Dish Network Billing Is Totally Borked!

Kayla writes:

My Husband and I called Embarq for a bundle pack with dish network in April of 2007. We were told by Embarq that we would only be seeing one bill from them, that would include dish charges, and that it would be about $100 a month. We have paid our bill every month, and never had anything suspended. As a matter of fact, we had never had to make any inquiries about dish as it had been a wonderful experience until mid-January. One morning I was turning on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for my son and I had no service. So I called Embarq, who told me to call Dish, who had no record of our names or social security numbers, who told me to call Emarq again…

I was completely confused. Finally, I got ahold of a rep for Embarq who called Dish 3-way. I gave them the serial number from my box and it was registered to a Maria something who lived in another town 30 miles away. This Maria chick stopped paying the bill after her services were un-bundled in October.

Apparently, Embarq also had NO record of us ever being bundled before, and no record of us ever putting in an order for Dish services!!

So, after that conversation, Dish agreed to turn it back on and I was to get a phone call from Embarq after they re-did the account and had it all bundled. Needless to say I never got that phone call and have called them on SEVERAL occasions and gotten no where. Well, my service is once again ,OFF, and no one has any clue whats going on or how to fix this mess.

They are trying to get me to pay the 200 dollars that is due on the account that my box is listed to, even after the first rep (the one from the 3-way call) told me I was not liable for any charges that occurred before January 27th 2007. Any Ideas how to fix this mess? Because I have no more options!

God Bless,
Kayla S.

What a bunch of bollocks. Try emailing your complaint to the CEO of EchoStar (which owns DISH), Charles Ergen, at CEO@echostar.com.

(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. ohgoodness says:

    Moral of the story: boycott all television. Read books and newspapers.

    (kidding. kidding.)

  2. catnapped says:

    Thanks alot Helicopter Ben!

  3. PowerLlama says:

    I’m pretty pissed it dropped by a full percent. I have an account there. =(

    Are there any other banks that have higher now? I went to ING to check out what there’s was at, and it’s lower.

  4. blitzcat says:

    I don’t know how, but when push came to shove my credit union is staying at 4% APY.

  5. Nick says:

    WaMu’s online savings account only fell from by 0.50% and is still currently at 4.25%. No fees or minimum balance requirements as long as you also open a free checking account. Unlike HSBC, WaMu also has plenty of branches throughout the entire country, meaning you can make immediately deposits and withdrawals in person or through their ATM machines.

  6. BlondeGrlz says:

    I have Dish but it’s bundled with ATT. My HD satelite wasn’t working so I called tech support to schedule a house call. When the problem fixed itself, I called back to un-schedule the call, and customer service at Dish had no ability to access my account. I had to talk to tech support, who can access everyone’s accounts. Maybe Embarq has something similar?

  7. M&T Bank is over 4%. No checking required.

  8. Buran says:

    Ask them to show proof that you’re liable for an account you didn’t sign up for. And go with someone else if they don’t fix it on the spot for good next time you call.

  9. youbastid says:

    @nick2588: It’s at 4.25% now?? It just dropped to 4.75 from 5.0…crap.

  10. merylburbank says:

    How do you solve a problem like Maria?

  11. sly100100 says:

    When I first signed up for directv a few years back prime star was bought out by directv and they were still merging. However when I called a few weeks after the installation because the satellite went out I got the run around from just about everyone who insisted I didn’t have an account. And told me to call prime star. Which I didn’t have. Well obviously I did but they had no record.
    Eventually I was transferred to the “special accounts” department. Who told me that because I was in prime stars area I had to call and talk to the “special department” to get any help with my account and services. This went on for about 6 months and eventually directv took over everything, but it was a real pain when you tried to get service or just to get a movie because the phone line didn’t work correctly.
    I still have Directv and I wouldn’t change for anything as there service is really good and nothing in the world could make me go back to cable! LOL

  12. davere says:

    Reminds me of when I canceled Dish. I called with a question about the equipment and the conversation went like this

    D – “I see your bill is due on 2/10, would you like to make a payment now?”
    M – “Is that for the next month of service?”
    D – “Yes”
    M – “I’m scheduled to be disconnected on 2/9, I won’t have service next month”
    D – “But you have a payment due on 2/10″
    M – “So why would I pay if I’m being disconnected on 2/9″
    D – “We’ll refund you after you disconnect on 2/9″
    M – “So what if I don’t pay?”
    D – *silence*

    *click*

  13. Ausoleil says:

    We have a Dish account with, ahem, Dish, and never have any problems.

    Maybe buying bundles isn’t such a good idea after all. We don’t, and we save money on telephone (Time-Warner’s is $35 and Vonage is $26) and television (Dish is way cheaper than DTV) but use the cable company for Internet. Compared to their bundle, we’re not spending ~$35 extra a month and have half the headaches. Actually, NONE of the headaches.

  14. tape says:

    There just ain’t the same money in saving money as there used to be.

    You could have a “savings” account with your bank and get 0.01%! Or whatever insulting interest rates they tend to have these days.

    Emigrant Direct is at 4.05%, FWIW.

    Also, I find it very hard to believe that someone who actually reads this site would have a WaMu account.

  15. kc2idf says:

    Like AuSoleil, we have no problems with our Dish service bought through Dish. We have been their customer for six or seven years now.

    This honestly sounds to me like Embarq’s blunder. EECB them until they fix it.

  16. aka Cat says:

    How is this Dish Network’s fault? It sounds like it’s Embarq that’s screwing things up.

  17. Difdi says:

    Wait a minute, if they claim you do not have an account, and never have had an account…who have you been paying for months, and why have they been billing you? Ask for a refund, heh. I bet the problem gets cleared up overnight.

  18. Illusio26 says:

    Yeah, I hate seeing those emails from HSBC saying my rate has dropped. Pretty soon my savings rate won’t even equal the rate of inflation. (if it hasn’t already)

  19. humphrmi says:

    There’s a reason why rates are falling. It’s the same reason that the Fed is lowering interest rates. It’s not that they don’t want you to save, they just don’t want you to sock your money into savings accounts. If the Fed has it’s way, the pressure will continue until you finally give in, come to your senses, and invest your money in the stock market where it belongs. :)

  20. pearlandopal says:

    @nick2588: I’ve never seen one on the East Coast. Are you sure they’re actually national?

  21. Klay says:

    Your account is not with Dish. It is with an independent company that re-sells Dish hardware and programming either with or without Echostar Dish Networks knowledge. The receiver provider’s information should pop up when you interrogate the Help menu of your receiver. Contact your credit card company and try calling 800-521-9282 x3560. This should get you to the Echosphere Regional Directors Office. They are responsible for all sales and distribution activities. Make sure you have the SmartCard number and other info.

  22. Vicky says:

    I opened and HSBC account about a year ago and ended up moving my money to EmigrantDirect after some rate change. After experiencing HSBC’s interface for 6 months, though, I can say they would probably need to offer a 1% premium over any other bank for me to move back there. Yech.

  23. STrRedWolf says:

    @Klay: It’s comments like this that make me wish the Consumerist had a “Rate this funny/useful/intresting” and “Smack this as horrible/useless/terrible/flamebait” like on Slashdot.

  24. Vulpine says:

    I have to agree with Klay. If you had purchased Dish Network through–Dish Network, then this problem wouldn’t have occured. It is clear that Embarq is at fault for this issue; somehow either attaching the wrong serial number to your account, or tying your account to someone else’s in order to pocket the entire fee themselves.

    I don’t know how you can get your money back from Embarq, but I highly recommend talking to Dish and see if you can open a new account with them, taking your existing bundling provider out of the loop. I would then do everything within my power to not only get the $200 removed, since it obviously isn’t your account, but also to get all the payments made to that bundler refunded since you obviously weren’t paying for your service, “Maria” was.

  25. Nighthawke says:

    Smells like Embarq is screwing this custie over with some bull$hit bingo.
    What they need to do is advise Embarq to break the package, give DIRECT control over their billing with Dish and get the hell out of the way. Their CSR gives them any bull, cut them off at the ankles (don’t let them get too far into their cock n bull story) and get their super in the loop.

    And get ahold of Charlie B, the CEO, either through their Q&A session that they hold live and tricast it, or email. Oh, and EECB Embarq the convo you are holding with Dish while you are at it too.

  26. OMG THAT IS TOTALLY A PICTURE OF ME

    Consumerist, you made my day.

  27. Nighthawke says:

    *copyrights it* Now all your base are belong to me!

    (not to mention your bank accounts and paychecks for the nest 5 years..) XD

  28. Sudonum says:

    @humphrmi:
    Amen, right now the Fed doesn’t want any money sitting around in savings accounts. They want it back into the economy somehow. And that’s probably the bigger story on the recent rate cuts then making it cheaper to borrow.

  29. Squeezer99 says:

    did you call dishnetwork execustive customer service?

  30. johnva says:

    I’ve been pretty happy with Emigrant Direct. They aren’t the highest rates available, but they’re usually higher than a lot of the others (like HSBC, ING). And they seem to be more consistent about keeping their rates competitive. They don’t just instantly drop their rates the day a rate cut is announced like ING does. And when I screwed up the process of linking a checking account to my Emigrant account (I typed the routing number wrong), their customer service was very responsive and sorted it out really quickly for me. Their transfers are also quite fast in my experience. I’m happy.

  31. Embarq_Jenny says:

    Hi Kayla-
    My name is Jenny and I work with Embarq customer service. I want to be able to assist you in your issues. If you would like to email me with your home phone #, I will be happy to pull up your account and assist you in anyway that I can.

    Thanks
    Jenny
    SMNP.Jenny.A@Embarq.com

  32. racermd says:

    Hidden amongst the details of this story is that bundling sucks. It may save you a few bucks per month, but it’s much more difficult to resolve any billing disputes because everything is tied together. Things get worse when someone else’s name get attached to anything you have bundled (as in this case).

    I have the option of bundling my DirecTV with Qwest to save $5 per month. However, it’s just not worth it when I ultimately have to deal with canceling and/or moving. Who do I call when I cancel? Who do I call if I move to an area without Qwest? Will I have to open a new account with DirecTV and get tied in for another 2 years?

    Bundling may seem like a good deal on the face of it. However, it really only benefits the providers since they can more easily conceal their true billing practices.

    Say ‘NO!’ to bundling! Say ‘NO!’ to MBA clauses! Say ‘NO!’ to BBY, Comcast, Verzion, AT&T, etc!

    Okay – I’m off my soapbox.

  33. PermanentStar says:

    I actually have a friend who works at Embar

  34. PermanentStar says:

    crap – I tried putting this up once before, but I accidentally hit tab, then return when I only had a few letters out…sorry if it double posts.

    I have a friend that works at Embarq, and I emailed this story to him to see if he knows what to do or who to talk to.

  35. jawacg says:

    Is it good or bad that someone supposedly with Embarq monitors the Consumerist?

  36. D says:

    Never trust anything involving Dish Network! As a former employee of Echostar (Dish’s parent company), I can tell you that everything they do is geared towards bleeding that extra nickel out of the customer. They have “unwritten” internal policies that include things like not removing charges off of customer’s accounts, spreading refunds over several months, and not telling customers that close their account that they are owed money back (the customer actually has to ask if they have a positive balance). As far as anybody they have partnerships or associations with, it is largely on paper only, and there is little to no coordination or data exchange. As a result, problems with partners of Dish run rampant. If you have a problem with a Dish service, don’t bother with the partner, don’t even bother with standard Dish support (at least the frontline CSRs, a supervisor MIGHT be able to help). If you want a real result, I would recommend calling the executive customer service line, which I saw listed here on another posting (a number that, until I saw it here, even I didn’t know).

  37. forsale31 says:

    This is happening to me right now, but without the past due total.

    I have made monthly inquiries as to the progress of my buddling (embarq bill shows up; no dish total on it). Monthly 3-way calls. This has been happening since June 2007. I finally got to the bottom of the issue. You must pay both bills consistently for the 3 month period prior to bundling (kinda hard to do when you dont recieve the dish bill). In addition, if you are a day late on the embarq, their system will unrequest your bundle to dish and dish will establish you an account in their system. You will then start recieving bills from both and will need to re-request bundling. Which starts the above cycle over again.

    After the bundling if you are a day late on the Embarq, the system will debundle you. Which will start the above cycle again.

    Kinda of a pain in the ass to save $10 a month on the required local phone line, if you ask me.

    It seems there is no clear one-on-one rep to speak with regarding this issue.

    So from what I gather at this point. The balance for both accounts must be zero, you must request bundling (credit check), you must pay the embarq bill each month, and you must call in to pay the dish bill directly (even though your account doesnt technically exist–bundled accounts have different acct numbers to identify them as bundled).

  38. Embarq_Jenny says:

    Jenny from EMBARQ here. I hope you see our offer to help as a positive thing. Many other commenters have made a number of great suggestions to solve her problem, but we want to be proactive when we see a customer with a problem and give them a direct line to a solution. We’re not perfect, and it sounds like there’s been some confusion in our customer service group, which is what prompted the post in the first place. We don’t just monitor The Consumerist, but we keep our eyes out everywhere for customers that are having problems and we try to help whenever we can. In some cases we provide tech support to those posting problems on message boards, and when we see an unhappy customer-as in this case-we’re happy to try and help.
    Thanks!

  39. MainframeSysop says:

    Anyone know if this has been resolved? I am curious if someone actually did the right thing for once. And I am not a believer of “Bundling”. Knowing to the penny what you are paying for each service is way better (in my opinion).

  40. Embarq_Jenny says:

    I wanted to correct my email address as well..
    It is SMNP.Jenny.R@Embarq.com

    I apologize if anyone has tried to email that incorrect address.

  41. “I find it very hard to believe that someone who actually reads this site would have a WaMu account.”

    @tape: Why is that hard to believe? As mentioned by nick2588, right now their savings account is at 4.25%, which is better than most out there. I started with WaMu last October and I’ve been happy with them since.

  42. Nick says:

    @pearlandopal: They are indeed nationwide, including in the East. I just looked in NYC and there are several branches. Here is the locator: [clients.mapquest.com]

    @Cameron Fredman: Agreed. I switched my accounts over to WaMu in November (from Emigrant Direct and a local credit union) and haven’t looked back since. I’m very happy with their banking products, although their credit card is another story…

  43. Nick says:

    Update: WaMu’s online savings account has fallen to 4.00%, probably in light of yesterday’s announcement by the Fed that more interest rate cuts are on the way in the coming months.

    This is still better than the online savings accounts offered by HSBC Direct (3.55%), ING Direct (3.40%), Emigrant Direct (3.60%), and Citibank (3.25%).

    eTrade is currently offering a slightly higher rate (4.10%), however.

  44. Embarq_Jenny says:

    Hi Kalya–
    This is Jenny with Embarq– I just checked on your account for the month, and I wanted to let you know that all charges are now appearing on your Embarq billing, and everything is correct. Let me know if I can help you with anything else, and again so sorry about all the trouble that you had till this point.

    Thanks
    Jenny R.
    Embarq Customer Care
    SMNP.Jenny.R@Embarq.com