Dish Sends Me A Free Roku XD Box After I Complain About Missing AMC

While DirecTV has apparently been giving out discounts to customers who complain about the ongoing Viacom blackout, one Consumerist reader says he was able to score a free Roku video streaming box from Dish Network when he complained about its decision to remove the AMC Network channels.

Consumerist reader David had, like many Dish customers, been looking forward to the upcoming final episodes of Breaking Bad on AMC. But then Dish pulled the plug over the broadcaster’s carriage fees before the season even started.

“So i called Dish, with whom I have about a year left on my contract,” he tells Consumerist. “I told them i wanted to cancel my account because i was angry that I was losing AMC.”

At first, the CSR offered him $5/month discount for three months, but David didn’t budge and reiterated his plan to cancel. This got him escalated to a supervisor

“She said she was very sorry to hear that i wanted to cancel and wondered which show I was disappointed about missing,” writes David. “I told her Breaking Bad, and she asked if I had WIFI in my house. I said yes, and she said she would send me, free of charge, a Roku box to stream Breaking Bad, and they would credit my account $30 so i could buy the show on Amazon.”

And lest you think this was just an empty promise or crude joke from a rep who just wanted to get David off the phone, he says a brand new Roku XD box showed up at his house this morning, courtesy of Dish Network.

We doubt this is company policy, but obviously some supervisors at Dish have the authority to do whatever it takes to retain customers. As with many situations, your level of success in complaining will likely vary wildly depending on which CSR picks up the phone. So as we have suggested since the dawn of time (or around 2006), if you’re not getting anywhere with one CSR, it couldn’t hurt to hang up and spin the wheel of fortune again.

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  1. sparc says:

    funny, i posted this in the comments of the last article. Only took consumerist 2 weeks to catch up. lol

  2. 4d3fect says:

    Think they’re actually refurb units. Good deal if it’s still around to be had, though.

  3. wagnerism says:

    I feel like an idiot. Let me google this.

    “How can you watch the current Breaking Bad episodes on Roku?”

    I watched all the seasons on Netflix, but the most recent season wasn’t on there the last time I checked.

    • wagnerism says:

      Let me check Hulu+. Oh… I have to add Amazon to the list.

    • who? says:

      Amazon. Or iTunes. $2.99 per episode, I believe. They come out the day after they’re aired on tv.

      • notserpmh says:

        If you buy it as a season, Amazon sold season 4 for $23 in SD and $31 for HD. I would bet season 5 is around the same price:

        • hexx says:

          Season 5 will be 16 episodes, vs 13 episodes of season 4. So Season 5 will cost more.

          AMC is rumored to be splitting the 5th and final season into two, with 8 episodes airing this summer and the final 8 next summer. :(

    • hexx says:

      @wagnerism
      As stated in the article, Dish credited his account so he could purchase the episodes through Amazon.

  4. MikeF74 says:

    You can watch AMC on a Roku? That’s not something I was aware of.

    I watched Season 5 of Mad Men via Amazon, but that costs $$.

  5. cactus jack says:

    Ya, deal sites have been talking about this since the whole fiasco started. Seems more than fair.

    • who? says:

      It seems like a resonable approach by Dish. Except that people will figure out that they can do this for most everything, and cut the cord entirely. When I did the math, I realized that if I just bought the shows I actually watch, it would cost about half as much as my cable bill was. I have an antenna for local channels, and a netflix subscription, then I just buy everything else. The whole thing costs me about $50/month.

      I don’t watch sports, however. If I watched sports, the whole equation would be different.

      • notserpmh says:

        Agreed. I was a Dish customer for 5 or 6 years (generally with one of the largest packages), then finally wised up, bought some Rokus, Netflix, Amazon VOD and now get about 90% of what I watched before for about $1000 less per year.

        It isn’t for everyone (I don’t watch sports either, other than the occasional baseball game I happen to catch live via OTA), but the way I justified it (to my wife at least) was “Are those random HGTV/DIY shows really worth $1000 to you?”

        • who? says:

          “Are those random HGTV/DIY shows really worth $1000 to you?”

          hahahaha! I had the same exact conversation. I even threw her a bone and would buy an episode of House Hunters every once in awhile. Until I showed her that article about how fake House Hunters is. Now she doesn’t want to see that show ever again. I didn’t realize she would take it so personally….

      • scoosdad says:

        I just realized commenter Cat has been AWOL lately. Maybe on vacation, anyone know?

        He would have been the first to chime in with this very same comment about cutting his cable as he’s done just this.

  6. kathygnome says:

    Please note, you won’t be able to watch the current season Breaking Bad on Roku for another year.

    • who? says:

      You can if you buy it from Amazon. Episodes come out on Amazon the day after they’re aired on TV. They credited the guy’s account $30 so that he could do that.

  7. reanderson says:

    My husband declined the $5/mo, refused the Roku (we have a PS3), and then they offered $10/mo off and he took that.

  8. Greggen says:

    I chatted and expressed displeasure, ASKED when my contract was due and how much the early termination fee would be, they freaked and transferred me to retention. Offered me a Roku XD but no credit.
    ook it. I have their basic package, HD channels, DVR for 22.50 a month (taxes included) They would CHARGE me $17.50 a month to cancel..

  9. frank64 says:

    To those that said good for DirectTV for for fighting Viacom, this type of thing is actually sticking it to DTV and helping out Viacom. Viacom actually makes money on the Amazon sale, and DirectTV takes a hit. I understand getting something for nothing feels great, but in this situation it may be a bit piggish.

    I understand cable/satellite providers aren’t angels at all, in this case though the more you beat them up the sooner they will cave. The earlier they cave the more your bill will go up. Consumers can be their own worst enemy.

    • frank64 says:

      Also, the $5 discount is actually more than what DTV pays for the all the channels, so THAT is fair.

  10. surabin says:

    Well I tried ,but only 6 months into contract was turned down for a Roku, however did get a $60 credit (over 6 months) and was told if I did rent from Amazon I would be able to claim back the fee from Dish no questions asked .

  11. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Where would Viacom and Dish be if a majority of their customers just shrugged their collective shoulders and said “OK”, and just canceled the service. Or didn’t renew it when the contract was up.

    I can envision a time in the not too distant future where cable and satellite TV packages will be priced out of reach of the average person. These companies need to realize that. When push comes to shove, if someone needs money to put gas in the car to get to work, and heating oil in the tank, the last thing they’ll be worried about is Snookie.

  12. drjayphd says:

    Since I don’t see an open thread, I’ll jump on this one.

    Does anyone know if there’s a full-on Food Network channel for Roku? I might finally be able to convince my parents to cut the cord, since I’ve shown them what they could get with a $3 antenna, and they might be ready to let it go. (They really could stand to do it and save money.) All I could find is a Food Network Nighttime channel from a year and a half ago, but my father would probably watch it all day.

    (catastrophegirl, please pick up the white courtesy phone… and yes, I checked your site)

    Also, as an aside, what’s the best antenna as far as reception goes in a fairly suburban area? We can’t get the ABC affiliate here, which is based 20 minutes to the south and (presumably, given CT’s topography) at a lower elevation using that cheap antenna. We can, however, get the Springfield, MA CBS affiliate, which I’m pretty sure is farther away (not sure if they have their own tower or if they just use the CT affiliate’s tower).

    • frank64 says:

      I live about 40 miles from Boston. I use an RCA mufti-directional antenna. It works much better than a less expensive traditional one. I get all Boston and the majority of Providence RI and don’t have to play around with it to change stations. There is a site called antennaweb.org(I think) that will tell you what you should get in and what type of antenna will work based on your address.

      PBS has a channel called Create that has many cooking shows, and most morning news shows are really half cooking, half celebrity and entertainment. Then there are many other daytime show that are full of cooking.A couple prime time too. You really can’t get away from it.

      http://www.amazon.com/RCA-ANT1650R-Digital-Amplified-Antenna/dp/B0027FGW3K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342232983&sr=8-1&keywords=rca+antenna

  13. DrLumen says:

    I don’t understand the logic by Dish. Say $30 for a refurbished Roku and a $30 credit. Surely the additional fees charged by AMC wasn’t $60 per household. This makes no sense for love or profit.

    • frank64 says:

      The amount of customers they give this too will be relatively small, much less than the $1 billion the added fees will cost them. The $60 will be less than 1 months revenue, at least for most.

      This will cost both companies money, but they both will gain a little by holding out. Real high stakes for them.

  14. golddog says:

    I can confirm that Dish is still offering this as of Sat afternoon. The front line CSRs do not have the power to do it, but they’ll connect you to the loyalty dept when they hear the AMC keyword. I told her that I had read about the Roku/Amazon credit, that I do watch AMC for Breaking Bad but I wasn’t going to cancel my whole account over it and that I supported their decision so could we dispense with the “I’ll walk” theatrics and just send me the box?

    Roku XD is coming via UPS on Monday and she did a $40 credit. Not too shabby Dish. And thanks Consumerist for giving the heads up.

    • carol mai says:

      yes the box is free but they are charging me $1.98 per episode of any show i watch, is this the case with you? are you being charged to watch shows? carol

  15. MadPhoenix says:

    I recently called Dish Network’s customer service & expressed my disapointment with losing out on my favorite shows currently on AMC (Breaking Bad, Hell on Wheels & coming soon The Walking Dead). I’m currently past the two year agreement & told the CSR that I was considering cancelling my service. The CSR transferred my call to the accounting dept to see if they could convince me to stay as loyal customer. They offered me a Roku XD, $10 off monthly bill for 12mo’s & credited my account $35 to off-set the cost of purchasing episodes on Amazon.All this without any commitment. Not bad for a few minutes on the phone.

  16. pccustodian says:

    Channels like AMC and HBO should create their own channels on roku so people can subscribe to those if they don’t have cable or satellite. All I get is OTA programming but would be willing to pay for a few channels without having to pay for a premium cable/satellite package.