I fell for it two years ago. My phone service provider was offering a deal of bundling my telephone, long distance, internet service and cable. All for one low bundled price! Then it was time for us to reconsider things in our household and we made a decision to end our cable service. Oh no!
So, I dutifully called DISH, confirmed my contract end date and told them I wanted to end my service as of the contract end date. You know, so they don’t charge you that pesky early termination fee. We confirmed things. Then the devil in the details.
Century Link is my telephone supplier. They bill me for my services, including my cable. My bill cycles with them on the 2nd of each month. But, my cable, strangely, ended on May 9th. Century Link bills in advance for DISH, remits money to DISH on my behalf, and then collects from me. So, my May Bill included a full month of cable charges in addition to my phone and internet. I called them to ask about my credit for cable, since it was terminated. Their response: ” You have to pay the entire bill because we already forwarded your payment to them and then we will credit you back on your phone bill once we receive a credit from DISH for your cable charges”. I asked if they had been informed of my cancellation. Answer “No”. I stated that I didn’t want to advance them money that would be turned around to me in short order and asked to pay the portion of my bill related strictly to my phone and internet. Their response: “If you do that you will be behind and subject to disconnection”.
At this point, I am trying to figure out how it is appropriate to disconnect my telephone and internet, if I pay for it, for the non-payment of a 3rd party service provider who will owe me money if I pay the full $90 due. Mechanically, I get it. Fundamentally, ITS WRONG!
Here is my phone service provider who obviously ended its relationship with DISH due to whatever business reasons, and yet would spend the effort to ruin its customer service relationship with me so that I pay DISH. Right. Did you know that during this conversation they actually tried to sell me Direct TV Service bundle. Really? Are you kidding me?
Meanwhile DISH informs me that I have to pay the shipping charges to return their equipment, lest I get charged on my credit card for about $400 for their equipment. Putting aside the PURE irritation of having to pay another $15 to ship them back their equipment, we arrange for the boxes to be sent on April 29th. By May 9th, no boxes. May 15th no boxes. I call them, confirm my address and the indicate the boxes will be shipped on the 17th. Finally on May 25th the boxes arrive. On June 2nd I ship the equipment back, in their boxes, pay the shipping costs and consider: GOOD RIDDENCE!
Meanwhile, guess who is still not crediting my account for the cable service I haven’t effectively received since May 9th? You got it. Century Link. At this point my bill as cycled and no credit. Why? Well DISH hasn’t completed its paperwork. I ask again, why are you billing me? “Because we paid DISH on your behalf”. I reminded them of the cancellation, the records they have of my phone calls, yet still, no credit, pay us or else we cut off your phone/internet, and we will credit your account when we get word from DISH. So at this point I will be prepaid on my phone/internet service for about two months. SCAM!
Solution ‘” Don’t ever, ever again get bundled services wherein the lead service provider, Century Link in my case, is actually a subcontractor for another party. Buy them separately, get billed separately and enjoy the freedom of choice.
At this point my Ohio AG will get a final letter from me on this business practice once the credit is put on my account so we have a complete picture of how long my money was tied up without my benefit for a service I didn’t receive by a service provider. I’ll let you know.