It seems the swing towards High-Definition TV formats is happening only slightly less gracefully than a Mack truck doing pirouettes. Channel providers expect customers to invest in building up their network by purchasing HD converters. Apparently they’ve never heard the old saying that we just made up, “Give a man a free door but make him pay you to unlock it.”
Steve recently converted to HDTV and canceled his Dish Network subscription, helped by their incompetent telesales staff. His letter to us, after the jump, contains a good nougat for consumers looking to switch to HDTV. If your service provider asks you to spend a lot of money to switch to HDTV, do some comparison shopping. You likely will find another company willing to lease you the equipment with no upfront costs, installation fees, or Chinese water torture…
- “I was a customer of Dish for over 8 years, and recently upgraded to a HDTV. I have owned their highest priced channel package, as well as a few movie packages, and have had a DVR of theirs (multiple ones) since they started offering them. The 480i feed for the regular service looked horrible on my new DLP unit, so I called looking to upgrade to the HD DVR. I was very excited to start watching crystal clear content, and was expecting some sort of fee to start leasing the new equipment. They told me that because I was a already a customer, they would not lease me the unit (?!!) but that I could buy it for $800 (which does not include the over-the-air antenna to receive local HD content or any installation fees) if I could find it at one of their retailers (they said they don’t sell units themselves).
At that point, I called my local cable company, who told me that they would lease me an HD DVR unit for no down payment and no installation fee, which included local HD content with no extra equipment. So I called Dish back to cancel my service, was put on hold for a while, and then was told that since I was a (I forget the exact term they used, but it was something like… ) “power user” because I had been with them for over 8 years, that they would be willing to let me buy the $800 HD DRV that they had just told me five minutes before that they wouldn’t lease or sell to me, for a mere $250 but that I had to act right then because the offer was only good for that phone call (the
first rep I talked to also said that they were going to discontinue that particular model in a few months, and that I could check back when the new model came out to see if they would be willing to lease me the new unit at that time). I wasn’t really interested in buying a soon-to-be outdated model for that price, and I have had 4 Dish DVRs
die on me in the past that I’ve had to replace, and the ones that I “own” always cost more to replace – the one perk of leasing is that they are obligated to replace the unit when it breaks – so I told them I wasn’t interested and cancelled anyway.
I was a loyal customer, but telling your customers that “since you already use us, we will not give you the same treatment as we do new customers” is just stupid and serves to drive off your loyal customers.
Every time some rep says something like that to me, all I hear is “we don’t want your money anymore, please see our numerous competitors who do. thank you, and don’t come again.”
Sounds like Steve got stuck with a very green Dish sales rep. Dish’s loss for poor training.