Dish says I can record two shows at once. So why can’t I?

By | December 15th, 2016

Jim Jacobs’ Dish hardware isn’t working. He’d like the company to fix it or let him out of his contract. Why won’t it?

Question: I became a Dish Network customer a few months ago. Prior to my signing a contract for Dish service, I received an installation appointment confirmation, which reviewed the services that I was agreeing to purchase. Included was the following statement: “Your receiver(s) will provide video service on 3 TV(s), will allow you to view HD content on 2 TV(s) (requires HD programming) and will enable you to watch or record up to 3 live show(s) at once.”

After the service was installed, I found that I could not simultaneously view one program and record two others. There are many times when I can’t watch a show while recording only one other show. This is not satisfactory. I’ve made several call to the Dish customer service people. I’m going to digress for a moment and say that, for the most part, I have found the Dish customer service people to be superior to what I’ve experienced from its cable competitors.

My issue, however, seems to be beyond their ability to provide a solution that is acceptable to me. They have offered to install a “Hopper” device and provide a solo receiver to replace the current SD receiver that works with my current DVR 722 HD/SD setup. Doing so would result in installation charges and additional monthly recurring charges.

I contractually agreed to a price for viewing or recording three live shows at one and believe that Dish should honor it. Can you help? — James Jacobs, Tampa, Fla.

Answer: Dish should have honored its agreement with you. A look at its website shows that the preferred fix is the Hopper, a device that can now record up to eight channels at the same time. Where do people find the time for all that TV?

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Fixing this should have been as simple as sending Dish your agreement and reminding it of its contractual obligation to let you at least record three channels. Upgrading you to a better service would have worked, but you didn’t want to pay extra — nor should you have to.

A brief, polite email to the company should have cleared this up. So why didn’t it?

I suspect Dish wasn’t motivated to fix the equipment you had because it felt you would go for the “upgrade.” This would mean more revenue to the company and a higher subscription fee, which, for a company like Dish, would be a “win-win.” Well, mostly for Dish.

Had Dish failed to serve you, I think you would have had a strong breach-of-contract case and could have terminated your service without paying any fees. Perhaps that would have been the best solution for you.

You could have also tried these executive contacts at Dish. And in fact, that’s exactly what you did. After I shared the names and numbers with you, you contacted Dish.

The company agreed to send a technician to your home at no extra charge to fix your hardware. Problem solved.

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