Dear Charlie Ergen and the DISH Network "Customer Service" Team:
Greetings from TV-Land.
When I call your customer service line, I'm informed by that automated attendant (in a strangely gratifying way) that I am "one of your most valued customers", so I know that you take to heart the complaints I levy about your service (or lack thereof) that result in undue hardship in my consumption of mind-numbing television programming.
It is, therefore, with great dismay that I find that I have (yet again) been pick-pocketed by your misleading and underhanded tactics.
Now... I've been a loyal subscriber to your service for nearly 6 years. Over that time, I've paid far more than I could have (had I "churned" my way into better packages) for programming and, to my wife's chagrin, purchased a total of FIVE DVRs, 3 of which offer dual tuners.
As the reward for the nearly $2,000 I've spent on hardware, I'm handed an ADDITIONAL $20 monthly in "additional receiver" charges. That is not enough to belabor me with, however. Is that the last of the nickle and diming? Not by a long shot. Another $12 per month goes into the "DVR fee" bucket, which is that place that I have to pitch money into because I enjoy haveing the convenience of the DVR on all my TVs and because Charlie was too damn cheap to get a proper license on the technology when he should have. But we are FAR from the end. No... as a further "thank you" for my excessive patronage, you've saddled me with another $10 per month in "programming access" fees (which, to the laymen, is another way to say that I don't plug my boxes into a phone line so you can dial from my house whenever you choose and report on my every miniscule movement). More to the point, it appears that since you just figured out that not one, not two, but THREE of my DVRs have 2 tuners (so I can watch something different than I'm recording -- which, really, IS the point of the DVR), I must now get charged another $5 per month.
Now... I don't (yet) subscribe to HD. I have dropped all my premium (movie) channels (becuase I buy too damn many DVDs and own everything those channels play -- which is the same reason you don't catch me spending on PPV). So... while I don't take EVERYTHING you offer, I take MOST of it (including the locals and the superstations, etc.).
Let's break down my monthly bill.
$111.00 - TOTAL DISH monthly bill
$ 64.00 - ACTUAL programming to which I subscribe
$ 47.00 - CHARLIE ERGEN IS RAPING ME FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON FEES
Again, fully 42% of my bill is related to charges that are trumped-up and imaginary or designed to "make" me do what Charlie Ergen wants me to do...(give him access to my phone lines on 3 different devices and/or take service that is less than I want to so that he can "churn" me into a different package and inflate his "new adds" numbers).
This is total, unadulterated not-to-be-tolerated highway rapery (yeah, it's my word... and I'm stickin' to it).
Charlie, your service sucks. Your DVRs are half-assed TIVOs. Your customer service has turned to total garbage. Your programming lost almost all value to me when you screwed up your access to distant locals (and, yes, that was no one's fault but your own... you played a fool's hand on that front)...
...and, instead of flying your happy ass out here to kiss my toes and tell me how much you love me for being an outspoken advocate of your service and an excessive waster of income on your hardware and programming -- you keep shoving assinine fees down my throat to see how long I'll swallow it before I jump ship.
Well, Charlie my man... You've done it. I'll be calling DirecTV shortly and kicking your shorry shit to the curb. Anyone interested in these 'lightly used' DVRs -- check my upcoming Ebay auctions.
MOVIEWEB READERS: Post comments to this letter (and get all your friends/relatives to do the same) and let me know what YOU think about DISH Network and/or its competitors. I'd love to hear if I'm the only one that's frying mad and not about to continue to take it... If we have enough feedback, I'll put it in Charlie's evil little paws myself. C'mon folks... Let's hear it.