I have an ongoing issue with DISH Network which has plagued me almost all of 2013 and now 2014. My story is not just an issue that affects me, but a warning to consumers when it comes to Auto Bill Pay and the popular Bundle Packages that many companies like DISH Network rely on as there marketing strategies. Since my issue has spanned over a year I’ve provided a short overview. I would like for you to understand the full scope of my issue and would be happy to discuss in person, over the telephone or I can provide a detail write up for you.
- Contacted DISH for TV and Internet bundle service
- I was sold their services as a package, which required me to enroll into their Auto Bill Pay service to receive their discounts, and was assured by the salesman that if I could not get one of the services I would not have to keep the package. I did not get this in writing.
- After 3 weeks (20 days) of no internet service because they could not get it connected (I had Centurylink internet service prior) I canceled both TV and internet with DISH and went back to DirectTV and Centurylink.
- I was told by DISH Network that I was responsible for the early termination fee for both services even though it was less than 30 days and I had never received their internet service. This totaled $450.00
- After 4 hours and 28 minutes on the phone with several DISH managers we came to the agreement that I would not be charged the early termination fees once I returned the equipment and my account would be closed. I returned their equipment within two weeks and got verification from DISH Network.
- Without my consent or knowledge DISH Network withdrew $450.00 from my bank account. I research this issue online and there are many complaints similar to mine concerning DISH Network.
- I had paid several bills at that time and because I live paycheck to paycheck I had four withdrawals bounce because of the withdrawal from DISH Network and was charged $140.00 in overdraft fees.
- I immediately issued a complaint to the Better Business Bureau and the Arizona AG office.
- At this time I had no money and had to rely on my credit cards to survive which cost me interest fees. Also my credit was affected because of the overdrafts.
- DISH agreed through the BBB to reimburse the $450.00 plus the $140.00 overdraft fees and was deposited back into my account several days later. I was still out my interest fees and credit damage but agreed to close the issue and DISH Network again reassured me that my account was closed.
- I received a call from a collections agency that I was severely past due on my DISH Network account and that to avoid any more damage to my credit score I needed to pay the balance immediately. I again search the internet and found this is a common practice for DISH Network.
- I reopened my complaint with the BBB and DISH Network responded back that there was an oversight and that the matter had been fixed and once again assured me that my account was closed and asked if I would close my complaint.
- This is twice that their mistakes have affected my credit score and I’m still out the interest charges from them accessing my bank account in June.
- I am currently in the process and have been when this issue surfaced, of refinancing my home. Their mistakes are going to haunt me for another 30 year or until I refinance again due to the damage of my credit score.
- I am currently unwilling to close this matter until I get some type of compensation for these issues that were never any fault of mine. The problem I am having at this time is quantifying an amount when there is no definitive correlation to credit score movement and dollars affected. Dish Network doesn’t believe any damages were caused and simply closing my account with them again is sufficient.
With your help I wish to use my consumer responsibility and not only share my story, but warn other consumers of the risks of Auto Bill Pay and Bundle Packages.
Auto Bill Pay:
- Give a business or corporation direct access to the consumer’s bank account. This gives them permission to withdrawal monies directly from the consumers bank account every month
- Upside: Convenience, the consumer does not have to worry about missing or being late on a payment.
- Downside: They have access to the consumers account. If there is a dispute over payment the consumer has lost control over the situation and the business will collect their payment. This also opens the consumer up to my situation where a business can access their account without their knowledge. The only way to stop it is to close the consumer’s bank account.
- If a consumer is set on using Auto Bill Pay, they should designate a credit card for that function. At least the consumer will have the credit card company to use if there is a dispute on a payment and the consumer’s bank account will not be affected.
- Get a clear understanding of what the bundle package consist of.
- Find out if there is an early termination fee for each service of the bundle package or only one early termination fee for the bundle. This could be a huge difference if the consumer needs to leave the agreement.
- When agreeing to a bundle package, get in writing that if any service of the package is not delivered then the whole bundle is voided without any early termination fees. This will allow the consumer to go elsewhere if the company cannot provide any of the services.
I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to make consumers aware of the issues that can arise when dealing with companies like DISH Network and even though it may not bring a close to my issue, if I can help other consumers from going through what I’m going through I will feel that this issue was not a total waste of my time and money.