DirecTV Marketer Steals DISH Customers Via 800 Number Squatting

A sneaky DirecTV marketer has bought up toll-free numbers that end in “DISH.” When DISH Network customers call up, the operators make it sound like they’re from Dish and offering them a free service upgrade, but in reality, they’re switching the service and slamming the Dish Network customer into a DirecTV service contract.

The real number for DISH is 800-333-3474, but this company has bought 888-333-3474, and according to reports on 800 notes, several other 800, 888, 866 numbers that end with “DISH.”

We first heard about it in a message left on our Consumerist hotline:

TRANSCRIPT: “I had to authorize a new Dish receiver. The number on the screen said 1-800-333-DISH. I dialed 1-888-333-DISH. I got a guy that immediately asked for my name, phone number, address, email address, and talked about the new specials that he could give me for being such a loyal customer. I kind of just wanted my receiver authorized.

And he says, these are some great deals, and you should get rewarded for being such a loyal customer since you’ve been with Dish Network so long.

Then he says, “if I send you these new boxes out, keep in mind that these are direct Tv boxes…”

It turns out that it was a DirecTV franchise that was capitalizing on people mistaking 1-800-333-DISH for 1-888-333-DISH. They’re not telling people who they are upfront and they’re getting a bunch of information when you’re thinking that you’re talking to a company that you already trust and have an account with. So it really ticked me off. It’s totally uncool. Hopefully you can print this and people won’t get confused anymore.” :END TRANSCRIPT

Very clever. If you accidentally sign up for this, best thing to do is a charegback. Unsurprisingly, the folks on 800 notes say the sleazy DirecTV marketers are not that nice about giving refunds.

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(Photo: TenSafeFrogs)

Comments

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  1. Dont lump me into your 99%! says:

    Class action coming in 3….2…..1…..

    Sorry had to do it, lol.

    OH and I dont need to worry, because i make my own satellites at home.

  2. rpm773 says:

    Incidents like this are why I always dial the correct phone number.

  3. AJ_Syrinx says:

    So the DirecTV CSR asks for customer information instead of using a standard greeting like “Thank you for calling DirecTV?” This is total douchebaggery. I should try calling that number and challenging the CSR to see what happens.

    • bastion72 says:

      @AJ_Syrinx: Post up what happens. nformed consumers what to know.

      • Wombatish says:

        @bastion72: I just called and it went about like this (don’t have call recording on the new phone):

        “Thanks for calling about DISH one up!”
        -Put on hold-
        CSR: Hello, my name is Michael, can I have your phone number starting with area-code first?
        Me: Can you pull it up with my account number instead?
        CSR: I can’t, because (pause) I’m not actually DISH network, I’m an authorized retailer for DirectTV. Would you be willing to talk with me about switching to DirectTV?
        Me: No, I’m just trying to get a hold of DISH network, I thought this was their number.
        CSR: Yeah, I know. -click-.

        They are very aware of their scheme’s effects (not even playing dumb, in other words), it seems, but it also seems like they’ve maybe gotten in trouble a bit. He was very quick to admit who he was when other posts I’ve seen/the OP say they were strung along for a fair bit.

  4. bloggerX says:

    Wow…I don’t think Comcast could do something like that!

  5. georgi55 says:

    When you call you get a message that says “thank you for calling DISH one up” what kind of BS slogan is that? Dish one up? more like douche one up.

  6. dvdchris says:

    Interesting…when I dial a wrong 800 number I always get a sex line.

  7. IowaJezebel says:

    Actually, this happened to me about two years ago. I needed to call, but I didn’t have the number in front of me, so I tried the 888 number first. I have had dish for about 12 years now. In the first couple years, the 888 number *was* their number.
    As soon as the guy asked for my information, I knew something was up, and I asked if I had really called dish network. He said that I had called the premier dish network or some sort of thing like that, and I could tell he was being disingenuous to say the least. I hung up and called the 800 number.

  8. lehrdude says:

    This is probably Urban Legend…but back in the days where you could pick a Long Distance carrier when you set up your local services, didn’t there used to be a company called or designated “I don’t know”, or “I don’t care”…so when the rep asked you who you wanted for your long distance carrier, if you said any of the above, they would then become your carrier until you noticed the outrageous rates they were charging and cancelled…

    • mmcnary says:

      @lehrdude: That’s not an urban legend, it’s true. I used to work for MCI back in the day, and I had access to the PIC list. It included ‘I don’t care’, ‘I don’t know’ and ‘whatever’ long distance companies. I have no idea of their rates, but my bet is on the high side of outrageous.

    • Cantras says:

      @lehrdude: My father always told me that too, except having to do with who your carrier would be on collect calls and other such things from a payphone.
      @mmcnary: In my father’s ravings about this, we were not only supposed to specify a company, but also not say “I’ll take sprint” or “sprint please” or “um, sprint” because these were evil puppet carriers as well. Only say “sprint” What’s the word on that, if you remember?

  9. txinfo says:

    While I don’t agree with the practice of pretending to be another company, personally, if it causes even one person to leave the crooked company that is DISH, then I say more power to them.

    • MrChrisCarey says:

      @txinfo: I’m a fairly new Dish Network customer. Can please explain what type of crookedness I should expect?

    • mrscoach says:

      @txinfo: I’ve been a Dish customer for about 8 years, and have had no problems with the company. Only trouble we had was with an installer when we moved and he didn’t have a clue what he was doing. They took care of it, though.

      I take it back, the only other trouble we have had is with their automatic phone calls that we haven’t paid our bill. Panic ensues until I log on and see that it WAS paid, but there was some sort of glitch in the phone system. Has happened twice, several months apart.

  10. Ronin-Democrat says:

    one more reason to use a credit card and NOT let people make withdrawls from your bank account…

  11. Mr_Mantastic says:

    I keep calling and playing this song when they answer. They finally hang up.

  12. casualreader says:

    888-333-Dish used to sell both DISH and DIRECTTV. My guess is they either lost the DISH contract, or Direct-TV is paying them a bigger bonus.

    Who ever ‘lost’ the account for DISH should be looking for work

  13. Insider2112 says:

    In order for you to change sat carriers, you need to change more than the boxes.
    Dish Network satellites are not in the same orbital space as DTV satellites.
    I’m calling shenanigans on this one.

  14. PHRoG says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: Yeah…There are franchises. A new one just opened up in our area and comes to the door once a week to get us a better deal on our DirecTV. He is persistent tho, as I have slammed the door in his face about 6 times now and he still keeps coming back…LOL

  15. NeverLetMeDown says:

    @pecan 3.14159265:

    It’s a similar deal to Best Buy Mobile – it’s a dealer who sells Directv service.

  16. pop top says:

    @PHRoG: While this is incredibly shady, there’s a big difference between say, transposing the ’3′ and the ’4′ or hitting the ’1′ instead of the ’2′, but dialing ’888′ instead of ’800′ seems like something you’d known not to do…

  17. katstermonster says:

    @PHRoG: I believe rpm773 was making a joke.

  18. subtlefrog says:

    @rpm773: I like where you’re going with this. Children’s fundraiser or gay sex line? Meh, either way, win!
    [failblog.org]

  19. Rachacha says:

    @korybing: “Squating” on the numbers is probably not illegal, but depending on how they are interacting with the customers and how they are presenting themselves.

    This is no different than someone squating on common domain misspellings, or different domain extensions. Unless someone has a trademark on the name, or the squat site domain is not relavent to the content of the site it is perfectly legit.

  20. jvanbrecht says:

    @PHRoG: Big dogs resolve that problem… We occasionally get cold call door knockers from various contract companies (we live in an old neighborhood, but I do my own house work). Anyways, sometimes they get a little persistent… Same goes for the bible thumpers (regardless of denomination.. the Mormons learned, some other groups did not)..

    Long story short.. 180 pound black great dane.. and 75 pound dalmation (who is very protective of the house and my wife)…. I usually through them out in the back yard when I answer the door (the dane wants to lick all people to death, the dalmatian wants to eat them), but if they do not go away the first time I say I am not interested, I let the dogs into the house and they lunge at the screen door… only the Mormons seem to come back every now and then.. :) Mormons run fast though.. (okay I added that last sentence for fun, I would never release my dogs to chase people down, but they look mean as hell lunging at the door)

  21. wickedpixel says:

    @PHRoG: It’s because of situations like that I wish there were a Do Not Visit list as a companion to the Do Not Call list.

  22. Kogenta says:

    @squinko: Sort of depends, with so many 1-8xx numbers these days, a lot of people are used to dialing 1-888, 1-800 or whatever depending on what generation of company they’ve typically been dealing with. If all the companies you deal with all have 888 numbers, I can see how someone would reflexively dial it even if their brain says 800.

  23. floraposte says:

    @georgi55: Hmm, that might explain a telemarketing weirdness I experienced a couple of years ago. Despite being on the Do Not Call list, I got a call pushing DirectTV (no, I don’t have it); within about two hours, I got virtually word-for-word the same call for DISH. I bet somebody had finagled a probably illicit deal whereby they were reselling for both.

  24. korybing says:

    @Rachacha: Yes, but it seems like confusing people who accidentally misdialed the phone into making them think they have the correct number in order to screw them out of money would be a little on the illegal side.

  25. Aaronjk says:

    @Rachacha: But “Slamming”, changing the service without authorization, is illegal.