SAN BRUNO, Calif. (KGO) --If you order satellite TV, an installer will probably come out to your house and put a dish on your roof. However, if you live in an apartment complex that often isn't possible.
It's a technical challenge to say the least. In a large complex, you can't put a satellite dish on every single unit. Instead, companies use one central dish and then feed the signal to everyone. And this led directly to problems for one viewer.
"The picture would also go blank," DirecTV customer Alan Sakayama said.
Sakayama told 7 On Your Side how his satellite TV signal kept blinking out.
"A little box would come up saying satellite signal error," Sakayama said.
It all started because he lives in a huge complex in San Bruno with nearly 1,300 condos.
"It's not feasible to put satellite dishes on everybody's unit," Sakayama said.
So when he ordered DirecTV, he was sharing one big dish with the entire complex. The signal was routed from the dish through his phone lines and into the receiver. Except it wasn't working.
"Sound dropping, intermittent picture, so certain parts it looked like a jigsaw puzzle," Sakayama said.
He had bundled his TV with Internet service, which wasn't working either. One call to tech support led to another and another.
"Technicians would come out. They would reboot the system. They changed out some of the hardware, it never worked right. I was missing all kinds of shows," Sakayama said.
Consolidated Smart Systems of Los Angeles had installed DirectTV for Sakayama's complex. However, after many tries the technicians gave up trying to feed it to his TV.
"I decided to back out and basically ask for my money back," Sakayama said.
He called both consolidated and DirecTV. The companies kept promising a call back.
"Call after call, email after email and no responses. You start getting angry," Sakayama said.
Finally he contacted 7 On Your Side.
"I think it's a great public service," he said.
7 On Your Side contacted both companies and Sakayama got some results.
"I got all my money refunded," he said.
DirecTV released him from his contract and the companies refunded his fees and payments.
DirecTV told 7 On Your Side, "We are conducting an internal review concerning the technology issues he experienced as well as why his complaint was not handled with more care. We have apologized to Mr. Sakayama for any inconvenience this may have caused him."
Consolidated Smart Systems said, "The customer had a poor experience with obsolete technology. We did our very best and utilized every possible solution at our disposal. We regret that any customer of ours had a poor experience."
Now Sakayama's back watching, on cable.
"I actually felt vindicated, thank you," Sakayama said.
Our thanks to Consolidated Smart Systems and DirecTV for providing a full refund. DirecTV is still investigating what went wrong with the system.