“Come on, baby. Don’t go like that!”

On 17 June, 2005, in Rants, by C. Scott Davis

I just called DishNetwork to cancel my service, and found myself in a conversation that was more like a break-up than anything else:

“Why are you leaving me?”

First, they wanted to know why I was cancelling my account. Okay, fair enough. So, I gave them my reasons1.

“I’m sorry, baby. You know how much I love you.”

They apologised, and let me know how important I was to them as a customer.

“Give me another chance! What can I do to make this work?”

They offered me a $50 discount on the equipment upgrade. They offered me free programming. Then they asked me what it would take to keep me as a customer. I told them it was too late, that I had already switched to DirecTV, and that I was just trying to give them feedback so they wouldn’t lose more customers over these same issues.

“It’s not my fault! You’re impossible to please!”

They explained how and why new promotions work the way they do (which I already knew), and told me it was unreasonable to expect free equipment.

“I can change! Just give me time.”

I suggested they offer upgrades using the same method (require an additional 1-2 year contract, to recoup the cost), and they said that they weren’t sure if they could do that, but reminded me that promotions change all the time, and that if I just wait, there might be a better upgrade offer available in the future.

“You won’t find anybody better than me.”

They then began pointing out flaws in DirectTV, and warned me that my new DVR would only hold 35 hours. When I told them that it’s actually 70 hours, they implied (without actually coming right out and saying so) that DirecTV might’ve lied to me and that I might really only have 35 hours.

“You just don’t understand!”

At one point, they were actually trying to convince me that the DishNetwork software can already do everything that TiVo can (which simply isn’t true). When I told them I’d been using it for two years, and that it definitely didn’t have those features (such as named-based instead of date/time-based recording), they said that maybe I just didn’t know how to use them.

You’ll regret this! And don’t come crawling back to me, when you do!”

They told me that before they can cancel my account, they have to make sure that I’m aware of the penalties. If I decide to sign up with DishNetwork in the future, there will be an additional $25 fee and I will have to pay for my programming packages in advance. They also pointed out that I will not be eligible for any new customer promotions (such as equipment or installation), and asked if I was sure I still wanted to cancel. I said yes, and they cancelled my account.

“I still love you, baby.”

Before hanging up, they said that under the circumstances, they felt it only fair to make a notation in my account that the $25 fee should be waived, if I decide to come back, and that they hoped that one day I would.

During the whole conversation, I just kept feeling like I should be saying, “It’s not you. It’s me.” or maybe asking if we could still be friends. 🙂

1 After promising existing customers an eventual dual-tuner upgrade for two years now, DishNetwork finally decided to offer one last month. The price? $199. It’s been available to new customers for about a year and a half now (they’re even offering it as a free upgrade now, when you sign up as a new customer), but existing customers have had to wait. Now that it is available, they want us to pay $199 for it. That’s just crazy.

Especially since DirecTV is more than happy to offer disgruntled DishNetwork customers an even better system for just switching providers.

I get the same basic channels (minus one or two that I don’t care about, and plus a few more that I don’t care about), dual-tuner DVR, and actual TiVo service, for $10/month less than I was paying DishNetwork.

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