When DH and I moved into our new place, we opted for satellite service. We contacted DirectTV who wanted us to sign a contract with them and we politely declined. We then contacted Dish Network telling them if they could give us a good deal we'd go with them. They didn't require a contract if we paid the $49.99 activation fee. We hate contracts especially with companies who might not have such great customer service so we'd rather pay the activation fee one time and be able to get out of service if they were horrible.
I should have known from the horror stories I'd heard, that nothing would go right. While still at the old house, I called DN to get the setup scheduled at the new place. I was on the phone for an hour with the first guy because he couldnt' seem to get their computers to run right to accept my order. He kept asking me for my info over and over again and didn't like it when I asked him "where are you located?" as he replied "I'm not allowed to disclose that". Yeah like I'm going to come over there and do you bodily harm? I knew that he was in a foreign country, I could tell not only by his accent (everyone I'd talked to there had a foreign accent), but our connection wasn't great either. All in all it took me THREE Phone calls to dish network supervisors to try and get our initial service setup. All that was in one day, I spent a total of nearly three hours on the phone. Finally, I got so disgusted and infuriated I hung up. Then I spent the next few precious hours trying to track down Dish Network's corporate information. Trying to find a number to their HQ was challenging. I checked out public records and found CEO Charlie Ergen's information but couldn't locate a phone number.
Finally I was checking out Forbes magazine online and found the profile for Dish Network with Charlie Ergen's info and a corporate number. I called the number and eventually got someone named John (whose ID number I kept) to help me. Thanks to him we got our service setup and received a one-month credit on service and three months of FREE HBO.
I wish that were the end of it. Remember, we just signed up for this effective April 1, 2006.
First let me say that we started with the Top 60 package for $34.99 and then moved to the Top 120 for $44.99 per month plus taxes.
Our first bill was screwed up. We didn't have the credits applied and so the bill was near $80.00. I had to call and explain to someone that we were owed a credit of one month plus the 14.99 for HBO. Finally they adjusted the total and it came to $32.54 and that's what we paid.
The second bill came in and was still screwed up. They were billing us for the past due amount from the previous month, which was actually the exact amount of credit we were supposed to be receiving PLUS they still hadn't adjusted our HBO credit for the current bill. I called in the evening and spoke to someone and together we laid out the bill and they gave me my new total which was something like $40.55. And the next evening, I paid that bill.
Yesterday, the third bill arrived and this one was $117.06 they were still charging us for HBO (which the last person said be sure to cancel before 7/7 and you won't be charged another month) and they were showing we owed a past due amount from the previous bill (#2). My husband was so angry he called them and when the girl on the phone (again, in a foreign nation) refused to do anything about it, he told her we were cancelling.
The first thing she said to him was that they would have to charge a cancellation fee because we had a contract. That's when he lost it. We never signed a contract. I was specific with DN from the very beginning, even reiterated it through the guy who installed the service, we would not sign a contract. Remember now they charged our credit card $49.99 at the very beginning and so we did not have to have a contract. DH finally hung up on them he was so angry. The phone rang again and I picked up and it was Vanessa at DN again. And now she tried to pull this crap on me too. She told me "you have a contract" and I started on her. I told her I don't know what crap they were trying to pull (and I was being as nice as I could) but we signed NO contract. I said "and I have proof, I have paperwork and I have the $49.99 charge on our credit card for the activation fee that was charged at that time for those who opted out of a contract".
You know what she says? Instead of "one moment let me check that out for you" she just blurts out that everyone gets charged an activation fee. And then she continued to go on and on about how much we owed. She did finally admit we didn't have a contract but I found it very unprofessional of her that she blurted out they would charge us a cancellation fee rather than looking at our record to see we had no contract.
I was so disgusted with her I said "get me to the person who can cancel us" and I spoke to Sabrina who was so nice and in ten minutes she had not only reviewed our bill and admitted their errors, she credited the bill, added another free month of HBO and now our bill is $57.10, that includes the $44.99 in service, $3.99 for one pay per view movie, and taxes. I asked her "can you assure me that when we get our next bill all the credits will be issued" and she said that the only thing I'd have to call about was HBO and have them credit that. Our HBO is free till August 6th, I am going to cancel it long before that. She told me how to get a hold of her if we have any problems and I plan to do just that.
And by the way, Sabrina did agree that our record shows we did not sign a contract.
In the meantime, I have Charlie Ergen's HQ address and phone number and I am going to write a letter to them expressing my disappointment at the customer no-service. And then DH and I are sitting down this weekend to decide the fate of Dish Network. Honestly we don't watch it enough to justify the cost, it's a shame we can't pick and pay for the half dozen channels we actually watch, and the customer service sucks.
I am upset about a couple of things--the outsourcing of customer service (and our private information) to foreign countries, the lack of customer service (promises never kept, credits never issued, and reps who lie about contracts that were never signed.)
I don't know if Charlie Ergen, CEO of EchoStar (which owns DN) cares about these kinds of problems but I think that if you're going to SELL a product, you have a responsibility to SERVICE that product. Right now that is not happening and even though some may think it futile for me to write him, I am going to do it. I'm tired of it. I am sick and tired of the SHITTY CUSTOMER SERVICE.
For the record here's Dish Network/EchoStar's information. If you have been through a similar nightmare with DN, I highly recommend you let somebody know about it. I have an alternate number 720-514-7267 that I was given when I called and complained to John at HQ, but many times it's busy. You can however reach the HQ offices at the below address and phone number:
Charles W Ergen, Chairman & CEO
9601 South Meridian Boulevard
Englewood, CO 80112