Why paying a fee to break a contract is (occassionally) the right thing to do

My Dish Network receiver has been acting funny for the past week. When I turn on the TV, the receiver displays an error message saying I cannot record live TV and the shows I have previously recorded (but not yet watched) are unavailable. So, I called Dish Network to get to the bottom of the problem.

When I’m frustrated, the last thing I want to deal with is an automated phone system whose robotic voice tells me he wants to assist me, and to say “yes” or “no” to his questions. Thankfully, I did some research before calling Dish Network and found the cheat code to get me directly to a live representative.

I told the rep that I was having trouble with my receiver, and he told me to execute a number of steps to fix the problem. I told the rep that I wasn’t in the mood to be a TV repairman today. I informed him that I wanted to cancel my service. He was taken aback. “Oh, you don’t want to do that. Let me transfer you to the customer loyalty department. They can help you get this resolved. You’ve been a customer for 7 years and we don’t want to lose your business. Plus, it’ll cost you $80 to break your contract.” I asked him why I had to threaten to cancel the service before he’d transfer me to the customer loyalty department. He didn’t have a cohesive answer.

So, he transferred me to the customer loyalty department. And I had to tell my story again, from the beginning, to the new representative.  She told me I could cancel my service, but there’d be a $200 cancellation fee. What? Why did the fee jump $120? This was nuts. And before I knew it, the second rep put me on hold. But what actually happened is that she disconnected me and I had to call Dish Network again.

The 3rd representative said she was sorry I was unhappy with the service, and that there would be a $70 fee to cancel my contract. Also, I would need to ship Dish Network all of their equipment. She said the equipment included the receiver, the remotes, the cables, and the dish itself. I started laughing at this point. She asked what was so funny. I told her that the dish is on my roof and that I have no way of reaching it. “Borrow a ladder,” the rep said.

When you’re paying for a service, and that service becomes a burden in numerous ways, it’s time to rethink your options. I decided to pay the $70 fee to break the contract. As a consumer/customer, I deserve better treatment. I’m thankful that the last Dish Network person I spoke to gave me the lowest “break up” fee. And it bothers me that I was quoted three, different “break up” fees. What’s that all about?

I’m happy to say that my new provider is scheduled to install the service tomorrow, between Noon and 4:00PM. Here’s hoping this will be the beginning of a great relationship!

P.S. Dish Network said they would disconnect my service tomorrow at 5:00PM. But guess what? They disconnected it right after I hung up the phone.

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