72 year old Northfield, MN resident fearing retribution reported today that he had been getting billed by Dish TV for the last 14 months even though he doesn’t subscribe or have access to the service. Dish TV refused to refund the aging man’s money.
After confirming that he didn’t have a box in his apartment, no installation hook up available in the apartment and no Dish TV Network on the roof or anywhere in the area…and learning that the apartment banished dish from its tenants years earlier. I decided to help out.
I personally called Dish TV Network to take this on, assuring him, he would get his 14 months of payments which had been automatically deducting from his checking account back into his pocket. I didn’t see there would be any problem. The old man had been a subscriber for years at his old home in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, before moving into a facility he could negotiate better. You know how it is when you get old.
I spoke with Maria for two hours. Two hours. She fought for the companies money. She explained that the man had called the company randomly in March and agreed to pay for service. I told her this was not possible because there is no service there, no access and it’s not allowed by the apartment. And she fought.
The Master of Persuasion was getting nowhere with Maria.
Then I asked for her Conflict Resolution people. She passed me on to Vicki Kelly. Her direct dial is 915 298 5983 if you decide you want to call her and check on Dish TV’s point of view on this case and in fact I would deeply appreciate it if you did….you’ll see why in a second…
I explained to Vicki that the old man wasn’t likely capable of making a phone call to resubscribe and that he wouldn’t if he could because the apartment complex doesn’t allow Dish TV there. There is no installation hook up in the units, no Dish TV satellite on the roof and no box in the man’s unit to receive a signal even if it were possible.
She indicated again and demanded that the man DID call on March 26 and asked to subscribe and asked to have his checking account debited in the amount of $37 and change per month.
I asked her why there was a charge when there was no service.
“Because he called and asked us to charge his account,” Ms. Kelly said.
I nearly hit the ceiling.
Barely able to control my sanity and anger I offered a simple solution.
“Have one of your installation people stop off at the apartment. If there is a Satellite on the roof, satellite hook ups in the apartment or even an old Dish TV receiver in the apartment we would apologize and ask for nothing to be put back into the emptied checking account.”
“We aren’t going to do that Mr. Hogan,” Ms. Kelly stood firm, “He called on March 26, told us to debit his checking account for $93 and we did just that. If you want to dispute the last debit you have 20 days from the date of payment.”
I now began to get very angry.
“Do you teach your children it’s OK to steal from people? You can’t simply go into peoples bank accounts and take money out.”
“He told us to do it on March 26.”
“In return for what service?” My anger was seething? “There is NO SERVICE AT THE APARTMENT.”
“There doesn’t have to be. He told us to take the money out of his account monthly and we did that.”
Because I was in mental and emotional overdrive I went through the facts again, and the near impossibility that this specific man could make that phone call and that there was no reason to and that there was NO RECORD from DISH TV in THEIR RECORDS that anything had been installed, that the moral and right thing to do would be to confirm the facts and not steal the money.
“We’re not going to give him his money back. He asked for the monthly fee to be taken out of his account and we aren’t putting it back in.”
I was as angry as I had been in two years.
“So tomorrow when I release this story to the press explaining how Dish TV Network does business, you’re OK with that?”
“He’s not getting his money back.”
I received the bank records for 2007 and sure enough, seven months of auto debits including the odd March 26 debits.
Again, I encourage you to call Vicki Kelly at Dish TV Network, perhaps share your feelings about how she treated this old man with no companion. Perhaps ask her why she won’t give him his money back. Or check the facts of the case. Find out if it’s really true that they debited this man’s account $37 per month for service event thought there is no box, no hookups, no satellite and no service to the building. That phone number is 915 298 5983.
I mean after all I could be wrong. Perhaps Dish TV Network isn’t scamming a rapidly aging old man. Perhaps I misunderstood after being told the same facts over and over again for two hours. Perhaps there is a reason it’s OK for a company to debit a checking account in return for no service, know there is no service, and then not give ANYTHING BACK.
Please don’t take my word for it. I could be wrong. I’m concerned that I’m wrong. My belief is that Dish TV Network is a sleazy company that is taking advantage of elderly and ill people. No, not taking advantage. Stealing from. And if I’m right they should be stopped.
And if I’m wrong on anything, I sure want to know.
The old man is my step dad. A good egg.
Maybe you could ask Dish TV Network to reconsider their viewpoint that it’s ok to steal from people. (I used just such language when I asked what the difference between this and stealing anything else is. I received, “He’s not getting his money back.”)
I know one thing, this company has some serious problems when upper management acknowledges the taking of money from elderly people and not offering service in return.
Did my step dad call and ask to give his money for service for free or did a salesperson call him? As I explained, he wouldn’t remember. He can’t. I asked them to do the right thing. I begged them to do the right thing.
“He’s not getting his money back.”