In the past three years, more than 53,000 customers have complained to the Better Business Bureau about satellite TV providers, with 39,000 of those complaints filed against DirecTV and 13,000 filed against Dish Network. Many complaints stem from fees and terms outlined in the customer agreement and BBB recommends that TV viewers planning to make the switch to satellite should read the fine print closely.
According to company reports, DirecTV has more than 18 million customers in the US and Dish Network has more than 14 million. The complex policies and fees that are sometimes unique to satellite service has led many customers to complain to BBB about the contractual obligations outlined—but often overlooked—in the fine print of their agreement.
“Many complaints to BBB about satellite providers stem from steep cancellation fees,” said Kim States, BBB President. “If customers aren’t satisfied with their service or they can’t afford the cost after the introductory period, it isn’t that easy to cancel because the early termination fees can run into the hundreds of dollars.”
Following are examples of common complaints BBB receives about satellite TV providers:
- Early Termination Fees – Complainants report paying cancellation fees amounting to more than $600. Commonly the customer felt that the company didn’t provide the services promised and they shouldn’t have to pay to cancel service they weren’t happy with or didn’t receive. In some cases the customer claims they were not aware of the policy or that a sales rep misrepresented the terms.
- Introductory Offers – Many promotions will offer a lower price or premium channels for an introductory period, after which the customer will be charged the full price. Some complainants state their monthly bill increased substantially more than they anticipated. Others state they were promised gift cards for signing up that never materialized or rebates that couldn’t be redeemed immediately.
- Billing issues – Some complainants state that they were charged for services they didn’t order—such as pay per view movies—or were charged for services which they thought would be (more…)