Sunday, February 8, 2009

The sound of silence or Dish Network sucks at customer service

I was sitting here pounding out that last post when all of a sudden the TV went quiet and some swearing erupted from the living room in the general vicinity of John.

"Did you pay the satellite bill???"

"um, I dunno."

"Well, until you go pay it online, it's been shut off. There's a big message on the screen."

Crap. I knew there was a bill I forgot about...and after inspecting our online account, I apparently have forgotten about it since December.

We owe $403.

There is no way I can justifying forking out $403 right this second in one big lump to pay for TV when I'm trying to scrape together the mortgage payment.

I call them up hoping to arrange maybe 1/2 now and 1/2 in 2 weeks because John (who was out of work for a whole year) just got a good job and we will be able to make that payment with his first check, expected in 2 weeks.

Nope. No dice. Bruce from Dish Network informed me that my account has been "reviewed by a supervisor and it was determined that in order to restore service, payment must be made in full."

I say "ok Bruce, then can I speak to your supervisor?"

"Well, it's a funny thing about that. I'm not authorized to transfer you to a supervisor unless you make payment in full right now. Then I would be happy to transfer you."

I said "Here's the thing about that, Bruce. When a customer is unhappy with the only arrangements the operator is authorized to provide, it is customary for the customer to ask for said operator's name and ID number and then be transferred to their supervisor in hopes of speaking with someone who DOES have authorization to make other arrangements."

He did not flinch.

"What I have read in the handbook is that I am to tell you that in order to be transferred to a supervisor, I must require you to make payment in full first."

"You're missing the WHOLE POINT, Bruce! If I COULD make payment in full, and had no reason to try and negotiate other arrangements to restore my service, then why would I even WANT to speak to the supervisor??"

"I can give you my name and Operator ID".

I took it down.

And then it dawned on me. Who am I going to complain to? He can't transfer me and the number I could call is top secret. If he told me he'd have to kill himself or be fired.

So here we sit. My keyboard has never resounded so loudly in my ears before. I've always had background noise to block it out.

The refrigerator hums louder than I remember, and the clock on the wall actually makes a ticking sound. Who knew?

Not quite "silent" but too close for my comfort level.

John, the real TV junky, is busily trying to remember how to hook up the DVD player and instructing me that I am to make a run by McD's where the Red Box is and get SOMETHING to watch.

I thought all this scraping to try and make ends meet and keeping all the bills paid and trying to stay afloat was working. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel because he had this job and everything was going to be okay....

Personally, I was brought up on a sailboat where we didn't even have electricity, much less TV. We heated, lighted and cooked with kerosene and entertained ourselves by using our imagination. I have the tools to survive and after a day of withdrawal I'm sure I'll be fine.

John on the other hand, will be a basket case in no time and THAT I'm not ready to deal with.

A happy John is worth the $403, trust me.


  1. Oh, no. TV-free house? That sounds serious. I would probably be okay for a while, but my roommate would freak. Seriously, the sound of the TV being turned down or off wakes her up. I feel for you.

  2. I leave the TV on during the day/evening for my cat when I go to work...she's learning to cook like Rachael Ray and curse like that sailor, Judge Judy!!!

  3. I have been without dish network for three weeks now.. the only thing that saved us with a two year old addicted to "Handy Manny" and a 9 year old TV junkie as well was the dvr. I have seen so many episodes over and over again I am going nuts.. but with the kids still calm I am a little happier than I would have been , and yes I got the same story when I called..they can't help you until you pay.. well what about the time when I ordered a payper view and waited for it to turn on and when it didn't I called and they scheduled it to turn on two weeks from that point..... WHAT???? they would NOT fix it... they said "just watch it in two weeks", they were not remorseful at all....they would not fix it.


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