I purchased 2 Dish 500 Receivers in December of 1999, and signed up for 1 Year of service on New Year's Eve. I Pre-paid the full year (about $750) for the service, since there was a big rebate on the equipment if you signed up for a full year.
At first, I was satisfied with my service. About 6 months later, I realized they had added 50 new channels and I wasn't getting any of the new ones. Then is when I got my first bad taste of their Customer Service. When I called to add the new channels, they told me that I couldn't add them unless I signed up for another Full Year. I said I did not want to commit past my original 1 year contract, and would pay whatever the extra was. The rep said In that case, you will just have to wait until the end of the year, and add them Next Year, because Our Computers won't allow you to make any additions, since you pre-paid for a year. I gave up on adding the 50 new channels, since their System couldn't accommodate it.
In the fall of 2000, we decided that we would switch back to our local Cable Company, since Dish 500 did not carry any of our local NBA Basketball games (They were always Blacked Out in our area, and carried only on a local Cable channel. I stopped using the Dish Receivers around Thanksgiving, and had Cable Reinstalled.
In early December, I got a renewal bill in the mail for about $750, so I called Dish Network to cancel my service. I said that I already had cable, and wasn't using the Dish any longer. They told me Our Computers won't allow you to cancel until your 1 year contract is up, so you will have to call back at the end of the year. I told them I didn't want any refund, just to set it up so I wouldn't wind up being billed for more than I had already pre-paid them, and asked how to do it. They said to ignore the Renewal Bill, and to call back on Dec 31 to cancel.
On Dec 31, I called them. You have to go thru a series of menu selections to change service, and the first people you talk to are only for changes, not to cancel. I was asked why I wanted to cancel, and explained that. The rep said he would have to transfer me to the people that do cancellations, and put me on hold for a few minutes. Then he came back on and said they had told him I must wait until the next day (New Year's) to cancel, or else Our Computer would think that you didn't keep your service for the full year, and would Bill you for the equipment (I had agreed to keep the service a Full Year to qualify for the equipment rebates, and was trying to do just that). I explained that they had told me earlier that I was to call on Dec 31. They said, Sorry, but our Computers won't allow you to cancel except the same day you call. I said, O.K., I'll call again tomorrow, but you had better not try to charge me extra because I am doing everything you ask to cancel at the end of my contract. Don't worry, we won't charge you extra was the response.
On Jan 1, 2001 I called again to cancel. The rep said they would cancel my service, but that I owed something like $48 balance, and they didn't know what it was for. He said he would check into it and call me back. A couple hours later, he called back and said my service was cancelled -- but I owed them something like $4.80 For 2 days of extra service. He said that he had already waived a late charge of $5.
I went thru the whole story again of my efforts to cancel properly, but he said there was Nothing he could do. I asked to talk to his supervisor, and went thru the whole story again. The supervisor said he had a record of my call from early December, but not from Dec 31 -- and said I should have cancelled on Dec. 30 to avoid extra charges. I explained that I was told Dec 31, and that the Change rep never transferred me to the Cancel rep on Dec31, because he checked with them while having me on hold and said I had to wait until Jan1. I said they must have a record of my call. Sorry, but you must pay the $4.80 was his response. In utter DISGUST, I said, O.K. send me the bill and I will pay it under protest, but I will let other people know how you treat your customers. It is the Principle of the whole thing. I probably spent over an Hour total on the phone trying to properly cancel my service, and called back on the dates they told me I had to.
Either their Customer Service people are Completely Incompetent, or they have a Terrible system for handling changes and cancellations. But in either event, they have no right to give out this kind of misinformation and then charge you for their mistakes.