Thursday, October 28, 2010

Beware Dish Network!

About a month ago, my roommate and I were evaluating our monthly expenses and figuring out where we could cut back and save a little bit of money. Sadly, we decided that cable TV really needed to go. We didn't watch it enough to justify keeping it, and after almost 4 years of service, we knew we were out of our contract.

Called the company, and as predicted, they offered us the moon and some really good discounts to keep the service. Nonetheless, we declined, and the representative said that we needed to return our two receivers and two remotes, and they'd even send out prepaid boxes to get them back to the company. A week later, the boxes arrived. So far so good. 

Okay, our fault, didn't box the packages up immediately, and the UPS man came to pick them up before they were ready. I apologized to the UPS guy, he said it was no problem, he'd be back around the next day, and just leave the packages on the porch. Now, I'm not leaving $600 worth of equipment outside, but I knew that someone was going to be home at all times for the next couple of days. 

Here's the thing, he never came back. 

Dish Network sends us a notice in the mail saying that if the equipment isn't returned by November 2nd, they will withdraw $601.47 from my bank account, which has been used to pay the bill in the past. Sufficiently warned, I took the boxes to the UPS store instead of waiting for the UPS driver to return. I calculated the days and figured that there were more than enough business days between then and November 2nd to  travel between here and there, and thought nothing about it. 

Until this morning. 

I started receiving the overdraft notices on my account overnight last night. By the time I logged into my email, there were 5. Three more were sent later to my phone. Panicked, I logged into my email and saw that Dish had processed a charge on my account in the amount of $601.47.

Um. It's Thursday, October 28th. November 2nd is next Tuesday, (which everyone who plans to vote in any election should know by now is the day the political ads will stop!)

I make a decent living, but it's still paycheck to paycheck, and folks, I don't have an extra $600 in my bank account. My account is overdrawn in excess of $400.

I called Dish Network, and the customer care rep says that there is nothing that she can do. She didn't care that the receivers were in transit, and she refused to take down the tracking numbers. She said that it didn't matter, that there was nothing that could be done, she didn't care that it was charged early, and she was powerless to reverse or refund the charges. 

I called back and immediately asked for a supervisor. Look, I work on the phones, too, and it's not fair to bitch out the first person who answers the call. They likely don't have enough clout to get the job done anyway, so why wait until they transfer the call? 

I spoke to a supervisor named Richmond. (Yes, I have his number, as well.) He told me that he has no idea why I was mailed any paperwork at all, and he doesn't know where the date of November 2nd came from. I assured him that I would be happy to fax him a copy, and got the fax number. He also told me that he has no record of the account being charged, and again I said I would be happy to fax a copy of my overdrawn bank statement.

Then he goes on to tell me that I should just be happy that Dish Network didn't charge me earlier, and that I was beyond my 30 day limit to return the equipment, and that Dish had cut me a "break" by not charging earlier. 

I...I'm sorry. Didn't you just tell me that you have no record of the account being charged?

I asked him if he could see the receivers in transit to his location and he said that yes, he could. Now, if they're in transit to Dish using a PRE-PAID label that DISH PROVIDED, and he can TRACK THEM, where the hell else are they going to wind up? He can see them on their way! I asked why I was being charged if he could see them in transit.

He again reiterated that it was beyond 30 days, and I told him once again that I have the paperwork that states that November 2nd is my deadline day. I could tell that I was getting to him, because his voice started shaking at this point. 

I said, fine. You can see that they're getting there on Tuesday. Now, when will you be refunding the money you took out of my account early? He said that I needed to watch the tracking numbers and see when they arrived at the station, then call and request my refund. 

I asked why the refund wouldn't be processed automatically once they had their equipment? He said that it didn't work that way, that customers have to call and ask for their refunds when returning equipment. (Um, hello, scam much? Imagine people everywhere returning items for a refund and having the nerve to expect that a company would...I don't know...refund them when the equipment is mailed back?)

Fine. Since suddenly there is miraculously no disagreement that they charged my account, (EARLY!) I asked how long it took to process refunds. 7-10 days if they decide to mail me a check. 

Let's review: 
I mail the receivers back with a prepaid label that will have them arrive on November 2nd.
I have paperwork in my hand that says I will not be charged for no-equipment return until November 2nd.
Dish charges me on October 28th for not returning their equipment.
Dish initially states that they DIDN'T charge me, then recants, saying I should be glad they didn't charge me earlier. 
Dish states that my refund won't be processed when the equipment arrives on November 2nd, (which is when they should have charged me in the first place.) I have to call, again, and request a refund. 
Dish states there is nothing they can do and that I am in the wrong. 

I have been a GOOD customer of Dish for nearly 4 years.
I have NEVER made a payment late. 
I didn't JUST have basic cable, but a Top package.
I complied with their request to have their equipment back on November 2nd.

And they charged me early, overdrew my account, and cannot offer an explanation as to why. 

I can. 

Because their system is set up to screw people. They are banking on the fact that people will mail back their equipment and forget to call to notify Dish that the packages have arrived, so that Dish will charge customers a non-return fee. (What, there's no one monitoring the loading docks? Packages just sit out there unnoticed?) They're banking on the fact that most people fear confrontation enough that they won't call to complain that they were charged a fee they didn't deserve. 

They were banking on the fact that I wouldn't notice that October 28th is NOT November 2nd and that they took $601.47 out of my account prior to when my contract with them said they could. 

And then they had the NERVE to tell me I should be glad it hadn't been taken out sooner. 

Shame on you, Dish Network. I've been an excellent customer for nearly 4 years, and this is the level of customer service you provide? I will never again be a customer of yours.


  1. wow. i'm suddenly extremely glad i haven't had cable or satellite for years. and thanks to this story, i'm keeping it that way! no service for me!

  2. My mom had a run-around with them on canceling, but nothing like this because they had basic service and no equipment to return. But the lady put my mom on a guilt trip. And they had been customers for over 10 years!

  3. That is INSANE! I would call the bank and request a stop payment to Dish anyway just to be sure. I'm glad you are assertive enough to go after them. I would have to send Kenny in on that job. You go girl!

  4. I had problems when I canceled Dish too, but not this extreme. I returned the equipment, but they wanted me to take the dish OFF of my roof. Well, I lived in a duplex and our neighbor's dish was side-by-side with mine. I wasn't about to send MK up there to take down a dish and then it actually be our neighbor's dish. They seriously said, "Well, you'll have to hire a dish rep to come get it." Uh, no. I won't. We got lucky and the guy moving into our duplex apparently wanted Dish so they kept it on the roof. At least, I think that's what happened because they didn't charge us anything and we didn't have to get anyone to take it down. I seriously doubt they wouldn't have charged us if the new renters weren't getting Dish. Ugh.


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