell-Newhouse
Jennifer Quinnell-Newhousealrighty then…sadly i feel much better.
Sy Baker
Sy Bakeroh Jenny….I’m picking Sy up off the floor….you do.make us laugh
Jennifer Quinnell-Newhouse
Jennifer Quinnell-Newhouse….i feel like a date that was stood up. 😦
Dave Newhouse
Sandra Baker PowellWe waited from the second week of August until two days ago on the electric guy to show up in Bahia.
Sandra Baker Powell replied · 2 Replies
Joyce Rotert
Joyce Rotertget ready to wait…..and wait…..and wait. :] this is Ecuador land of manana!!
So apparently even for businesses such as direct TV, they will come whenever.
I’m OK with that, but part of the reason I write this is to detail some of the differences and to encourage people reading this that when a technician or delivery person gives you a 4 hour window back in the states, that’s really good!  🙂  I know that it’s much harder when there are work schedules involved and other plans, but be thankful that they show up the date they say.
So on Tuesday I got a call and the person spoke only in Spanish but I was able to understand that they were coming tomorrow (Wednesday) in the afternoon.  So we are back in business again!  Wednesday starting at noon, we waited….until 5:30 when two technicians showed up in a plain-looking van. One of them was English-speaking!  So one of the first things I asked him was the length of the contract and he said there was none really.  I told him that I thought I saw it in the paperwork that it said 24 meses and he said “oh no…it’s only 1 year.”.   He also mentioned we can move up to two times and transfer the service to other addresses.  “But I thought there was no contract?” I asked him.  “No, no, it’s for a year…but no problem.”.   While they were setting up the service, I scoured the paperwork to find where I read 24 meses.
So they guys went to work.  We requested that our Direct TV be set up on the upper level which we deemed our TV room (provided it could be hooked up).  Problem number one, the dish needed to be replaced, and it is on the roof of the house.  Problem number two, the installers had no ladder.  But…no problem actually.  Paco (the technician who spoke English), climbed on the shoulders of Geraldo, the other technician.  Geraldo stood on the ledge of our upper patio and hoisted Paco up so he could scale the wall to the roof.  The new dish and toolbox was hoisted up with a rope and Paco sat up on the roof and went to work.  After some time, Geraldo and Paco were hollering back and forth to adjust the dish so the signal would be clear.  That went on for about a half hour.   After everything was complete, everything came down off the roof just as it had gotten there including Paco….except for the fact that it was dark already and close to 8PM.
These guys are such hard workers!  They got everything up and running for us and this wasn’t even their last job as they were off to Manta after this to do yet another job.   I offered cookies and beverages, which they were grateful for.  Dave showed  Geraldo (who didn’t speak any English) how to download a translator app on his phone.  He seemed very eager to learn English!  Again, we were very grateful that one of the technicians spoke English.  Simple things like explaining that we wanted our TV set up upstairs can be a challenge, though it doesn’t sound that difficult.
While they were working, I managed to find the section in the contract that indicated it was for 24 meses.   I showed it to Paco and he said “Yeah, it’s two years.”.  “But I thought you said it was for 1 year??” I replied.  “No, no…it’s two years,” he said, “but don’t worry if you need to cancel, that’s no problem.”   Alrighty then…
I’ve come to the conclusion that in Ecuador, and maybe most Latin American countries, statements change in a matter of sometimes minutes from the same person.  I’m not sure how to explain this or how I feel about it.  In America, I would instantly not trust that person because they are lying.  But here…honestly I’m not sure what to think.  I don’t think things change as a result of deception or viciousness on their part at all. Just as time is not adhered to, as it is so diligently in the U.S. ,  neither are instructions, contracts, agreements etc.  I don’t say this in a disparaging manner and maybe this is not true of all areas, but this has largely been my experience here.
Am I bothered that my contract says 24 meses?  Nope….
Am I bothered that they didn’t show up on Saturday?  Not really….
This is how I see it.  Maybe the contract says 24 months loosely speaking but can be cancelled at any time.  If I stop payment on my credit card, I doubt they will come after me.  Maybe I’m wrong and time will tell.  🙂
As to how long it took to get here. After seeing how hard and what long hours these guys work being at our place for over two hours, I can’t see how they would be able to be on a tight schedule.
I’m good with it!  I’ve always had the attitude to not sweat the small stuff which is good because that is a way of life here in Ecuador! 




2 thoughts on “Direct TV

  1. Thank you for sharing your new life with all of us. It’s early Sunday morning, and the first in a long time that I’ve been home and had the pleasure of indulging myself in coffee and quiet time. We miss you.


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