October 30, 2008: DISH-ing the Dirt

Not to be outdone by the incompetence of AAA, on the very first evening back in our Arizona home our troubles with DISH Network began. I had used extra cell phone minutes during my conversation with the AAA dispatcher that evening, so even though I was tired and wanted nothing more than to climb into bed and get some sleep, I waited until I could use my free minutes to call and have our local programming changed from Tri-Cities, WA to Phoenix, AZ. Now….we have done this every year for fourteen years. No biggy. So I called, and everything was a go for the channels to switch within 5-10 minutes. I climbed into bed, turned on the TV to CNN to catch up on election news, and fell asleep. I woke up at 5:00 a.m., so I checked the local channels and we were not getting the programming.

Back on extra cell phone minutes, I called DISH again. This time we went round and round over the address of the residence where I was supposed to receive the signal. When they had asked my address, I gave them my PO Box. They wanted a physical address instead (Does this sound familiar? Do AAA and DISH hire the same people?). I gave the address, but asked what they had in their previous records on our account. She admitted it had been the same one every winter for the past 4 years, so you might assume it would be the same this year…no?

So we got our Phoenix programming. But wait….when we picked up our mail that afternoon, we had the new Smart Cards from DISH. I followed the instructions and inserted the new cards into both of our receivers. After they were inserted, I got a message that I had to call DISH to activate them. More cell phone minutes. When I finally got through to a person, she had no idea why I was calling. I told her what it said on the screen, and she said “Oh, just hit “select”. Good Lord, why didn’t it just say that in the instructions?

I went outside to finish unpacking the Ranger, so I didn’t check the channels until later that evening. I turned to a local channel, and…nothing. They had switched us back to Tri-Cities, WA programming!

Another call to DISH, and over an hour on those extra cell phone minutes, they finally had me go through the garbage to retrieve the old Smart Cards and reinsert them (why didn’t they do this immediately? Why an hour with the tech trying to get the new ones to work?). They were still keeping me on the line when I said “You have my phone number. If you need to tell me something, you call me. I don’t think I need to stay on the phone while you try to rectify your errors.” And I hung up. So far so good with the programming, but daughter is going to have a heart attack when she gets the cell phone bill (family plan!).

I’m seriously thinking of switching to DIRECT TV. What is a good substitute for AAA? Maybe I should just sell this place and stay in Washington the entire year.

On a happier note, Alicyn is over a week old now, and I think she's beautiful. I wish I could be there, holding, hugging and spoiling her.

Alicyn at one week old


  1. I think what we have here....is a failure to communicate. Granny, I would have unloaded on all of them! Yeah....they would have to look in the dictionary for the words i'd be tellin' 'em ! Hee hee

  2. You got it, EG. I just talked to my daughter, and we went over by 149 cell phone minutes at 40-cents per, all because of the AAA and DISH calls!

  3. I've got you beat on the cell phone thing. My son ran my bill up to just around $500 (yes, he's still alive). I called my carrier and told them I was a long-time customer that almost never went over with the minutes and my son had lost his mind and ran my bill up. I asked if they'd be willing to make an adjustment on the bill. After getting manager approval, they reduced it down to about $335.

    Baby Alicyn is a cutie pie.

  4. Ouch! My grandson ran up $400 on his mother's phone once, and a granddaughter ran up $200 because she didn't know it was costing anything to send/receive music to/from her friends. We live and learn, I guess.

  5. She's adorable!! Love the grin, lol.

    We were so fed up with Dish when we moved here, trying to get our service started back, that we almost went to Direct TV.

  6. I'm so upset that they won't upgrade our old equipment that I think when the new Smart Card becomes a necessity we'll just switch to DIRECT. That way we get free upgraded receivers, plus DVR, and can get it installed to all the rooms where we want TV.