"HughesNet is Absolutely, Without A Doubt, The Worst Company I Have Ever Had The Misfortune of Relying On"

Reader Jeff isn’t pleased with HughesNet and has cc’d us on his email so that we can listen in. It’s more of a warning than a specific complaint that can be resolved:

I would just like to take this opportunity to reiterate, for the hundredth time, how much I loathe HughesNet. I have just been FAPed again. No one here is downloading any movies, music, books, or much of anything — just using the Internet. I have a guest visiting, and I’m assuming their additional drain on the ridiculously small 375 MB cap we’re afforded is what’s knocked us over the limit…so now I’m stuck at sub-dialup speeds for the next 24 hours.

But even if we were downloading movies, music, or books — so what? That’s my prerogative as a customer of your hideously overpriced, unreliable service. I pay the bill, I should get to decide what to use the service for. As long as I’m not doing anything illegal, how I use HughesNet’s service should be up to me — particularly since I work from home, and depend on that service in order to make money to feed my family.

Does HughesNet care? No. HughesNet knows that 95% of its customers have no broadband alternative, so they overcharge, and supply negligent (at best) customer service. Here’s a terrific example: During the installation that I paid $600 for, HughesNet’s technician came out to my two-story home and bolted an enormous dish to the roof, angled perfectly to collect snow during the winter months. Does HughesNet give the option of bagging the dish to prevent signal disruption after snowstorms? Does HughesNet give the option of spraying the dish to aid in keeping snow off? Of course not. HughesNet offers to charge me $140 for a service call to clean the dish.

Upload speeds are abysmal — and what’s worse, uploads are consistently disrupted and truncated. What is HughesNet’s solution? To offer me a new, supposedly faster modem — and charge me for the modem, plus shipping, plus demand a penalty-laden extension of the 18-month agreement I had to sign just to receive service in the first place. No thanks, HughesNet.

HughesNet is absolutely, without a doubt, the worst company I have ever had the misfortune of relying on for an essential service. The way it treats its customers may not be technically criminal, but it should be. I take comfort in knowing that the rapid spread of alternative technologies — such as wi-fi, which should be reaching my corner of New Hampshire this spring — will decimate HughesNet’s customer base, reducing the company to nothing more than a deeply unpleasant memory for its former victims.

I’m cc:ing the office of my Congressman, my Senators, the good people at consumerist.com, and the Better Business Bureau on this e-mail. They may not be able to do anything, but too many of this company’s customers suffer in silence. We need to do a better job of spreading the word that, for most people, having no Internet connection at all is preferable to signing up with HughesNet.