Trees interfere with DirecTV

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: In the Dec. 13 column you recommended Lynn-Hom Electronics in Farmington for repairing set-top boxes. I had a negative experience with them on this subject in the last few years, which I think maybe you should hear about.

My mother uses DirecTV. When she started getting bad reception, I called DirecTV for her and arranged for a technician to come out. But there was a long waiting list, so it was going to be a couple of weeks before he could come. In the meantime I noticed a sign at Lynn-Hom Electronics saying they repaired DirecTV set-top boxes.

I took the box to them to see what they could tell me. The repairman at Lynn-Hom (“Homer,” I believe) took the box into a back room and brought it back a little later saying it was “dead.” The implication was that it was unfixable, and he offered to sell me a new one.

Since it was my mother’s set, I left the decision to her. She chose to wait for the DirecTV technician.

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When he finally came, he found that there was no problem with the box, and that the real problem was that some trees had grown taller than they used to be and were blocking the line of sight from the dish to the satellite. We had the trees trimmed, and reception went back to normal.

Clearly the DirecTV technician was right and there was nothing wrong with the box.

I went back to Lynn-Hom and reported this result. The woman who is usually there (“Lynn,” I believe) replied that possibly Homer had meant the box was having a transient failure. (Then why call it “dead” and offer to sell me a new one?) She added that “he doesn’t make mistakes.” (But if it wasn’t a mistake, then it was something worse.)

Maybe Lynn herself was mistaken, having a bad day and reacting defensively. Nevertheless, if I had followed Homer’s advice, I would have spent money replacing the box only to find that this didn’t solve the problem.

I didn’t actually spend any money at Lynn-Hom based on this wrong advice, but the experience has made me very reluctant to take any electronic repair jobs to them. I don’t know how you can use this information, but I thought you ought to be told about it. — Larry Kuenning, larry@qhpress.org

ANSWER: Sun Spots called Lynn-Hom and received the following from Homer Amnbrose at Lynn-Hom Electronics via email:

“I’m sorry, but I don’t recall Mr. Kuenning at the store. Our usual policy is to test the DirectvTV receiver for the customer and to recommend whether to replace or not.

“DirecTV does not repair these units but replaces them. I am sorry if I made a mistake in testing the unit.

“DirecTV receivers are replaced by them, and if I sell a unit, I have to put the sale into the DirecTV website and they collect the payment. I do not collect money for the sale and do this only for the convenience of our customers.

“I apologize to Mr. Kuenning if he had an unpleasant experience with us here at Lynn- Hom Electronics.”

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Thank you for your excellent coverage of the many options available for receiving TV programming in response to my query (Dec. 13). I learned several things I did not know or had not considered.

I am waiting for my next bill to see what is going to happen there, but the boxes were replaced and do have some new features. I suspect the old ones were out of date on top of not being functional. — Marilyn via email

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