HughesNet Hughes Network Systems, LLC misrepresentation of availability, lied about alternative ISPs, service down as often as up, won't waive termination fee Germantown, Maryland
When we signed up for service, I specifically asked if weather would affect service and was told that it would not. They also voluntarily offered to check whether DSL, Cable, or other high speed access was available in my area, and they told me that it was not. This was a major factor in my deciding to sign up during that phone conversation, since I seemed to have no alternatives. I should have verified this information myself though; there is DSL and wireless broadband access in my area.
We've never been happy with the service. After the first month, service started being down about as often as it was up. We researched online and found the company has had class action lawsuits filed for false representation of service and poor service levels. The only people we could find talking about HughesNet were talking about how awful their service and customer support are. We were even told by the contracted installer that calling them for support would only get you to a call center in India and someone reading from a script. They offered to provide their own tech support, dealing with local techs who understand the technology, for a monthly fee, which we declined at the time.
Given the information we found online and were given by our installer, we never bothered calling tech support about our issues. When the internet was down at home and we needed to use it, we used our cell phones or drove to work to use theirs. A neighbor tipped us off to there being DSL and wireless in the area, and we immediately set up a DSL account with the local telco. I called to cancel our HughesNet service thinking they would be reasonable about the termination fee. After all, they bald face lied to us about weather affecting service (it was always down any time it was cloudy, but that was far from the only time), and the also lied to us about there being no other service providers in our area.
They informed me my account was cancelled and gave me a confirmation number, but said the termination fee was "a valid charge". I spoke with a manager who also said the termination fee of $400 could not be waived, but that we could get $200 back for returning the equipment. I received an email with direction for that--it involves dismantling the satellite dish myself (or, as they recommend, hiring a professional to do it for me), and shipping 10+ pounds to them in Maryland at my expense. Obviously, I won't be seeing much of that $200 refund. Regardless, the $200 I'd get back for equipment return is in no way related to the $400 termination fee; I should be able to
get the equipment buyback amount and the termination fee waived and be in the green, not be getting a discount on termination.
So my main complaint is that they want me to honor an agreement they talked me into under false pretenses while they've done nothing to honor their obligation to provide service during the time that agreement was in effect. On the phone, they dismissed my lack of service, saying they could do nothing since I never called technical support. By all accounts I found, this would have been a waste of my time; besides, when I pointed my browser at their modem, it always informed me that the service was working when it obviously wasn't. And again, I want to underline the fact that they lied on multiple accounts in order to get me to sign up in the first place.
I've filed a report with the BBB and FTC, as well as here. I plan to contest any charges they make, or anything they file with the credit bureaus. I'll post updates as things progress.
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