Customer gets static over TV bills
March 23, 2011 5:56PM
Updated: July 29, 2011 12:19AM
Dear Fixer: I ordered DISH Network and a man came out to install it. I live on the first floor with a small patio. I am not allowed to place a satellite dish on my building, so the dish was installed on my patio and pointed to the southeast.
However, I could not receive good reception. I called for a technician, and he saw that I did not have a clear path for reception. The concrete entrance to the building blocked the path. (Which raises a question: Why did the installation person install it?)
The technician said a concrete stand would have to be built to get good reception. After that, I never heard anything more from him, so I called DISH to have the equipment removed.
A man came and asked if I would like to see a tech. I told him I already had a tech come out and look at it. So he removed the equipment.
I called to try to get my installation cost refunded, but the woman on the phone said that I had refused to see a tech and therefore I had broken the contract with them. Because of that, they charged me a $230 early termination fee. Please help.
Omar Kaihatsu, Schaumburg
Dear Omar: The Fixer was happy to unscramble this mess that began almost two years ago when you tried to get satellite service at your building. You said the TV picture was unpredictable; sometimes the images would flip or disappear altogether.
After you canceled and you got that big bill, you told us that you paid it because you didn’t want to damage your credit. But it’s bugged you ever since, and we don’t blame you.
We took your problem to Francie Bauer, corporate communications manager at DISH Network, who quickly got someone to review your case. They went over what happened and offered you a refund for the $230 cancellation fee as well as your first month’s payment of $53, which you’ve accepted.
While dating services and websites can work, The Fixer wants all you singles to be careful out there.
According to the BBB, the most common consumer complaints include not getting the number of dates they were promised, being matched with people who didn’t meet their criteria (i.e., a smoker or a person who lives far away) and high-pressure sales tactics followed by poor customer service.
Consumers need to read every word of the contracts they sign and be wary of vaguely worded limitations and exclusions, says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the local BBB.
One consumer told the BBB she was promised 33 matches with “high-caliber” men, but the dates the matchmaking service sent her were “anyone alive and moving. One guy showed up for dinner with no teeth and gummed his food.”
Illinois law does allow you to cancel a dating services contract within three days, but that won’t help if the problem is discovered later. It’s best to check out any dating service first — at BBB.org and at other online complaint websites.
Also, be careful of auto-pay arrangements and contracts that allow the dating service to re-subscribe you automatically after the first year.
And then there are the online scams. Last fall, The Fixer wrote about Lise-lotte, an attractive, smart, professional woman from the suburbs who’d posted a profile on Match.com. When a handsome U.S. Air Force pilot contacted her, she was over the moon.
They developed an e-mail relationship, and he poured his heart out about his first wife’s death, his sick 3-year-old child, his service in Afghanistan and his desire to start a charter aircraft business with his pilot buddies. Liselotte did what she could to help, eventually sending him $23,000.
Only later did she find out he was a scammer in Nigeria.
There’s an old saying in journalism: “If you mother says she loves you, check it out.” That vigilance goes double on the used car lot. Regular readers of The Fixer column know to never buy a used car without thoroughly examining it and getting every promise in writing.
H.M. of Chicago is wishing he’d done that with his recent purchase of a used SUV. But it was late and he wanted to get the deal done. The helpful sales guy told him that if he found anything wrong with the car later, H.M. could bring it back and they’d fix it.
When H.M. did come back with a complaint about the power window and the paint job, the sales guy got a bad case of amnesia. He didn’t seem to remember anything about fixing anything for free.
H.M. learned this lesson the hard way. Now for the rest of us: Go hug your mom and remember that a spoken promise isn’t going to help you on the used car lot.