Dish Network Raised My Rates Again: Lawsuits, Price Hikes And Why We’ll Be Cancelling Satellite As Soon As Our Contract Expires

Over the weekend I was looking at some of our household bills that we’re currently paying and was looking for ways to cut back on some of them.  One of the bills that I was looking over was the one from Dish Network.  I hadn’t looked at it for a couple months since it is on auto-pay, so when I checked the statement I was surprised to find that my bill had gone up for the second time in 3 months. (Another good reason to cut the cord)

The first increase in our bill had been expected as we’re now in the second year of a 2 year contract.  The first year we had received a promo price, after which our monthly bill increased by $20/month or so.  We agreed to that stipulation when we signed up, so there was no problem there.

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The second increase, however, as unexpected.  We had another $5/month increase in our bill which had no identifiable source as far as I could tell.  Time to do some further research.

Dish Network Price Increase

Dish Network Price Increase

We signed up for Dish Network back in December of 2010.  If it had been up to me completely I probably would have forgone the premium TV subscription, but my wife loves watching a few shows that you can only get on cable, and in the end I didn’t mind watching a few of my favorite sports teams on a regular basis.  So we signed up.

At the time we signed up we signed up for one of their lower tier packages, one of the ones that included the sports channels.    After credits, DVR rentals and so forth our bill came out to about $40. After 1  year it would increase to about $60 or so.

Less than 2 months after we signed up, however, we saw an increase in our bill!  Our bill went from $40 to $45+ after taxes.  Something wasn’t right. Hadn’t we just signed up for a 2 year contract with a price guarantee, only to see an increase 1 and a half months later?

Calling Customer Service To Complain

Obviously i wasn’t happy about seeing a price increase so shortly after we signed up.  I thought our price was guaranteed for the life of our contract?  Apparently it wasn’t.

When I called customer service they had apparently seen quite a few calls from other confused customers about the price increase.  Other customers apparently thought they had price protected packages as well.  The customer service agent started reading from a well practiced script that told me how the fine print in my contract says that they can basically raise the price at any time due to price increases from TV networks/etc – and that there was nothing they could do for me.

Obviously I wasn’t happy about that since I had just signed up on a special deal – only to see the price immediately increase. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was transferred.

Once again I complained to the supervisor, and after quite a long call they agreed to give me a $5 credit for the remainder of my contract – almost 2 years.  They said this credit would show up on my next bill.

When my next bill came the total was $5 less, so I assumed all was taken care of.

Conveniently Disappearing Customer Service Credits

This month I once again saw my price on my bill increase.   I went to our Dish Network online account to do some investigation.  I downloaded the current month’s bill and saw nothing to explain the $5 increase.  So I downloaded the previous month’s bill and saw that there was a miscellaneous credit on my bill under “Monthly Savings” that said “Cr: Agent 12 of 12″.  That was no longer on the current bill.

Apparently 12 of 12 meant that this $5 credit had expired.  Then I realized what had happened.  The agent how had given me that $5 credit originally hadn’t applied it for 2 years, but only for one.  I still have almost a year on my contract and their promised 2 year credit had disappeared after 1 year!

Chatting With Customer Service On Their Site And Twitter

I immediately went onto the Dish website and started a chat with their customer service representative to get this all straightened out.   I explained what I believe had happened and that the $5 credit need to be reinstated for the rest of my contract.  The rep told me that she couldn’t do that as there was “no note” from the previous customer service rep on my account explaining the 2 year credit.  No note from the rep, no reinstated credit.

I complained about this asking why I would have to suffer an increase because my customer service rep hadn’t done their job?   They’re the one who didn’t make the note, but I suffer?  After much back and forth I asked for a supervisor.

I was transferred to the chat supervisor and explained the situation again.  After much back and forth the best they would do is a 3 month $5 credit.  Not what I was hoping for but a little better.

Finally I complained about the situation on Twitter.  The customer service rep for @dish_answers said they would look at my situation too to see if there was anything they could do.  After a bit of back and forth they seemed confused about the situation saying that my promo price had expired.  When i explained it wasn’t a promo price but a credit to make up for the immediate price increase, they went back to the line about there being “no note on the account”.  There was nothing they could do.

So in the end, they risk a bit of bad publicity on my blog for a mere $40 or so in account credits.  Maybe I shouldn’t be  upset for such a small amount added to my bill- but it’s just the principle of the thing.  They promised the credit then went back on their word, and denied it had ever happened.

Dish Network Has A Class Action Lawsuit Against Them.. For The Same Rate Hike

One funny thing in this whole situation was how shortly after they increased my bill, Dish started trumpeting how I wouldn’t see ANOTHER price increase for 2 years or something.  The statement has this wording:

Here’s the DISH…As we committed, we are keeping prices frozen until Feb. 2013 for our America’s Top and DISH America Programming Packages. By comparison, our competitors’ core programming pricing is increasing by an average of $4 or 5% in the beginning of 2012.

So they’ve committed to not raising prices (again) on 7 of their popular packages.  When you dig a bit deeper, however,  you’ll see that their crafty wording has conveniently left out about 10 other packages and a myriad of services that they WON’T be freezing prices on.  Go figure.

While I was researching this price increase and disappearing credit I found something even more interesting on one of my bills. It was a class action lawsuit settlement that Dish was making with customers because of the February 2011 price increase. Apparently they were now agreeing to give customers account credits, free months of Blockbuster streaming or free pay per view credits to settle the lawsuit.  Why were they settling?  The alleged illegal price increase in February 2011 – when I saw my rates go up:

In March 2011, Girard Gibbs LLP and co-counsel Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC and The Wentz Law Firm filed a national class action lawsuit alleging that DISH unlawfully raised its prices for satellite television services in February 2011. The suit alleges that DISH breached its contracts and violated the Colorado Consumer Protection Act when it raised prices on customers who were bound by a two-year contract with discounted pricing for the first 12-months. The Court preliminarily approved a settlement on November 23, 2011.

It appears that my account is eligible to receive the settlement offered in Parker V. Dish Network LLC, so I’ll be digging into that shortly so I can send it in before the March due date.    So apparently I was right about the price being protected.

So for now we’ll look into a settlement, and ride out the contract until it expires.  At that time we’ll be cancelling satellite and most likely cutting the cord to get our TV watching options in a more affordable way.

UPDATE: After publishing the post this morning Dish Network support on Twitter, @dish_answers ,  contacted me again to ask for another chance to rectify the situation.  They went on to fully credit my account with my $5 credit for the rest of my contract, as was promised.  Thanks to their support rep for doing that, but it’s sad it took 3 chats and a blog post to get it done!

Are you a Dish customer who saw illegal price increases as well?  Check out the linked class action lawsuit page to see if you qualify for account credits or other options as well.

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Last Edited: 20th February 2012

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Comments

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  1. says

    My next door neighbor has satellite and he is honestly the only person in my entire life that I have known to have been happy with the service. I also think he and his wife make a lot of money so they don’t care about the what it costs (which he’s offhandedly mentioned is a lot). The previous owners of our house had satellite as there was a dish mounted to the side of the house with a cable coming into the bedroom. First order of business when I moved in was to remove the cable and seal up the holes. No chance that was getting turned back on!

  2. says

    We’ve been with Dish Network for around 2 years. The only price increases I can think of were the end of our 1 year contract. That was partially offset by me cancelling the premium movie channels that were included for .01 for the first year. Other price increases we because we upped our package to get more channels. Other than that, we are WAY happier with Dish than we were with Time Warner. Time Warner had upped our bill by $40-$50 and was unable to drop that cost at all. In fact, they wanted me to bundle Internet, phone, and cable at a HIGHER cost. We dropped them and went to Dish.

  3. says

    I hate when companies just randomly increase pricing like that. If it were within months of signing a 2 year contract I would be furious. It’s good that you finally got the monthly $5 credit reinstated, but it sucks that you had to waste so much time to make it happen. Unfortunately not everyone has a popular blog where they can call them out for things like this. Did you happen to mention that fact when chatting with their customer service reps? With some companies a little threat can go a long ways.

    • says

      I didn’t mention the fact that I have a blog, but I think they may have seen it this morning after I published my post. That’s when they finally relented and made good on the credit. Just goes to show, even when they say they can’t issue a credit, there is always a way to make it happen.

  4. JD says

    We “unhooked” from Dish about a year ago. Both of us agree that we will not be paying to view the few commercials with a couple of shows thrown in again. Like others our rates went up, although we did have the cheapest package you can order and over time it is an expense that we don’t need. Know what the benefits to us have been? We actually get a lot more done, we read more, we talk more and we go outside considerably more. It is one of the best decisions we ever made.

  5. says

    Ridiculous! It is amazing how many people fail to even notice the increase. I just fought with cable company…how many people on autopay didn’t even notice the increase?

    It is so short sighted as they now have lost you as a customer come 12 months.

  6. Sherri says

    So glad I read your articles. I was just getting ready to switch to Dish from our cable but I’m giving it second thoughts. Thanks for giving me something to think about here and check out.

  7. Jim Chambers says

    I got burned exactly like you did. On my second year of a 2 year contract which I assumed was fixed rate. They claim they can raise the rate to anything they want and I have to pay it. I will definitely be looking for other service when my contract expires in August.

  8. Rob says

    I would like to know how this got resolved. They are doing it again. I think it is illegal. Breaking contracts because they under budgeted? Also, offering low prices and then raising them, equals false advertising? Thanks for any update. 1/29/14

    • says

      I’m no longer with Dish Network, we didn’t renew when we moved a few months ago. I’m not aware of what the resolution to the lawsuit, we may have to do some digging on that one.

  9. Derek says

    So they lay a blanket statement of “we will charge you more if the cost of providing this service increases” yet if i get more bills does that mean i get to pay $5 less while in contract? WHAT IS A CONTRACT FOR IF THEY HIKE PRICES. I also noticed a $5 increase in service and I am livid since i asked how much it would cost to cancel service with them. Unacceptable.

  10. Beatriz Fernandez says

    We had this same situation with my Husband just last night! DISH UNEXPECTEDLY not only did they RAISE our fees almost doubled but also CUT OFF most important channels (according to us) CNN, Cartoon Network and not sure how many others putting crappy ones instead.

    We were looking for CNN news at bedtime as our daily routine and could not found it so we called them to see if the original number (200) had changed or what. Not only did we find out that our AGREED contract (the promisses and channels offered had changed unexpectedly) but also price was higher than we had agreed UNINFORMED to us).

    Issues we see here:
    1) THEY do not stick to the CONTRACTED agreement (fine print seems to give them that PRIVILEGE to do what they want with the customer). WRONG!
    2) We did not even get a COURTESY email informing us of this changes (increase in price plus less channels)
    3) Customer service though polite, was most hypocritical as they know they will not RENEW contract with CNN as they were charged higher…so they dropped them (per first person explaining to us) “Supervisor” basically sugar coated as “pending renewal negotiating”.
    4) We were insulted with a “$5 dollars” discount promotional when they were not supposed to raise price for the first 2 years…..What about all the good channels they took out?
    SO they give us “hot dogs” but we are paying for “steak”?
    5) If we want out we have to pay PENALTY for complaining THEM not sticking to contract….ridiculous. THIS is CONSUMER ABUSE! Somebody in CONGRESS should review these companies and put a stop to these CONTRACTS from hell who only protect COMPANIES and CUSTOMERS are constantly SCREWED! RIP OFF is what they should be CALLED!
    NO less criminals than the common street Crook or online Scammers!

    • Frank Reico says

      We are having the same situation as many of you here. Our contract expired last year in 10/2014 and I ask them if they will give us a better deal I will stay with them. We had no problem till now when they raised out fees with more than double and just as Beatriz mentioned they cut many channels off and give us some shitty ones we don’t even like. We had so much problem with the costumer service for 2 years and even after that, we called them every single month. This is not suppose to be stressful but it is. Every time I had to call them I was on the phone for at least an hour and I was connected here and there and many times they hung up on me. I’m sick and tired and stressed of this crap and lies thy continue. I wish there is something we could do about this, or maybe just cancel them and go with someone else.

  11. Mad customer says

    My husband and I are having the same problem. I called customer service in August 2014 when my bill was charged a higher amount then what I was quoted. After a very long wait to speak with a supervisor he had promised me credits that would last for an additional six months. After I paid August’s ridiculous bill I was looking forward to paying a lesser bill come September. September came and another ridiculous bill was printed there in black and white. So I called. I forgot now what excuse they gave me. But again promised me that my next bill would be better. Now here I am looking at my next bill and once again it is not what they promised me. So I called customer service. The lady from customer service told me it was because my 25 dollar new customer credit had expired. I then told her of my conversations with supervisors promising of more credits to lower my bill. After some back and forth with her I was fustrated and told her to connect me with a supervisor since nothing was getting through to her. I sat on hold for 30 mins!!!! Then was disconnected!!! It will be cheaper and a lot less stress just to pay the cancellation fee and cut the cord all together. But on my part I don’t believe I should be the one to suffer financially to pay the cancellation fee since dish network did not hold up the agreement on their part.

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