Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Last chance for Dish Network

I'm pretty patient, but this is getting ridiculous. I warn you; this is a complicated story, but this is as good a place as any to document our problems with Dish Network. Perhaps it can help some poor saps like us who love to watch TV.

While watching television last night, one of my favorite nights for TV, a screen--similar to the computer version of what is commonly known as the blue screen of death--appeared. It said our signal was lost. 

This isn't the first time. In fact, we have had technicians come to our house before about this very issue. 

Sorry we used the Dish Mover Program. When we moved to Arkansas, we mistakenly did as we were advised. We left our dish at the old house and brought our receiver with us. That sounded like a great idea, until we realized all kinds of new equipment and new offers were being provided to new customers. Us loyal old-timers got the shaft. We still had the same old system. Upgrades were not available to us. 

And then it got worse. I have no idea how old the system was in our new house. It didn't work very well, so when it failed, we called Dish Network. I asked the technician about the new equipment and new offers for multiple room hook-ups. He said he couldn't do anything about that but advised me to cancel our service and re-apply as a new customer using my maiden name. I didn't think that was quite ethical, so we never did it.

This went on several times. The system would go out, leaving us without television for a day or two until a tech--always a different person each time--would work his magic. 

How much techs do really know about the systems they service? Once, our system went out because the ground wire beneath our house was fried, seemingly by a lightning strike. One tech said he disconnected it because we didn't need it. He said it would just keep getting fried. It seems to me that a ground wire is a safety measure. It fries before our house burns to the ground. That was also the advice from the next tech guy who reinstalled it.

Finally, a new offer for tried and true customers. We finally got an offer from Dish Network that they were going to take care of their existing customers. They offered us HD TV for life, HD Premium channels, free installation, and no charge for any of it. It would be an all new system if we signed up for auto pay and paperless billing. We did, despite a very cumbersome experience since the website wasn't quite up and running yet. 

Hurray, the new system was installed in September.  Two weeks later however, the television went blank again. We called again. Dish Network said they would send someone out again. I wrote about the experience in this blog under the post "Unhappy Couch Potato".

There is more to that story. When it was determined that our brand new HD receiver was faulty, our latest in a long line of technicians, was to install a new one. Sounds easy, right?

Wrong! The tech who came out told us he had a new one in the truck, but he would be in trouble if he gave it to us. He would have to order it. This was on a Saturday afternoon. He said it would arrive Sunday by UPS. I told him UPS didn't deliver on Sunday. He lives nearby--he should have known that. He said he'd call FedEx then. They don't delivery here on Sunday either. He said then Monday. I reminded him that Monday was a holiday--Labor Day. He said no matter what, he would install a new receiver on Monday afternoon. He even called on Sunday to say he would be back Monday afternoon.

It didn't happen. We spoke with Dish Network again who promised a tech would return Tuesday between 8 a.m. and noon. That didn't happen either. We called Dish Network again. Finally on Thursday night after ranting to Dish Network they promised to send someone else. Someone else came alright, at 8:30 p.m. along with the first guy who accompanied him. They brought a new receiver and after about 30 minutes hooked it up; we had television again.

The result was that we were out of television service for five days; we lost the programming we had recorded on the DVR. We put with up an arrogant woman telling us the technician was here, but no one was home. She refused to listen to me when I told her I had been waiting for five days to get this resolved. 

There's got to be a morning after. We were pretty happy until the next morning when, I noticed a bunch of wires dangling in front of the window. The wires, which had been neatly installed, affixed to the siding of our house had been ripped out. They were now dangling from the roof and blowing in the breeze. We were furious. My husband finished attaching them to the side of the house. Some installation!

Dish Network was conciliatory, didn't charge us for the days we were out of service, and gave us some movie coupons to make up for our bad experience. We even got Starz for three months when we were over billed on automatic billing. 

Deja vu. About a month ago, Starz ended and so did the promised HD Premium channels. We started to see some pixelation again, where the picture deteriorates into little colored squares and the sound also becomes distorted. It is what happens during a weakened signal, such as during a storm, right before the signal is lost completely.

All was well. We have had great reception during a recent snow storm, but when the skies were clear, suddenly, last night, with no warning, the signal died. We tried to reset the switches. Nothing! We unplugged the receiver and turned it back on. Nothing! We called Dish Network again.

Thursday, they are sending someone out to re-wire our house and align the dish correctly. We learned that when it was installed, it was pointed in the wrong direction.

My husband and I have been more than patient. As long time, loyal Dish Network subscribers, this is the last problem we expect to have with Dish Network.