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Thanks, Dish Network!

Posted Nov 06 2008 11:39pm

I'm getting DirecTV today! And it's Dish Network's fault.

We've had Dish Network since December 2000 and have been pretty happy with it, too. We only experienced major outages during major storms. We got zillions of channels for cheaper than cable (Comcast in our area). We are not under any long term contract and we own all of our equipment.

Every once in a while, I'd shop around for satellite/cable, just to compare, and I really could never find a real reason to switch to a new provider. Also, I don't watch all that much programmed television myself, so it's not as if I'm always looking for the newest and latest channels. In fact, I had Brendan convinced to get rid of it all entirely, until I remembered that we have Football Needs that will not be satisfied by rabbit ears alone (oh! those evil bunnies again!). I'm still hopeful we can find a nice workaround for that one.

Given that we will be paying for programmed television, I do have some minimums: Noggin for the kids (commercial free!), The Discovery Channel and all its related channels--as many as I can get, The History Channel, the local channels. Honestly, I could do without all the rest entirely, but we aren't quite there with the ala carte programming that I've been dreaming about for years.

So why am I switching now? Because Dish Network pissed me off. That is the ONLY reason. I recently got on their website because I wanted to downgrade my channel package by one level. We had been subscribing to a pretty expensive package because I was just dying to find out what's on all those other Discovery Channels (great stuff, alas), but we've been in a budget crunch, so I was trying to save some money by downgrading.

Well, as it turns out, you can't downgrade your programming on their website. You can only upgrade. Okay, that kind of makes sense, I guess. Personally, I think I should be able to make any changes I want on their website, but fine. Unfortunately, there were no instructions on the website whatsoever about downgrading packages. It's as if they want to give people the impression that nobody ever downgrades, which is stupid. So I had to "chat" with a live customer service person to ask them how to downgrade. That person couldn't downgrade me either, so I had to call.

I had to call twice, because their voice system makes you believe that it's possible to downgrade by pushing buttons. That's just mean. So I finally talked with a very nice Customer Service Rep. He really was very nice. He very nicely informed me that there is a $5 fee to downgrade my service. Errr? I wondered aloud how long it would take for the changes to take effect, was it going to be days or something? Nope. 15-20 minutes, which to my non-technical mind means "someone is going to check a box in the computer system and then I will not have access to certain channels after the next system update." I cannot for the life of me imagine that it's anything more complicated than that. Even if it is, so what? I'm a revenue stream, not a surcharge opportunity.

After I hung up, I knew I was through with Dish Network. So I researched our cable/sat options, and realized that DirecTV has a better deal--we can pay less, for fewer channels that we don't watch anyway, and still get the channels we do watch.

So I'm leaving DishNetwork. Their dumb policies and non-informative website cost them a long term customer. So, yeah, they got their $5, but how much future revenue did they lose? I'll say it again: I'm a revenue stream. I'm very much enjoying the fact that I will be drying up that particular creek while also causing them to incur the additional costs of closing my account and finding a new customer to replace me. Bet that will cost more than $5! :o)

Not because $5 is any great amount of money. In fact, I would not be at all surprised to learn that DirecTV has a similar stupid policy. But this supreme difficulty in changing my package was simply ridiculous. And if they know for sure that's why I'm leaving, and maybe if other people are leaving for something similar, maybe those stupid policies will get changed.

In the meantime, I get to save money, which was the whole reason I tried to downgrade in the first place. So in a way, Dish Network did save me money, which is really all I was trying to get them to do anyway.

And I triple-dog-dare them to charge me a fee for leaving them. I suspect they might try, though!

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