Dear Consumer Reports..
I have been an avid reader and subscriber of Consumer Reports for many years. I think you do a great service in policing the industry and standing up to the Manufactures of what's bad, unsafe and what's good for the consumer.
I have a beef with Dish network. I have been a customer for almost 9 years. I have upgraded from time to time on programming and ended up with their top 250, plus local channels, plus fox sports and second receiver. My monthly bill was $74 a mo. I recently purchase a new Sony 52'' LCD TV. So I called Dish to discuss up grade to Hi Def. They quoted $200 for their "$600" satellite receiver and would throw in a movie pkg. for three months free and another movie package for 1 cent for a year plus free installation plus another dish antenna to get hi def. satellite at 61.5 deg. The upgrade would be $10 mo. I said, no way, I see ads where you will give the receiver free for new customers and if I don't get it I'll drop you and sign up with Direct TV. The Gal said, Oh, OK your call is being transferred to another dept. The second gal said the receiver would cost me $50. Again I said no way and repeated my threat. Again my call was transferred. This time a guy apologized and said, he would give it to me free. However, I had to make a two year commitment and had to give a charge card so payments would be made automatically. I balked about that because we had been billed monthly and paying by check for 9 years. So we had a good payment history. By this time after being on the phone for several hours I reluctantly gave in on the credit card.
When the credit card statement came the first time a charge was made of $174. I called dish network and the guy said It was an "honest mistake", $50 of that charge was for the receiver. I was furious. After we got that straightened out I said the bill is still to high. Further investigation showed I was being billed for three month of "free movies" at $10 month. So they had billed me $80 too much. Then I said to the guy. You know, the Company you work for (Dish) is guilty of theft. They never have to borrow money to improve their infrastructure or expand operations, they just dip into their customers account with "honest mistakes"and have the use of free money for the time until it gets resolved. He said, I can't comment on that, I just work here. I said if we assume that in one months period 50,000 people make programming and upgrade changes and multiply that by $80 that would be 4.5 million dollars of free money to use. Then I told the guy I insist that I make payments by check because you're using my money, and go back to sending a monthly statements so I know what I'm being billed for. He said, Oh you can do that. You don't have to do it by credit card.?? The marketing strategy is to use complicated rules with constantly changing promotions and "give a ways" so as to make it difficult to know what precisely what you get for what you pay. Another deception is the free movies. You are actually charged for them on your bill and then later you get credit. Duh. Another requirement is to have a phone line connected to the receiver. If you don't then it's another $5 a mo. Is it possible they can record data on what you watch and then phone it back to Dish. Invasion of privacy?
2612 H Rd.
Syracuse Ne. 68446.
Product or Service Mentioned: Dish Network Tv Package.