Dish Network Complaint - Damage to home and unauthorized charges to my Visa Bank Card
CRAWFORDVILLE, FLORIDA -- I was most recently a customer of Dish Network. I came to
Dish Network after being dissatisfied with Directv. I signed up for an
introductory offer that included free installation of a DVR receiver
and two standard receivers.
At the time of installation, the installers drilled three holes in the
side of my house that they said was necessary even though I have a
"smart box" in my house. The first hole, in one of the spare rooms, was
drilled in an exterior wall near the baseboard. I heard them drilling
for sometime (maybe 10 minutes) so I went in and asked them if
everything was okay. They stated that it was. After the installation, I
inspected the room and found that they had drilled behind a bookcase into a
hurricane strap and were unsuccessful in drilling all the way through
due to the strap. I complained at the time but received no remedy.
After the 3 month introductory rate expired, my bill increased as I
expected; however, the next month it went up almost $10.00, then the next
month another $10.00 until my bill was almost $100 per month. I called
Dish Network sometime around the end of June 2004 to voice my concern
over the rising rates. I was given 3 explanations for the rise: 1) I
had purchased a maintenance contract 2) I had purchased some kind of
monthly guide and finally 3) that it was because the introductory rate had
expired. None of these explanations were true however. In
frustration, I lowered my programming package to the minimum allowable without
violating my terms of the contract.
After thinking it over some, I called back around the beginning of July
2004 and stated that I wanted my service cancelled due to the increased
rates with no explanation and due to the damage to my home caused
during installation. I also requested that someone from Dish Network come
out and document the damage and offer any remedy that would be fair and
equitable. I was told that I would have to pay $240.00 for cancelling
my contract. I told the operator that I was willing to pay the $240.00
but only after the damage to my home was properly documented by a
representative of Dish Network and/or the contracted installer. I was told
by a supervisor that I would have to leave my account open if I wanted
a service call. I stated that it was unacceptable to think that I
would continue to pay for a service that was misrepresented to me and that
had resulted in damage to my home. After some deliberations, the
supervisor conceded and closed my account and stated that someone would come
look at my house. I waited at home all day for someone to come by to
document the damage; however, nobody ever showed up.
About two weeks ago I received a bill from Dish Network in the amount
of $294.33. I was preparing a certified letter to Dish Network
indicating my former statements regarding paying as soon as the damage to my
home was documented. However, before I could mail it out, I discovered
that Dish Network had automatically debited the full $294.33 from my
checking account without authorization. In fairness, when I was a
customer I had authorized Dish Network to automatically withdraw programming
fees from my account.
I called my bank to indicate that these charges were unauthorized and
resulted in my account being overdrawn and to dispute the charges. My
bank indicated that I would have to seek remedy from Dish Network first
and that if that was unsuccessful that I could dispute it with the bank
I called Dish Network's customer service and spoke to Brandon and
explained the situation. After being placed on hold several times, Brandon
stated that Dish Network would not return the funds to my account as I
had requested. I did agree to pay the programming fees of some $54.33.
I only had an issue with the $240.00 cancellation fee. Still Brandon
stated that the funds would not be returned to my account. I asked
Brandon to refer me to someone in installation services and to get me the
name and address of the individual responsible for accepting civil
papers. He transferred me to installation services without getting me the
other requested information.
I then spoke to someone in installation services that said she left a
message for someone to contact me regarding inspecting the damage to my
home. I asked her as well about the name and address of the individual
responsible for accepting civil papers. She transferred me to Natalie
at the Executive Office.
I explained my story again to Natalie and she finally gave me the
address (not the name) of 9601 South Meridian Blvd. Englewood, CO 80112 in
Douglas County. I thanked her for the information.
In summary, I want to make it clear that I do not fully object to
paying the $240.00 nor do I have any intention of using the damage to my
home to somehow "get out" of paying the $240.00. I merely objected to
paying the cancellation fee until a representative of Dish Network came
and documented the damage to my home. Now that the $240.00 was taken
out of my account without my authorization, there seems to be no
incentive left for Dish Network to even acknowledge that I do have damage to
my home caused by the installer.
As a remedy, I am requesting that the $240.00 be returned to my account
until the damage to my home has been fully documented by a
representative of Dish Network and/or the contracted installer. In return, I will
agree to pay the full $240.00 once this is done and Dish Network offers
a remedy to the damage in my home.
Incidentally, why is that when a company is not happy with you as a
customer, they can cancel you with no sanction; however, if you are
unhappy with their service they can use a contract against you to almost use
extortion to cause you to stay on as a customer. I've learned a
valuable lesson in that I will never again do business with a company that
requires a service contract (i.e. cell phones, satellite tv, internet).