HDTV location switch (110) programming scam...


SatelliteGuys Pro
Original poster
Feb 20, 2004
By switching the signal from the fringe satellites to 110 on HBOHD, SHOHD, and HDPPV, Dish has disabled access to model 6000 receivers without the upgrade. The only signal left that I could receive was CBSHD.

Long story short: they are sending me a tuner module at no cost, "just this once."

A couple of years ago, I paid $500 for the 6000 as well as the cost to install a second dish on the roof. Since then, despite promises in their own literature that new HD channels would be added that the 6000 would receive, very few have, and all required paying for additional hardware (despite earlier claims it wouldn't be necessary). Rather than upgrading early adopters, who SUBSIDIZED their efforts, they charged them more money. And the software on the 6000 has remained fairly ancient.

That was fine, because I could care less about DiscoveryHD or ESPNHD, at least not enough to spend $100+ a year. I didn't pay, and stayed with the four channels I wanted to watch. I can live with the slow guide and lack of features because my primary TV is on a 721 anyway, and that's a great unit.

But, in switching to 110, they left us non-upgraded 6000 users in the cold. I called to find out what happened, and why they had disabled my unit without compensation, and they told me I had to either:

1. buy the part out of pocket

2. sign up for 1 year of the HDPackage and get the part for free.

They said: "well, you were getting the HD channels for free before..."

I stopped them and explained that I didn't see it that way. I paid over $700 to get those channels up front. I had a perfectly good model 5000 I replaced with a 6000 and bought an extra dish and paid someone to install it. I also pay them $77 a month for locals, HBO and SHO just to have those 3 HD channels. Without locals and movie packages, I'd be paying them $28 less per month. Though I wouldn't actually dump all three products, without HBOHD, I would likely dump HBO all together, which would cost them $11 a month. I explained that I didn't see the "free" aspect of this. I pay them lots of money for a service, and they were changing that service despite implied warranties upon purchase that they wouldn't do so. I asked for a supervisor.

I was put on hold, and the same person came back after 2 minutes telling me that just this once, they would send it to me for free, and it will arrive in 1 week. She said the part ONLY would carry a 1 year warranty, but if the 6000 broke in that time, it would not be covered. That seemed fair enough to me. Problem solved.

My guess is that they have this solution preauthorized on the supervisor level for anyone who raises a CIVIL stink about it, because they are basically renegging on a contract. While there is no assurance that any one channel will be carried due to free market forces, switching a channel's location and then charging existing customers for new equipment after explicitly promising those same customers this wouldn't be the case isn't legally defensible, especially when the 'solution' they offer is to buy a new subscription or new hardware. That is what is known as bait and switch, and courts don't look kindly on that kind of behavior.

So, long story long: if you got screwed by the switch to 110, don't give in. Be reasonable, explain how you don't see them as providing anything "free" when you pay $77 a month and bought an overpriced receiver that is now useless, and ask to speak to a supervisor. Hopefully, they will give you the same courtesy as they did me. But remember to be nice, and remind the tech that you understand the rules are not "her fault" (or his) and that they are just caught in the middle. They appreciate not being called names or blamed for corporate policy. If they could set policy, they wouldn't be answering phones...
Its things like this that make regular people go crazy. Once again, I dont think much forethought went into these upgrades. Pity the sucker that just goes along with the flow and doesnt complain :)

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