Why Does Sonic.net Need My Social Security Number?

Television services and online video discussion.
20 posts Page 1 of 2
by rarelaw2 » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:19 pm
I called up today to add DirectTv to my existing Fusion account. At present, we get both our internet access and telephone from Sonic.net, and have done so for several years.

Just as I thought the tv service had been added, the Sonic.net rep said I would have to supply my Social Security number in order to run a credit check before the tv service could be added. This was a real surprise! As an alternative, the rep said I could pay the $200 up front for the DirectTv equipment and then get it back at $5/month. Well, that's 40 months worth of getting the money back!

I can understand that DirectTv could have credit concerns. But it also seems to me that if I have been paying Sonic.net for, in my case, years, then Sonic.net could vouch for me and say I was a good credit risk. Even Comcast didn't ask for my social security number!

A Big Sonic.net Fan who just got dinged.
by dane » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:26 pm
Sorry, as a dealer for DirecTV, they require us to collect SSN, and they apply their usual credit check process as they do for all new DirecTV customers.

-Dane
Dane Jasper
CEO
Sonic
by virtualmike » Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:37 pm
I don't think DirecTV trusts anyone (nor does Dish, from what I've heard).

I'm sure part of the problem is the relative cost of the equipment that is leased from DirecTV.

If you don't pay your Fusion bill, Sonic.net doesn't lose any hard assets.

If you don't pay your Comcast bill and walk away with your cable boxes, the loss to Comcast is higher.

DirecTV, OTOH, believes its equipment is considerably more valuable than Comcast does. As does Dish. Both require credit checks or substantial deposits before service can be started.
by tikvah » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:36 am
I NEVER give my SSN to anyone who doesn't have to have it. That means yes to my bank, an employer, or the government, no to everyone else. I am quite sure I never gave it to Sonic when I signed up for Direct TV a couple years ago. So either this is a new thing or it's not completely enforced. Or there is an alternative I can't recall.

I am not certain but I believe it is illegal to require a SSN in order to conduct ordinary business (not a bank). I recall such rules in the past. Back when identity theft started becoming more well known.

Cyndi
by dane » Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:31 am
tikvah wrote:
I NEVER give my SSN to anyone who doesn't have to have it. That means yes to my bank, an employer, or the government, no to everyone else. I am quite sure I never gave it to Sonic when I signed up for Direct TV a couple years ago. So either this is a new thing or it's not completely enforced. Or there is an alternative I can't recall.

I am not certain but I believe it is illegal to require a SSN in order to conduct ordinary business (not a bank). I recall such rules in the past. Back when identity theft started becoming more well known.

Cyndi


I'm pretty sure that DTV has always required this from our customers - but there is also a deposit option. As the other poster noted, DirecTV has some expensive equipment they place with customers (it receives from outer SPACE!!), and they worry about their economic risk for that gear.

They do provide the deposit alternative, so they don't really require an SSN to do business with them. For those uncomfortable with their credit check, this is an alternative. (Note also, for those who have insufficient credit, they also require a deposit.)
Dane Jasper
CEO
Sonic
by rarelaw2 » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:23 pm
Dane, Could you spell out what the deposit alternative is? How much and when do you get it back? Your rep told me it was $200 and was paid back at $5/month, but if we didn't stay with DirectTv for 40 months (40x5=$200), we would forfeit the balance. Many thanks! Joe Luttrell
by jenny » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:15 am
For as long as Sonic.net has been a DIRECTV dealer, the credit check has been a requirement. NOT agreeing, or failing the credit check makes a customer a "fee" customer to DIRECTV. This means, a $200- $300 deposit is billed by DIRECTV depending on equipment selected. This fee is then reimbursed to the customer in $5.00 per month increments on their DTV bill, as long as the account remains in good standing. If customer cancels before entire amount is refunded, DIRECTV keeps the difference.

Customers only qualify for up to 2 standard receivers at no cost except the $6.00 lease fee and still qualify for the national rebate, but do not get any hardware rebates for DVR, HD, or HD DVR's. Nor do they qualify for the $5.00 off for 24 months.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Jennifer Daly

Supervisor - Billing and Order Processing Team
Sonic.net, Inc
jenny@corp.sonic.net
by torstenb » Fri May 04, 2012 5:22 pm
jenny wrote:
[...] This means, a $200- $300 deposit is billed by DIRECTV depending on equipment selected. This fee is then reimbursed to the customer in $5.00 per month increments on their DTV bill, as long as the account remains in good standing. If customer cancels before entire amount is refunded, DIRECTV keeps the difference.[...]


This alone screams lawsuit and only confirms other horror stories I heard about DirectTV; it also supports what markf commented in the forum post One bill for Sonic.Net & direct TV?.

Just doesn't seem like the right partner for Sonic.net, a company who always tries to put its best foot forward. A bad or poor customer experience from Sonic Fusion DirectTV will still reflect badly on Sonic.net, even though service and billing was provided by DirectTV.

I personally don't give my SSN to a consumer product or services company. I'd rather walk away.

Torsten
by tangof » Tue May 29, 2012 9:20 pm
Could not agree more with torstenb. They most definitely are not a good partner for Sonic. I have been with Sonic for many years, and to date Sonic is one of the very very few companies with a much higher standard, be it customer appreciation or tech support.

DTV is the complete opposite. When Sonic handed over the clients to DTV, I had a bad feeling. Low and behold it got ugly fast. Tech support is virtually not existent. When they started to issue false bills (they removed discounts which shouldn't have been removed and also made 2 billing errors), the nightmare with DTV began. Straightening these things out required a lot of effort and a lot of time. Worse, when a reversal of charges was finally agreed on, they "forgot" to honor the agreement the following billing period. More time and effort wasted.

When Sonic started to offer TV a while back, I was elated as I could finally get away from COMCAST. Now, I am back in a similar situation. Don't really like it.
by dane » Tue May 29, 2012 9:36 pm
I wonder, would Dish be a better option? Anyone have any experience and an opinion?
Dane Jasper
CEO
Sonic
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