I don’t know why, but I’m sort of sad about this one. You see, for 4 years I’ve had Dish Network service. In those four years I’ve been nothing but pleased with their products, service and pricing. I’ve even seen many people sign up with them based on my referrals.

Well, in the past months things have gotten bad. I think it started when my wife and I decided we needed to save money, so we decided to cancel our service.

As some of you may know, when you decide to cancel your service, they will transfer you to an account specialist to try to cut you a good deal to get you to stay. Well, we decided to cut our half of our channels to get our payment under $25 per month. The biggest loss for me was ESPN. The biggest loss for my wife was Food Network. But, my wife still had TLC and HGTV, while I had TBS to watch my Braves games… or so I thought.

Shortly after making this change I could rarely get TBS. It kept blacking out and losing the signal. I tried calling twice. Both times the person on the other line would have me walk through all these ridiculous and unnecessary steps, then in the end would tell me my dish or cables are bad. Yeah right! Then they wanted me to pay $100, or $30 plus a monthly warrantee fee to have a technician come out and look at it. My feeling is that it is their equipment, I really don’t feel there is anything wrong with it, and so if you think that is the case, you cover the cost to come look at it.

The reason I don’t think it was my equipment was because every other channel came in just fine. It was only TBS. Support would have me try setting different satellite numbers and transponder numbers. The problem was though, that it didn’t matter what numbers I set, it was always looking for the same transponder number (119 – which had the weakest signal) for TBS only. When I tried to tell this to support, I simply got silence for a few seconds (I can just picture their “deer in the headlights” look), then they would continue on with “…now let’s try this…”. I’m sure they really have now idea what they are doing. They are just some kids working their way through college, following some scripts they see on the screen. Anything out of the ordinary they can’t handle. When they want to charge you to send out a technician, that is company policy so they could care less if you say you would rather just sign up for a competitors’ offer. Really, they’re just punching the clock and they don’t care about the company they work for. Why should they? They’re probably earning about $10-$15 an hour listening to frustrated people all day. I know from experience that this get old fast.

Anyway, I learned from my father in law that about the same time he started having the exact same issues. Half of his channels work perfectly, the other half don’t. He also called support twice with the same results. After we talked about all this, we came to the same conclusion. We just need to quit and give DIRECTV a try. Generally they are a little more expensive as they don’t offer the same (cheaper) package deals, and you have to pay up front if you want DVR service. But I’m quite familiar with all the latest deals as I maintain a comparison chart at http://www.direct-vs-dish.com.

In one last attempt to let them redeem themselves, I emailed them the following letter:

To whom it may concern:
I am writing to let you know that you have some major issues with your set up right now. I’ve tried calling support twice, but I get very frustrated with the guys on the other end of the line. Even though I’ve just told them I reset my equipment while waiting [forever] on hold they still have me do it again – as well as other stupid tasks that have no relevance.
The problem is that for the past month or so I’ve started having issues receiving TBS. It is only this channel that I have problems with. It is always loosing the signal, or cutting in and out. This is happening even though there is no wind and not a cloud in the sky. Support has me playing with different satellite and transponder numbers, but it doesn’t matter what I set in the set up menu, it always looks for the same one when I get the no signal (002) error.
Support then tells me that my equipment or cables are bad and I need to pay $100 or $30 plus a monthly fee to get it fixed. First of all, it’s your equipment. Come fix it free. Second, I HIGHLY DOUBT it is my equipment. I’m guessing your support guys go through a little troubleshooting script and this is their last option – tell you it’s your equipment and to pay to get it fixed.
The other reason I don’t think this is my equipment is because it’s still fairly new. I’ve had your service for 3 ½ years now. I’ve never had problems like this.
My parents are having the same problems. They’ve had your service much longer than I have (maybe 7 years now). In the same time frame (within the last month or so) they been having the same issues – all of a sudden they just can’t get half of their channels.
I have an affiliate web site (http://direct-vs-dish.com) where users post reviews of DIRECTV & Dish Network. Your reviews have all been one-star reviews lately due to the EXACT SAME ISSUES! I’m sure your support guys don’t really care about your company and it doesn’t matter to them if someone says they are going to make the switch to DIRECTV. But someone in your company should be concerned about this because you have a major problem and it needs to be fixed.
My father-in-law is ready to switch to DIRECTV. I’ll make $110 on the deal so I have no reason to discourage him to do so; I can also make $110 each helping other family & friends make the switch to DIRECTV. That’s my plan right now unless you can give me a reason not to.
Dustin Davis
This is the response I got:

Dear Dustin Davis,
Thank you for your email. We want to apologize for not meeting your expectations in customer service. We pride ourselves with providing each and every customer with a positive experience when contacting us. Feedback from our customers, both positive and negative, drives the quality of our customer service. It is apparent in our quest for providing our customers with world class customer service, we have fallen short. The decisions made are based on company policy. If we find that a policy is negatively impacting the majority of our customer’s satisfaction, that policy is scrutinized for effectiveness. Again, we apologize for any confusion or inconvenience caused by this issue.
As a current customer, you may also use our website to view your current or previous billing statements, add services, or make payments to your account. Please use the link https://customersupport.dishnetwork.com/customercare/UserManagement/login.jsp to visit our Online Customer Support Center.
Your business is greatly appreciated and we thank you for allowing us to be of assistance to you. If you have any further questions or concerns, please refer to www.dishnetwork.com or reply to this email.
Jose S.
DISH Network eCare
Okay, Jose appears to be very kind and sincere with his elaborate apology, or Jose is another 9 to 5 employee sending me a stupid form letter. I choose to believe the latter. Why? Because he didn’t address a any of my issues other than my complaint against support (which was the least of my concerns).

Plus, another thing I find annoying and slightly comical is the second paragraph. Oh, I can go online to look at my account? That’s great news! That will solve my problems. Duh!!! How do you think I submitted this letter that included all my account information!

Seriously, minutes after receiving this email I was on the phone calling Dish Network. I got my account specialist on the phone and told them I wanted to quit due to bad service. My account specialist (Candice with a reference code of SUV) was not as polite as previous account specialists I’ve had. I think she took it personally when I told her they have bad service. She tried to reason that my there really was a problem with my equipment and that I can pay the monthly warrantee fee of… I cut her short and told her to spare the shpill – I’ve had enough. Obviously there are bigger problems there that they are either unaware of, or just not dealing with properly. She was quite terse with me on the phone and gave me all the information to pack up my equipment and send it back within 15 days or they would charge me for it. Then she added that if I ever wanted service again they would have to charge me a $25.00 fee. Now is that really necessary?

My wife then called her mother and they are going to quit too and give DIRECTV a try.