But the Ocean Township octogenarian has a special affinity for football — especially the New York Giants.
His wife, Tere, 87, likes to watch “Law and Order: SVU” every night on USA Network.
Last fall, the couple decided they wanted to give Verizon FIOS a try, but when they called, they learned the service wasn’t offered in their neighborhood.
The rep switched Nolan to speak to someone at DIRECTV, which in conjunction with Verizon, offers a service bundle package for Verizon customers who don’t have access to FIOS for television.
But this story isn’t about Verizon.
It’s about Nolan’s problem with the installation of
DIRECTV in his home.
A technician came to the Nolan home to hook up DIRECTV to Nolan’s 30-inch Panasonic television on Sept. 22, 2012.
The tech came and went, but after he was gone, Nolan realized his VCR wasn’t connected to the television anymore.
“It took me three days to get the installer back to find out that he had disconnected my VCR and could not reactivate it because I did not have a HD TV set,” Nolan said in a letter.
“I am 89 years old and have few joys left, one being watching the good old days with my kids and grandkids,” Nolan said of his 60-plus family videotape collection. “No way did I want to throw all those tapes out or go out and spend another $500+++ for a new HD set.”
Hoping the company would be able to fix it, Nolan said he called and wrote letters to DIRECTV. The communications got him nowhere, he said.
Nolan said he didn’t have extra money to spend on a new HD television, saying, “I have to be financially careful with my bucks,” but he was very unhappy with his inability to watch his family videos after the DIRECTV install.
After several months of deliberations — and missing an important Giants game because of an outage — Nolan decided to cancel the service on Jan. 22.
He said he asked the company to pick up its equipment. It eventually sent a box for Nolan to return the items, which he did, but the dish remained.
DIRECTV didn’t want it back, Nolan finally learned after additional calls.
“So I have to look at this ugly thing outside my window,” he said. “Finally I got my son to take it away and he put it in the garbage.”
That wasn’t the end of DIRECTV for the Nolans.
When Nolan signed on for the service, he penned a contract for 24 months of service. Early cancellation would cost him a hefty fee.
“Yes, I did sign their contract, which does call for a $400 cancellation fee. No doubt about that,” he said.
That was still cheaper than a new HD set, and Nolan said he hoped the company would eliminate the fee because of his reason for cancelling.
Nolan wrote a letter to DIRECTV, dated Jan. 31, which explained his reasons for early cancellation.
“About a month later I received a response from DIRECTV dated Feb. 19, 2013, which is a routine form letter that does not address any of my points,” he wrote to Bamboozled. “That, I considered arrogant!”
When the cancellation charge — which actually came to $343.33 — appeared on his credit card, Nolan contacted his lender to dispute it.
But his credit card denied the dispute, which is commonplace when a contract is involved.
And the charge was back on Nolan’s bill with the next billing cycle.
“They just ignored me. You hate to get ignored all the time,” he said, so Nolan contacted Bamboozled.
“It’s just my frustration,” he said. “Technically they’re right because I signed, but if the thing doesn’t satisfy, me what am I supposed to do?”
OFF THE HOOK
We reviewed the contract and the letters sent by Nolan.
Yes, he did agree to the early cancellation fee, so legally, DIRECTV is correct in charging his credit card that amount.
But Nolan wasn’t happy from the beginning, and he explained to the company several times why the videotapes were important to him.
He said if he had known his VCR wouldn’t work with the system — something we think the installer should have mentioned when he was at the home — Nolan said he never would have agreed to the installation.
We reached out to DIRECTV to ask it to reconsider the charge, given the circumstances and Nolan’s reason for cancellation.
On the same day, DIRECTV responded.
It said its records showed Nolan called to disconnect his service because he didn’t have a picture. It offered to troubleshoot, the spokeswoman said, but Nolan declined the assistance.
“Our records reflect a valid ECF (early cancellation fee) letter was sent to Mr. Nolan and he called after receiving the letter,” the spokesman said. “While Mr. Nolan claims to have had technical issues, our records confirm DIRECTV was not given an opportunity to validate his claim or provide a resolution.”
But, she said, the company would waive the fee as a “one-time courtesy.”
Even though Nolan has a different version of events — and DIRECTV never answered us about whether or not it received Nolan’s Jan. 31 letter (of which we have a copy), nor did it address the VCR issue — we’re glad that the company is letting him off the hook.
Nolan said he received a call from DIRECTV’s president’s office later that day, saying it would give him a credit on his credit card for the amount in dispute.
“I guess I’m in the clear,” he said, promising to let us know if the charge was off for good.