Dish’s billing system is broken and I can’t fix it


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Dish deducted $94 from William Leeper’s account without crediting him. Now it’s turned off his subscription TV service for non-payment. What gives?

Question: I’ve been having a billing problem with Dish Network for the last three months. Dish deducted $94 from my bank account in June but it never posted to my Dish account.

I called back in mid-July when I saw my unpaid bill and asked the company’s payment research department to investigate. But by the end of July, the money still wasn’t in my account, and my account was closed because of non-payment.

At the end of August, I called the Dish executive resolutions department, and was told to send my bank statement in showing the payment. I did, but I received no response.

A month later, I called Dish again and was told the documents hadn’t been received. A Dish representative told me they needed a copy of the canceled check. I don’t have one, since they converted it to an electronic payment.

I was once again promised a call back by the end of the day, but have heard nothing. I want the $94 credited, and my service restored. Can you help? — William Leeper, Waldron, Ark.

Answer: Dish should have tracked down your payment quickly, without any prompting from you – or me. You should have been able to send evidence of the money transfer, which you did, for a fast resolution.

Dish’s billing process is so automated that I’m willing to bet that everything from the time your initial payment was made, and lost, to when I got involved was automated.

And here’s the problem with automation: Sometimes it’s too arbitrary. Didn’t pay your last bill? Their system will just shut you down, even if the problem is on their side. It matters not.

Ironically, you know a thing or two about resolving a consumer complaint, because you’ve worked as a volunteer advocate for this site. So you went through the process of emailing the Dish executives, and it still didn’t work. Your $94 remained missing in action and your Dish account stayed shut off.

This is an extraordinary case. I have to believe that Dish would respond to an email from a customer with documentation of its own billing error. But then again, maybe I live in a fantasy world in which subscription-TV companies actually deliver great customer service.

Of course, you could have made all this go away by paying the bill a second time and asking your bank to investigate the missing transfer. It could have followed up and possibly credited your bank account, although the process is a little different than for credit card disputes.

I don’t think any of that should have been necessary. The Dish billing system broke down somewhere along the way, and the company needs to fix it. I contacted Dish on your behalf and it promptly credited you for your missing $94.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at . Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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