DISH Runs Away With Refund Spoon

UPDATE: 6/18/07:

Thank you for your help! However – I just wanted to let you know that I did finally receive the refund check in today’s mail. While it turned out your help wasn’t necessary after all, it was a great relief just knowing that you were there and willing to look into the situation.

– Sarah

Dish Network has “sent me two refund checks” yet none of those checks have actually made it to my mailbox. The first time was blamed on the Chicago Postal system of my neighborhood so the second check was supposedly mailed to my work address.

They charged me for the full billing period, instead of the partial month for the last month of service. Since I didn’t use the full billing period I am suppose to be refunded the overage.

March 24th I moved from my prior address…

(Photo: Jordan and Lee)

…to a new apartment (which includes cable TV in the rent) so instead of transferring service I cancelled service. The first error was them not getting the correct disconnect date and instead of turning off service on March 24th (when I moved) they turned it off on April 1st. Silly me for not keeping a record of the conversation I had with the Dish Network representative because I could not prove the exact disconnect date. (I haven’t made that mistake since – but still haven’t gotten this issue resolved!) No big deal though – as long as the refund check came I wouldn’t split hairs over them turning off service one week after I moved!

Meanwhile I received numerous calls asking to “come back” to Dish. After explaining to each representative that called that cable was included with my rent – I think I finally convinced them it would be silly for me to pay for cable through them when it was included in the price of my rent. They also said I could expect to receive payment 6 weeks after service has been turned off.

Six weeks later, no refund check had been issued. I called again on May 22nd and was told that a refund check had been issued (they had a check number) so they could not help me with the fact that I hadn’t received the original one. I would have to wait until May 27th for the next step to happen.

May 29th I called again and asked to speak to a Manager. I was told that the check had been returned to them and they would now issue me another check. Later that day a representative from the financial department left me a message stating that before she could mail the check – she would have to verify the address since the original check was sent back to them. She left me her extension and the general phone number. After calling back I was told that unfortunately they did not have the capabilities to transfer me and maybe that person could help me. Finally I convinced them that I was returning a call and got transferred! Only to leave a message as the representative was busy.

The next day I still had not received a return call so decided to call back. Again I was told they did not have the capabilities to transfer me and maybe they could assist me. After again going round and round with that representative I was finally transferred directly to the financial representative who initiated the call. She assured me that the check would be in fact being dropped in the mail that day, confirmed my address and stated that it could have been a problem with the USPS. I gave her my work address and confirmed this would not be an issue. I also asked her if there was a direct number that I could call her at as getting transferred was a waste of about 15 mins of my day. She assured me she would “make a note on my account” and that it “shouldn’t be a problem and I could expect the refund by June 9th, but if there was a problem to call her back”.

It is now June 13th – 11

weeks after I initially cancelled my Dish Network account and I still have yet to receive a refund check! I called my friend in the finance department back today – after another 15 min conversation with the initial rep (again I was told she couldn’t transfer me) I was told that my friend didn’t have voice mail (which I know is not true as I left a message to her once before) and a note was made on my account and could expect a call back from her within the next 24 hours.

It is not a lot of money that is owed to me. It will not make or break me, however if I owed them $20.88 and didn’t pay I would be sent to collections! They should be held equally as accountable. I have done everything correct and been patient enough – I don’t know how to get this refund check and am hoping you can help!

– Sarah

1. Write complaint letter
2. cc to DISH HQ, your local Public Service Utilites Comission, Attorney General, and Better Business Bureau (make sure it notes the cc on the letter so everyone sees where it’s going
3. Await response, results
4. If you get no favorable response, file suit in small claims court

UPDATE: Just as we were about to post, Sarah wrote again:

Okay – update on the refund check. I searched the internet and got EchoStar’s (The parent company of Dish Network) corporate phone number. I used that number and surprisingly had no problem whatsoever getting directly transferred to Cora. She doesn’t remember speaking with me prior to today’s conversation and really couldn’t say what happened to my refund check but has found it! And will now send it out in the mail today and I can expect it 7 – 10 business days from today. (I doubt this). First thing – I didn’t know the check was “lost” and needed to be found and second – I must wait another frustrating 7 – 10 business days before this issue is resolved! I confirmed with her the address she is sending it to and asked for a direct number instead of the 1-800-333-DISH number as I’ve had difficulties getting through to her (no I’m not going to let her know I have a direct number to her!) She said there wasn’t one and for me just to continue to use that number and she will leave a note on my account.

I’ve marked it down on my calendar yet again and we will see if the check actually got mailed this time.

Ah yes, once again, the power of taking your complaint straight to the corporate top. Google Finance is an amazing resource for finding these phone numbers. — BEN POPKEN

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.