Saturday, April 12, 2008

Review - Dish Network

I was a Dish Network customer in Cherry Valley, CA for 2 years when I moved to Oxnard. During that whole time I had a great experience. Everything worked as it was supposed to, and the one time it broke they fixed it quickly. Keep in mind that Cherry Valley is in the middle of nowhere.

I moved to Oxnard and intended to cancel my service, as I had been told I would have to pay for the move since I refused to pay an extra $6 per month for insurance. When I called to cancel they convinced me to sign another two year contract without paying to move my service. I should have followed my gut on this one.

The Dish Network tech came to my house and installed the service. Within a day we lost the ability to watch tv upstairs. I looked the connections over, and then called customer service. They walked me through some stuff, but were unable to resolve the issue. They were going to send a tech out, so we ended the call amiably. I took another look at the cabling, and decided the tech didn't know what he was doing. I had uninstalled the unit from my old house, and knew how it was supposed to look. In moments I fixed the tv. I rerouted the cabling to the appropriate places and changed the signal from air to cable, as it was plugged in by a coax cable. This fixed the problem so we called off the house call.

Well, a few days later it broke again. My wife called and they attempted to force us to pay for the house call. She explained that one was already going to be sent, that we fixed the first problem ourselves, and had only had our service for three days. This fell on deaf ears. Finally she asked to talk to the manager, at which point the girl immediately approved the house call at no charge.

Well, it turned out that the tech had put a staple through the coax cable when he tried to hide it under the carpet near my fireplace. He replaced the cable and things started working...until the DVR broke.

I ordered a new DVR and waited for it. What happened next wasn't Dish Network's fault, but the way they handled it made them complicit. The forecast that week was the biggest storm California had seen in years. All the news stations were preparing us for some massive rain storms to come through southern California, dropping as much as 14 inches of rain in the first day. What did UPS do about this? They left my new DVR in a puddle at my front door, in open sky getting rained on. I put the box on some towels and promptly called Dish Network to arrange for another DVR, explaining what had happened.

I was told that I had to turn in the wet DVR before I could get another one, so I got the instructions for returning it. I told them I wasn't going to pay for service since I wasn't receiving service, and he told me that he credited my account. Apparently he didn't pass the word on to his company, as they cut off the service for nonpayment. This was after I had confirmed with 3 separate people on 3 separate days that I owed nothing.

I was not happy, to put it as kindly as possible. I spent the next week on the phone with customer service, trying to get the mess sorted out. I logged 12 hours in three days during that week, and was so fed up with Dish Network that I decided to move on.

While I had great service in Cherry Valley, my horrible experience in Oxnard forces me to give Dish Network a rating of 1 out of 10 for both value and customer service.


After switching to Time Warner Cable I received a call from Dish Network's retention department. They offered me a pretty sweet deal, but I told her I would be in a better position to decide in a couple of days and she should call me back. The deal was 3 months free (1st, 10th, and 20th months), $14 off the first 6 months, and no contract.

I called back a couple of weeks later and was told that the girl had no business offering me that deal, and that she couldn't honor it. I was dismayed, but accepted my fate. Things kept getting worse with Time Warner, so I tried again. Apparently I was two weeks too late this time. I was signing up for the exact deal I mention above, when my credit card raised a flag on their system. He asked me if it was a real credit card or a debit card. I told him it was a debit card with a Visa logo on it, therefore making it qualify as a Visa.

He explained to me that two weeks ago Dish Network implemented a rule that only credit card holders could become new customers. The DVR costs $600, it was explained to me, and Dish Network wanted to protect themselves from loss. Having already turned in my broken DVR and following their instructions to the letter, I found this rather insulting. I do not have a credit card, as I prefer to pay for any luxuries in cash, thus better managing my money. The fact that I don't have a credit card should not be the reason I don't qualify for a service I had for two years. I never missed a payment, and they got their equipment back. They even managed to purge me from the system, so even if I was delinquent, which I wasn't they had no way of proving it. I was denied solely because I am being responsible with my money. Bad form Dish Network, bad form.

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