Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Dish On "The Dish Network"

I know in life we use products that don't quite match up with the hype behind them. Often times, customer service can be more than less than desirable. Not everything is as it's cracked up to be. And then life goes on and you buy a different product. No big deal, right?

Then comes a situation you just can't for the life of you figure out what the hell happened. What went wrong? Why did this product and or company fail?

Hindsight is always 100 percent. Such is the story that I'm about to tell you. It deals with a company called "The Dish Network". They are a cable satellite company. Dealing with this company has left me scratching my head as if I had the worlds worst case of dandruff ... ever!

It all started when I came back from New Mexico about seven years ago when I was there for what I thought at the time, to live the rest of my days. Yeah, that lasted for about three months or so. Anyhow, I returned to Ohio and quickly moved into the place where I still live for the most part when I'm not at my girlfriend's place. Of course, when I first moved here, I spent a lot of my time at the lake house.

I went about six weeks without cable. That's how little I was even home. And when I was home, I was either writing on my books, songs or riding the web through Scioto Communications, a little local internet satellite company. I started to consider maybe getting cable. I didn't even have a phone hooked up at this point. When I was "home" I didn't want to be disturbed. The lake house was but a few minutes away.

Checking the mail one day, U.S. postal type, I was sent an advertisement card from "The Dish Network" offering a pretty good deal. I normally throw this kind of stuff away but this day, I decided to keep it, go to the lake house and give them a call.

The deal being offered was basic cable programming for 19.95 a month. For an additional 5 dollars, I could get my local stations included in this package for a total of 24.95. I also had to pay 5 dollars a month for their "cable box". Bringing the total of the package to 29.95 a month. Sounded good to me, and it was about time to get some cable in the place I guess.

So I called them from the lake house one day, my parents were there to enjoy some boating, fishing, swimming or whatever. We had just finished lunch when I called. We went through the routine of confirming everything mentioned on the "mailer" and once I decided to give it a go, I was told that I needed to put down a fifty dollar payment for installation. Sounded good to me. However, it HAD to be done with a credit card.

Now this is where I have a little problem. First of all, once upon a time, I did used to have a credit card. I learned very quickly that by using a credit card, I would spend more money in the long run. A year later, I got rid of it. That was back in the day. However, on the rare occasions that I did need a credit card for whatever reason, I had a few people who were more than willing to "lend" me theirs. My parents were a couple of those people.

At first, I was reluctant to do it. My mother happened to overhear my conversation and offered her credit card for the fifty dollars, provided they promise not to tack on any hidden expenses. I relayed this information to the person on the other end of the line and he not only promised me (us) that no such thing would occur, but in fact that after running it through, he would delete the credit card number and assured me (us) that they (The Dish Network) would not even store it in their system. I wasn't completely sold on that promise, nor was my mother, but in the act of good faith, it was agreed upon.

Everything went according to plan. A few days later, the installer arrived to get everything hooked up. Once completed, I signed the contract, gave him the promo card, and out the door he went. Now, besides the agreed upon price of $29.99 plus taxes, etc, per month, which added up to approximately 34.00 dollars and some change, I also had the option of paying online via E-check, or credit card or I could have them mail me a statement every month at this point and pay by regular check. I chose the latter, I wanted them to mail me a statement and I would pay by regular check. Done deal, right?


Two months passed and they had yet to send me a bill. I knew something wasn't right, but I decided to wait another week before contacting them about it. Then, one night while watching TV, a notice appeared on my screen for me to get online and contact them in regards to payment or have my services cancelled. I became confused. 

I quickly moved to get online and create my online account with them and proceeded to look at my bill. Something clearly wasn't right. When I saw what I owed, I knew something was amiss. Fortunately, they had a customer feedback section where I could talk directly with a representative. So I did. The first problem that needed to be addressed was the fact that they were supposed to send me a bill through the postal service. I thought we got that problem resolved. The next problem was that they were billing me ten dollars more than what we agreed upon, as per their promo card. The first 18 months was supposed to be the $29.99 a month and then the last 18 months of the contract was for their regular price of $39.99 per month. They were charging the $39.99 a month right from the get go. 

I explained the situation to the representative and it appeared, we cleared up that problem as well, even though, the rep said she would have to double check everything. The issue, apparently, was that the contract wasn't put into the system the way it was written on my copy. I assumed the problem would be properly fixed and went ahead, for that one time only, make the payment with an E-check just to keep them from cancelling the service. I signed out with the knowledge that my over payment for the first two months would be applied to the next months bill and that I would get that bill through the postal service. 

Fast forward to the next month, and no bill. I signed in onto my account with them and saw that they were still trying to bill me through their website. And to make matters worse, they were still charging me the $39.99 instead of the agreed upon $29.99. This time, i decided to wait until the next day to call them and get this situation resolved via telephone. 

 The next day, on the phone, I spoke with another rep, and explained everything all over again. The promo card, the price, the billing procedures, all of it. Then it happened, the rep said that the reason the price was $39.99 was because there was a clause in the contract that specified if a price increase occurs across the board, then our initial agreement would be null and void. And the rep claimed that indeed, a price increase did occur across the board. Meaning that every customer of The Dish Network had to pay an extra ten dollars a month. 

What could I do? This was written into the contract and hey, if a price increase occurred, then so be it. I was also reassured (again) that my next bill would come via postal service. So again, I made the decision to go ahead and yet again pay through their website with an E-check. (Just to be co-operative.) 

The next day, I went to a few neighbors whom I knew also had The Dish Network and inquired if they had gotten a service increase of ten dollars. After all, this is what I was told. All three of them that I asked said no, they did not get a bill increase. Now I was starting to get upset. Since I had already paid the bill, all I could do was call back up and talk to that rep who lied to me. Once I got her back on the phone (I asked for her by name) I told her about what I had discovered. The bitch hung up on me! So I called back. She wouldn't take my call when i requested her so I had to talk to someone else. i explained the situation again to yet another rep. I was given assurances that she would straighten everything out. I was also told that my now thirty dollar over-payment would be applied to my next bill. And that my next bill would arrive to me through the postal service. Finally, everything was resolved, right?


Month four arrived and still, no bill! I signed onto my account and there it was, $39.99! By now, I was livid. The next day, i called them back. I went through the whole damn scenario all over again with yet another rep. However, this lady wasn't assuring me of anything. She maintained that my contract was for $39.99 a month and not $29.99 a month. After I told her about the other rep lying to me about the so called price increase across the board, she said, "I wouldn't know about that." 

This is when I told her that I was not going to pay the $39.99. That if they were not going to honor our contract of $29.99 a month, then according to the laws of the state of Ohio, the contract is null and void. I then proceeded to request that they cancel my services. The lady said she couldn't do that. I told her it didn't matter because I was cancelling it, and was not going to pay. 

I called Time Warner that same day and had them come out a week later to hook me up. I got phone, cable and internet package. No problems. I put The Dish Network behind me, right?


 About three months later, I got a call from my mother. It would seem that The Dish Network tried to steal about 500 dollars from her through her credit card. Yeah, the one the first guy said he wasn't going to even keep the numbers of in their system, much less, use it again. I explained everything to her and then she turned around and called her credit card company and eventually, had the charge removed from her credit card. Nice try Dish Network, but no dice! 

A few months later, I got a phone call from The Dish Network. They wanted their equipment back. I told them I wanted my fifty dollar deposit back and an apology for them trying to steal money from my parents by illegally charging the cost of the equipment on their credit card. The rep said he would see what he could do, meanwhile, he was going to send me a self-addressed and prepaid box through UPS and wanted me to pack it with the equipment and send it back. I told him fine. 

A few days later, the box arrived. I packed it up, but did not send it back out. Not yet. I called the rep back at the number he left me and asked him when I could expect my fifty dollar refund and apology. He said he couldn't authorize it. I said I wasn't going to return their equipment until they did. Stale-mate. The call ended.

I waited for six months for them to do the right thing, without any result. This is where the story ends. I no longer have the equipment. I did get my fifty dollars though however, not from them. Long story short, The Dish Network fails. They lied to me right from the start. They failed to honor their contract and they tried to steal five hundred dollars from my parents. Never again, Dish Network. Never again. 

I'm Carroll Bryant .... and this is The Looking Glass.

Things We Learned:

* The Dish Network lied to me, failed to honor their word, and tried to steal money from my parents

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