No, We Didn't Install That Satellite Dish, The One On Your Roof You Didn't Order That Says "Dish Network"

Jane came home to find a Dish Network receiver on her roof. Jane never ordered service from Dish Network, and isn’t sure why she suddenly has a satellite dish on her roof. Dish Network isn’t sure, either.

Dish Network has no record of Jane in their system. They referred her to three Dish Network installation affiliates, but the affiliates hadn’t installed any dishes at Jane’s address. Jane asked the local police department for help, but they said it wasn’t a police matter. Frustrated and wanting the dish off her roof, Jane offered to send the receiver back to Dish Network. Because they have no record of installation, they won’t accept delivery.

Pictures and the email address for Dish Network’s CEO, after the jump…

Jane’s email:
My husband and I came home Monday from work and discussed a Dish Network 500 that had been installed on our roof — AND WE DIDN’T order it!

I contacted Dish Network and they passed me from one person to another with little help, stating I was not in their database. No, I wouldn’t be, would I, if I didn’t order it! They gave me contacts info of affiliates in the Plano, Texas area who install their equipment, but none of the 3 companies turned up anything.

The Customer Solutions (an oxymoron if ever there was) department of Dish Network 500 suggested I call the local police and file a police report. When I phoned the Plano Police Dept. they suggested it was not a police matter but if I wanted to file a judgment against Dish Network 500 in civil court I could pursue that avenue and gave me the number.

I even offered to personally remove it from my roof and ship it to Dish Network 500, but the so-called Damage Control dept. didn’t want it because they said they didn’t install it. So it appears to be of NO VALUE to them, not even the flimsy $100 it may be worth!

I am going to contact a local news affiliate and report this to their consumer investigative dept. and see what happens.

Got any suggestions?

If escalating through customer service isn’t helping, shoot straight for the top. Email Charles Ergen, CEO and Chairman of the Board for EchoStar Communications, the company that owns Dish Network. He can be reached at: You should also confirm that Dish Network isn’t about to start billing for service you didn’t request.

Photos of the dish:



Edit Your Comment

  1. Rajio says:

    Talk to the neighbors too.

  2. codegrl says:

    Take it down, sell it on eBay. Dish Network is a terrible company. But, there are plenty of people on eBay looking for the dishes.

  3. NeoteriX says:

    There might be worse things in life than getting a free Dish receiver.

  4. mantari says:

    ANSWER: Someone else ordered a dish for that day, but they confused their address for yours. It may not be a neighbor. It may be two transposed digits, which could potentially make the other person (with the missed install) miles away.

  5. Slytherin says:

    If Dish Network gave her a free dish, and have no record of the installation nor her name on their system, if I were her I would keep the dish and the service (if they turned on service) and enjoy free dish programming. If she gets a bill after that, I would say, “But wait a minute! You said that you have no record of this installation or me on your system!”

    Sometimes life can be good…run with it Jane! :)

  6. mantari says:

    “They confused their address for yours.”

    The installer confused someone else’s address for your address. Sorry. I was horribly unclear with my vague pronounce references.

  7. astrochimp says:

    “Jane asked the local police department for help, but they said it wasn’t a police matter.”

    So, vandalism and trespassing are no longer police matters?

    (Looks like some fun times ahead for me!)

  8. joe6486 says:

    Simply remove the dish (or have it removed), take photographic evidence, and send the bill for roof damage to Dish. If they don’t pay it, sue them in small claims court. You’ll surely win. I don’t see what the big deal is.

  9. fhic says:

    Hmmm. I ordered Dish to replace my Cox cable and the installer didn’t show up last Friday as scheduled. Coincidence? I think not.

    (Yes, that’s somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Jane is in Texas and I’m in southern California. But this isn’t a real great start to my relationship with Dish/AT&T, though they’d have to try a whole lot harder to be worse than Cox.)

  10. Rahnee says:

    So did they enter the house to hook the dish up to a TV set? Where is the receiver located? Did they mount a dish that doesn’t connect to anything and what do the wires hook to?

  11. superlayne says:

    It’s a free dish! Don’t complain, sell it. If they aren’t charging you, it’s free money!

    Honestly. Stop making a fuss about it now. If you can sell it before they remember you have it, and might want it back, then quick, like a bunny, log onto e-bay!

  12. karmaghost says:

    They have no record of you in the system, eh? That can only mean one thing; there are satellite dish installation bandits roaming your neighborhood! Some stranger has obviously victimized your roof. Sell it on eBay for $35-$70. :)

  13. Chongo says:

    Follow the wires… Maybe the installer was putting one in for a neighbor and couldn’t get a clear Line of site from that house :)

  14. Karl says:

    @Chongo: If you look at the pictures closely, it looks like the wire doesn’t lead anywere. It looks like it’s missing the LNBFs as well, making it pretty useless. Of course, you could always modify it to be a souped-up WiFi antenna

  15. facted says:

    If Jane would go so far as to get the dish removed herself and ship it back, then why not just throw it away if Dish doesn’t want it back? Clearly I’d be pissed if someone installed something on my roof, but I’m not sure how Dish not wanting the thing back is a problem…just use it, sell it, or throw it out.

  16. shadox says:

    Here’s what you can do:

    As someone who works for a company that sells communication hardware, I know that we can track all our hardware by serial number.

    On the dish, there should be a serial number. I bet that Dish Network would be able to track the dish serial number to the installer which bought it. At that point, it’s a matter of contacting the installer and raising some hell.

  17. lonelymaytagguy says:

    If she takes it off, will she end up with a leaking roof? Is there a serial number somewhere?

  18. dscosson says:

    @fhic: May I ask what Cox has done to disappoint you? Are you in the Orange County system or San Diego?

    I work for Cox and I would like to know, if you’re willing to say, what Cox has done to give you such a distaste for us.


  19. swifty5033 says:

    It is a form vandalism and trespassing and they should insist on a police report. If it was an address screwup they don’t want to be sued later for the dish. The dish is evidence and really should be given to the police. They should talk to neighbors to see if they know anything about it as well. If they do actually recieve a bill from someone it could be a scam. If it was a legit mistake, there is still the issue of liability from the installation and removal of the dish. Did it cause damage? A police report is still the safe bet. The only question I have is whether they should try to remove the dish themselves.

  20. hellinmyeyes says:

    I’d just keep/sell the dish. They’re not worth gold, but I’m sure some pirate guys wouldn’t mind an extra dish to use. If she’s not receiving a bill, and it didn’t damage the house, I don’t see too many problems haha.

    If it did tear up the roof, that’s a whole other story…

  21. persch5 says:

    You all are talking about a problem that is bigger than you think. If she installed a new rook recently or has insurance and a roof leak a claim could be denied because of intentional damage to the roof.

    If you do take it off by yourself, be sure to fill the holes with silicon caulking. There should now be 4 holes in your roof to penetrate your house’s out skin.

    This is totally vandalism and someone should take care of it for you. If a rock was thrown through your window the cops would file a report. Why not this?

  22. Uriel says:

    Happy Mother’s Day Jane!

  23. MotherFury says:

    Chongo’s right. No LNB (the cylindrical thing that is supposed to be in the middle that houses the guts), without that, you won’t get much on eBay for it. Or your TV. ;-)

  24. VicMatson says:

    Turn the dish into a WiFi antenna and get free broadband from one of your neighbors! Might even be the one with the missing dish.

  25. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    So…does the dish work?

    I’m sure somebody else ordered it, and they screwed up the house address. But, look at it this way, it could have been much better or much worse.

    Much worse: Somebody ordered a demolition crew to the wrong address (it does happen!).

    Much better: Somebody ordered a swimming-pool install crew to your address. :D

    The police seem to be totally useless in many cases. I had somebody shatter the windshield on my new car with a pellet gun, and the response I got when I called the police was “Well, we don’t investigate vandalism.” They never sent anyone out and I did get the insurance company to replace it, but come on.’re the police..aren’t you supposed to investigate crimes and stuff? If the glove was on the other foot and I broke somebody else’s windshield, wouldn’t that be a crime? (If nothing else, wearing gloves on your feet would be).

    (And yes, I agree with the other commenters who said the police should investigate this. Maybe it wasn’t intentional vandalism, but strangers stuck a dish to the roof of your house, and I assume they ran the cable into the living room. Maybe this isn’t the crime of the century, but it should be investigated).

  26. krunk4ever says:

    @codegrl: unfortunately if you do that (take it off and sell it on ebay), someone sometime later can sue you for theft of mislaid property:

    Man Charged for Spending Misplaced Money

    I blogged about it recently: Finders Keepers, and submitted it to Consumerist, but I guess they didn’t find the story interesting.

    If it’s worth over a certain amount ($1000 I believe), it might also be a felony.

  27. bhelverson says:

    krunk4ever said “someone sometime later can sue you for theft of mislaid property”

    Yup. The legal doctrine is called Unjust Enrichment. If someone installs a swimming pool in your backyard and you say nothing, you will be purchasing a swimming pool.

  28. joeblevins says:

    Some of the commenters are a little confused. Remember this is only a dish, she doesn’t now have free service.

  29. OGA says:

    @krunk4ever and bhelverson: Agreed.

    I would try again with the Dish Network people; it’s really their property, and should be returned to them. However, I wouldn’t spend any of my own money shipping the thing back to them, and would ensure they covered any damage done to my roof. One would hope they would be reasonable about it, since it’s a major inconvenience for the homeowner (and possible future customer).

    I know my response is a little out line from the rest of the comments, but I’m also the guy who, upon reviewing his receipt in the parking lot, went back into a Trader Joe’s asking to be charged for a loaf of bread the cashier forget to scan. The manager gave me a weird look, initially agreed to my request, but then quickly told me not to worry about it. (That’s what a lifetime of Catholic school teaches you!)

  30. Indecision says:

    @dwayne_dibbly: “…and I assume they ran the cable into the living room.”

    Installers won’t enter a house if nobody’s home. They’d be opening themselves up to all sorts of trouble if they did. Typically, someone 18+ years of age has to be there at all times (you can’t even let them in and then leave, you have to stay).

  31. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    One other possibility: A member of the procrastinators club put it up as an April Fools joke!
    A really late April Fools joke!
    After all, the LNB is missing. I see discarded dishes occasionally in the alleys around Chicago.

  32. ShadowFalls says:

    The weird part is, why would they install a dish when you are not even there? I have never seen installers do anything if you are not there. Also, to be a full installation, you would need to have access to the inside of the house. Either this is fake, some installer was on crack, or someone pulled a very good prank…

    Next time you think about TPing a house, don’t, just install 15 satellite dishes on their roof instead.

  33. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @Indecision: You’re right, that’s true, which makes the whole incident of the “drive-by-dishing” seem all that much more strange.

  34. Namrepus says:

    Honestly, I think the cops should do something about this.

    This is technically vandalism and it is indeed a police matter.

  35. brundlefly76 says:

    Hey I found a Coca-Cola can on my lawn this morning and Coca-Cola is disavowing any knowledge or responsibility whatsoever (!!) – please spam the hell out of the Coca-Cola CEO’s mailbox because my personal trivia is more important then anything!

    Grab a screwdriver, remove the dish, and get on with your life for christs sakes.

  36. critical_matt says:

    @: Actually it’s not. Vandalism is the malicious destruction of property. If the installer messed up on the address, it was just a mistake, not vandalism. There must be actual intent to cause damage for something to be vandalism.

  37. arcticJKL says:

    I agree that this is trespass and vandalism. A police report should be filed.

    If they had dumped it on the lawn that would be something different. What is to stop them from coming back and drilling a hole in the side of the house for a cable?

  38. arcticJKL says:


    They intended to put holes in the roof.

  39. INHUMANITY says:

    There are a few things she and you guys are over looking.

    The Dish has no LNB’s, so it’s useless. As you can see the short run of RG59 goes no-where but loops back into the Dish like the person started the install and stopped.

    He didn’t attach the LNB’s or run the cable into her home.

    My best guess is that he started the job, stopped because he realized he f’ed up the address, and went on his merry way. But who knows?

    One other thing – Jane is referring to the satellite dish as a “receiver” which it’s not. Sure you can loosely refer to it as a receiver, but it’s not in the satellite world.

    If she actually had a receiver, the installer would have had to gain entrance into her home to install the receiver.

    Did that happen? There is no mention of that anywhere in her letter or comments.

  40. mattbrown says:

    that’s crazy, but who cares? Jane: climb on roof, remove dish, throw in garbage.

  41. donsherio says:

    =_= mmmmmm dont listen to the people who say Sell it. cause it technically still isnt youres. Even if Dishnet or whatever doesnt want it, someone put it there. and put holes in your roof, and trespassed. I would go to the Media, Tell them the police arent doing anything, that will make the police take ur situation seriously, and maybe you will get some progress. Cause yeah, Technically it IS tresspassing and vandalism. Someone came onto your property, climbed onto ur roof, drilled holes into your roof, and installed a dish that you dont want. I wouldnt touch it as it is evidence. and even tho its been left on your property, the dish isnt your. Just like if i leave my bike on your lawn. its still mine. You do have the right to do what you wish with the dish, you just dont have the right to alter the ownership of it. Leave it alone, get the media’s attention, and get the police to do something.. and hey, if no one claims it and nothing can be done, then you get a free dish. Since youve done everyting you can to get rid of it legally, you can now legally sell it or do with it as you please :P (just hope its not a mothers day gift :P)

  42. Buran says:

    @krunk4ever: If someone leaves something on my property and if I attempt to return it to whoever I think is the owner (whose name is on it!) and they don’t take it, who e would it belong to but me?

    If she sells it, what are they going to do? Sue her for something left on her own property that no one wants?

    I’d love to see a jury convict her for that.

    I’d call support again, record the call, and get a rep to say they won’t take it back and that they don’t care what she does with it.

    Or just sue, and have the papers delivered to their nearest hole in the wall office.

  43. mechanismatic says:


    I don’t know the laws in Jane’s community, but I don’t think this would be a criminal matter.

    My understanding of trespassing laws, at least where I am, is that it’s not trespassing unless you are aware that you are not wanted on the property (i.e. signs posted “no trespassing” or someone there to tell you to leave and you refuse to leave). In this case, the installer probably thought they were supposed to be there, installing the dish. Trespassing is about not leaving somewhere where you know you’re not supposed to be. Now if the installer were to enter the residence (which they probably wouldn’t if they had any sense at all), it might become a criminal matter.

    As for the vandalism, as Critical_Matt already pointed out, there’s no intent to destroy private property here. It would be a civil matter to sue the installer if they actually damaged the house during the installation, i.e. drilled holes or something like that. It would probably cost you more in legal fees to pursue than you would get, if you can even figure out who exactly installed it. But you can’t press criminal charges against someone who did what they did because they thought they were requested to. What DA is going to prosecute that? Maybe if the community doesn’t have any actual crime occurring and the DA is bored and doesn’t care about being re-elected…?

  44. Ben Popken says:

    Saw this comment on Digg:

    Having installed for a couple years, two things come to mind,

    A) That looks like an intrusive roof mount (the bolts are going thru a sealed roof), unless they were particularly detail-oriented (considering the goof, I’m assuming their not) then you’ve got some serious water damage to deal with over time. I was always instructed to find the best eve / side mount and to pole mount when possible to avoid this type of install.

    B) The LNBs are nowhere to be seen. This lends me to believe that it may have been setup by a custom A/V shop that sent out their dish techs and the installers were to come out with the receiver box and any other goodies (usually Amp, Speaks, etc) to finalize the install. Saw this happen constantly with pre/post-construction.

    Anyway, she does need to find out who did this since the mounting will require some work to be done to prevent any leakage.

  45. Nytmare says:

    Dish shouldn’t have been looking for “you” in their database, they should have been looking for recent dish installation orders anywhere in your area, especially on the street you live on. Although it is possible their database interface is incompetently designed and can’t handle such a lookup.

    As she has taken reasonable steps to locate the owner, the dish now belongs to her.

  46. acambras says:

    I still don’t understand how Dish Network sent installers to her home when there was no one there. Dish needed to come to my place a couple of weeks ago, and they gave me a 4-hour window when I needed to be home. I imagine that if I hadn’t been home, the technician would have hung a “sorry we missed you!” notice on my door and left.

  47. Solarscreen says:

    This appears to be a prank. Installers don’t make a lot of money to start with and would not waste the time to start an install when the home owner is not there to sign for the time and equipment to do the install. Some kids have gotten hold of a partial dish and stuck it up for the fun of it. Must be a quiet town!

  48. pestie says:

    You can get NASA TV for free on Dish Network. Just a a “free-to-air” receiver or satellite receiver device (PCI card/USB) for your PC, and there ya go! I think there are still some unencrypted music channels on Dish as well.

  49. BStu says:

    This probably isn’t a criminal matter, but we don’t know that yet. We assume it was a mistake installation, but that is just an assumpsion. If the police let you file a report for vandalism or tresspass or property destruction, etc., that would be useful in getting the probably more justified civil resolution of this matter. Filing a report isn’t bringing the case to trial. Its just filing a report. As the Dish network claims no knowledge of an installation, that is the appropriate next step.

  50. Bryan Price says:

    I’d take it down and then I’d probably just through it through a Dish Network agent’s window. Since they can’t trace it, they can’t tell who did it.

    Yes, I’d be that mean.

  51. fhic says:


    How much time have you got? I have cable TV from Cox San Diego, as well as a separate business-class internet account which my employer pays for. Problems:

    1. Price. Cox is charging $85 for a decent selection of digital cable TV, plus $100 for the business internet. Dish is giving me more channels, receivers in multiple rooms, and high-def as well, for about half that. And free DVR, which will also save me $12.95/month I pay for TiVo. AT&T is setting me up for business DSL at less than half the Cox rate, with twice the speed and, by all accounts, much better reliability.

    2. Customer service. On the one hand, let me start with a compliment: it’s easy to get ahold of a human at Cox. Unfortunately, what answer you get depends on who you talk to. Case in point… I’m going to be switching from standard digital TV to high-def service. So I called Cox CS to ask what it was going to cost me and what it would take. I don’t want to turn this into a novel, so let me just say that three different calls got me three different answers. On the business internet side, your first- and second-tier support folks are often rude, clueless, and unhelpful.

    3. Quality of service. It sucks, to be rather impolite. TV picture quality is often poor, with all kinds of brief dropouts and blocky artifacts. I particularly love those times when the cable box occasionally resets itself during the night and doesn’t power back on, leaving me with a TiVo full of recordings of a blank screen. The same goes for the internet service. Regularly the throughput slows to a crawl, DNS just stops resolving, or known high-reliability web sites just vanish temporarily. And I live in fear of seeing a Cox truck stop at the pole in front of my house.

    Also, and unrelated issue: in looking over some of your comments, I noticed that you often comment on Cox and other telecomm providers. You may be unaware that it’s considered good netiquette to mention that you’re employed by them so as not to give the illusion that you’re an unbiased party.

  52. RogueFace says:

    I’d have to go with this being a prank. I used to install directly for Dish Network (I worked for the company, not a subcontractor). One thing I can tell you is that the dish itself is a mass produced item, and Dish Network has millions of them. They do not want it back. It also has no identifying marks (i.e. serial numbers) on it. There is no way to track who it came from or when it was installed, etc.

    Also, unless an installer really didn’t like their job, they would NEVER install ANYTHING on the outside of a house without a responsible adult being there. If we were on a job, and the person had to run five minutes out to pick their kid up from school, we had to drop what we were doing and go sit in our van til they got home.

    If, however, this WAS installed by Dish OR a subcontractor, the dish should be mounted to your roof with five or six 3″ lag bolts. We’d just slap them right in there. The holes will also be sealed, either with silicone caulk over the bold heads, or with tar squares which the bolts were drilled through.

    The problem you face is this: You can dismantle the dish. There are a few 7/16″ head bolts holding the post to the plate that’s mounted to the roof. That will get the whole shebang off, except for the footplate. If you take the footplate off, the holes in your roof (which are currently sealed well and will not leak) will no longer be sealed, and you’ll just have six 1/2″ diameter holes in your roof. These will leak.

    My suggestion would be to take most of the dish down, leaving the footplate (it’s really not very big or noticeable). The only way you’ll get anything out of the company is if you can prove that they put the dish up, which you will have a very hard time doing. All of that stuff could very easily have been found in the trash and put up by some punk kids. :P

  53. dscosson says:


    1. DSL for half the price and twice the speed? What speed was your business HSI quoting you? I don’t know how much you know about DSL but, suffice to say, unshielded twisted copper pair is not a great medium for data. Basically, downstream rates exceeding 6 Mbps are very rare for DSL and can only be accomplished if your location is very close, within a few thousand feet, to a DSLAM.

    2. As far as customer service: Getting significantly different answers is not really acceptable. There are different options, are you sure the reps were not just going about it different ways? So far as I know, in San Diego the HD tier is free of charge (excluding HBO/Showtime HD); you will need an HD converter, which is $5.25 in San Diego.

    3. If you have “blocky artifacts” then you have signal issues. Tiling is basically the digital equivalent of a snowy picture you would see with analogue cable. Have you had a technician out to your house to look at your levels? Tiling is a physical issue and that’s the only thing that will get it fixed. Your issues with internet only seem to corroborate that. It’s not a matter of “that’s how their service is”. It’s a matter of addressing things like levels issues and line damage that are causing *you* to have a poor quality of service. As far as your box resetting, I am assuming you don’t have a DVR as you mentioned you have a TiVo. SA DVRs will shut off at about 1 am each night to extend hard drive life. If it is not a DVR box, that should not be happening; it is caused by software/OS or hardware failure, and the box should be replaced.

    I’m not personally familiar with the San Diego system but if it anything like my local Cox system, then we work until we get it right and the customer is satisfied with their service.

    As far as your “netiquette” (I hate smushwords) comment: I am aware of the convention but I do not agree with it. It is not necessary for me to disclaim my employment each time I comment on a cable/telecom related issue. Moreso, employment does not equal bias.

  54. The Meathead says:

    I’m not sure I quite understand why some commenters think she should just rip the thing down, discard it, and forget it.

    There’s HOLES IN THE ROOF. She didn’t want holes there, and those can be very troublesome down the road.

    Why should she have to deal with the dish at all when it was completely unsolicited?

  55. kish2554 says:

    I completely agree with “The Meathead.” Although my initial response would have been to just remove it, unless it doesn’t bother you, and discard it, but then the whole “damage to the home” comes in. I work for a cable contractor in the DFW area, and I’ve actually heard from a couple different satellite installers that they’re asked to NOT remove the dishes, as it’s free advertising. Just like having an 18″ billboard on the side of your house. The satellite mounting bracket is a couple different pieces, if I remember correctly. She should be able to remove the dish itself, and the arm that holds it up, without having to remove the actual piece that bolts to the home, at least until she can find some resolution.

  56. Jay Courtland says:

    Oh come on now! I realize this is a dated article but it is funny!! A Free Dish TV system isn’t so bad is it?

    I bet they are happy now and saved a lot on their pay tv costs. I love my Dish Network TV and would recommend it to anybody. Check it out if you like []

    It makes me sing like Susan Boyle all night long.

  57. Anonymous says:

    This is not a reciever this is an antenna. It has no lnbf. There are no serial numbers on it. If no one was there and installer especially a contractor would not install it. They get paid by the job and would just be waisting their time(losing money). Also people talking about hooking it up to your tv and getting free dish….this is useless since they dont have a reciever to decode the signal coming from the non-exsitant lnbf.

  58. Bernalillo Observer says:

    It’s an oldie – but an obvious goodie. All that is on the roof is the mount, the dish and a chunk of cable. Someone obviously got the incorrect house, discovered the error and stopped the install. Then – they hauled their posterior South before they got caught!

    Good old Dish Network! Perhaps a fellow by the name of BRENT SMART from the Albuquerque DN office could be responsible? He’s a talker – but not too good on details.