On-Screen Billing Nags for Already Paid Bills (1 Viewer)

HanoverPretzel

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I paid my Dish bill online yesterday morning, the day it was due (Note: Not an overdue bill, paid on time). Nevertheless, something like 36 hours later watching TV tonight, a big nagging box that obstructed the center of the screen came up asking me to pay the bill. I clicked cancel and it came back again a few minutes later, while I was playing with my dog and away from a remote, so I had to stop playing with the dog, find the remote, and tell it to go away again.

This is after I got two automated calls the day before yesterday and then again yesterday, even though I still had till midnight last night to pay the bill without it being overdue. This happens a lot with Dish.

My concern isn't so much that their system doesn't seem to have totally figured out I've paid my bill. I have a confirmation number and everything to contact Dish if they try to cut off my service or something, and when this has happened in the past, they've never cut off service- eventually they figure it out themselves. I don't think that's going to be an issue.

The issue I have is that it is seriously ANNOYING. I know it's minor in the scheme of things, but I run into this a lot and it's an irritant I never had with cable.

If I have an overdue bill, I understand the nagging phone calls and stuff obstructing my screen, but I've never had an overdue bill with Dish. I paid this on-time and I've always paid on time. It seems to be Dish policy to start nagging you if you get anywhere close to the due date on a pre-paid (the only option I was given when I signed up) account, though. And I've talked to the DIRT team about this before and there is no opt-out.

Anyhow, I'm just saying, you annoy your customers with stuff like this, it's something they consider when their contract expires. Might not cause me to switch by itself, but I could see it being one thing among many that makes me switch eventually. I don't like the idea of paying for something to annoy me.
 

KAB

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So what kind of response are you looking for??? Seems to be an issue between you and Dish. Not heard similar complaints before.
 

HanoverPretzel

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Seems to be an issue between you and Dish.

It's one of those issues you sometimes find with discount providers of stuff. They win slightly on prices in theory, but they make things a real hassle, and in the end it may not actually be a better value than the competition all things considered, at least now that the new customer promos have all expired for me.

Like, okay America's Top 120+ comes in maybe $10-$12 cheaper than cable with a cable box rental. But then it's like "Oh, did you want MSNBC with that? That'll be an extra $10 a month." and "Oh, did you want to watch nationally televised hockey games and the hockey playoffs? That'll be another $10 a month.". And forget upgrading to HD if you don't have perfect credit and don't want to pay a big equipment fee. Then there are nagging phone calls and on-screen nags even though I haven't done anything wrong.

There was a great new customer promo that really helped me, despite them forcing me to pay an install fee, not giving me HD, and raising my rate after a month or two. But that's expired now and I realize at their regular rates it's really a choice between saving a little money and not getting to watch your normal programming, or paying a little more than the competition to watch what you want.

Dish has issues with customer retention, according to it's financial reports that show it's bleeding customers. I'm not surprised. Free advice to Dish: Customers don't like to be hassled. Make it easy. If customers don't want annoying phone calls, offer to take them off the list. If customers don't want on-screen nags, opt to not send them. Remember, I've never missed a payment or had an overdue payment, so I'm not some guy skipping out on a bill they have to harass-- they're harassing me before the deadline for sending something in. I've checked and it's just what they do with pre-pay customers. It's automatic and you can't opt out. The only way to get out of it is pay your bill early- which I sometimes do, but shouldn't have to do just to avoid unwanted calls/on-screen nags. If I pay it on-time, I shouldn't have to deal with any of that stuff IMO.
 
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HanoverPretzel

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So what kind of response are you looking for???

Ideally? A policy change from Dish. Maybe some executive or something browses these forums and reads this and says "Hey, I hadn't thought of it that way before, maybe we need to change how we do things.".

Potential options I'd suggest:

1. No calls or or nags until a bill is actually overdue and unpaid. Start the calls and nags the day after the bill due date, not the day before (in the case of the calls), and only allow the system to initiate them after initiating some sort of a check to make absolutely sure the customer hasn't submitted payment online yet.

2. If they don't want to do the first option, at least allow customers who this stuff annoys to opt out. Put a little box on the billing and account page that you can check that says "Please do not contact me by phone or through my television in regard to billing issues unless a bill is overdue.". That way, at least people who it annoys can put a stop to it for their account. People who like it (I guess someone out there might think it's a helpful reminder, though those people are probably few and far between) or don't mind it much won't seek out or check the box.
 
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HanoverPretzel

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I've never had to deal with any of that. What are you not telling us????

It's a difference between pre-pay and post-pay accounts. These nags only apply to pre-pay accounts. Pre-pay accounts are what you get if you sign up without providing them with a social security number, if they don't like your credit, or if you specifically request it. In my case, they didn't like my credit.

But I've paid every single bill I've ever gotten from Dish on-time. Never had a single late payment.

The DIRT team has in the past confirmed this is Dish's official policy toward pre-pay accounts. In other words, it's not just me-- it's anyone who has a pre-pay account. So it is a larger issue that could apply to other people on the forum.
 

HanoverPretzel

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Not trying to rag on Dish too much.

I've had issues with cable in the past, arguably significantly worse than with Dish at times.

No company is perfect.

But this is definitely an area where Dish has room to improve.
 

dare2be

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Before I signed up with Autopay I always paid my bill at least 3 business days before the due date, just in case there were any problems accessing the web site, or communications issues with the credit card company, etc. It's a good fail-safe and in your case, would alleviate all your aggravations.
 

osu1991

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If Dish waits until after the due date, then there are late fees and the customer will complain that they weren't notified soon enough. Pretty much everyone should know in this day and age it takes 24-72 hours for a payment to process, so even though you paid today it probably won't clear through everyone's system for another day or two.
 

eurosport

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One time I got a month behind with Dish. The screen with "pay now" "ok" etc showed up. This was only after it got a couple days into the SECOND month. Got back on track and haven't seen it again. I think the "pre-paid" thing is why it shows up on the exact due date.
 

HanoverPretzel

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Before I signed up with Autopay I always paid my bill at least 3 business days before the due date, just in case there were any problems accessing the web site, or communications issues with the credit card company, etc. It's a good fail-safe and in your case, would alleviate all your aggravations.

Not a bad idea, really. However, it doesn't always work out that I have the money in my bank account to pay early. Sometimes I'm literally waiting a check to clear so I can send in my payment. When I can, I try to pay ahead. Sometimes I'll sit and wait on the bill to become available to pay online and pay the very first day I can pay it to get it out of the way and breath easy knowing it's done and I don't have to worry about it. Other times, though, the finances work out that I have to pay it on or near the due date instead (Maybe I have a medical bill or something that's due first). But I always pay it on-time, which is all that should matter to Dish. Payment never actually late. So they shouldn't be hassling me, right? That's the only point I'm really trying to make.
 
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HanoverPretzel

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If Dish waits until after the due date, then there are late fees and the customer will complain that they weren't notified soon enough. Pretty much everyone should know in this day and age it takes 24-72 hours for a payment to process, so even though you paid today it probably won't clear through everyone's system for another day or two.

Well, it's got to be in their system in some respects. It's Dishes own website I used to pay. They sent me a confirmation e-mail within minutes. My bank's website showed the hold on my debit card almost immediately, too. I know that sometimes the full processing may take more time, but it seems to me that they have enough to know payment was made and not nag me if I literally give them payment through their own website and they have enough to send me an e-mail saying I paid and it shows up on my bank account summary thing.

Now, maybe the on-screen nags have to be triggered a couple days in advance or something for technical reasons. Alright, fine, then don't trigger it until 12:01am on the day after payment is due, and only after checking to see if payment was made- maybe the nag takes a couple days after that to show up, but at least it wouldn't show up for a bill that's already been paid on time.

And the phone calls always start the day before the bill is due. That shouldn't happen IMO.

One time I got a month behind with Dish. The screen with "pay now" "ok" etc showed up. This was only after it got a couple days into the SECOND month. Got back on track and haven't seen it again. I think the "pre-paid" thing is why it shows up on the exact due date.

If I got it when I was a month behind with Dish, or even a day behind, that'd be fine (Or at least understandable- I'm sure no one actually likes getting those calls.). It's getting phone calls before a bill is overdue at all and nags after I've paid a bill on-time that bothers me. I've never even submitted a payment a second past the due date. I've always paid prior to or on the due date. All on-time payments with them. So they shouldn't be treating me like I've stiffed them.

Honestly, it all gives me flashbacks to like 10-15 years ago when I actually did have overdue bills and had to deal with bill collectors-- and was very stressed out by some really bad health issues and struggling to survive. That was a very long time ago now, though, and had nothing to do with Dish. And it was understandable why people were pestering me then. Now, I don't really get why Dish feels it's okay to do this to people who are paying on-time. It just brings up a lot of bad memories and there's no cause for it.
 

dare2be

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See if you can get a secured credit card that you can use for recurring online payments such as this, and only for fixed monthly payments, and then pay off the CC bill in full each month. This way you'll not have to worry whether you have the money in the account but only for the CC bill. If there is not enough money to pay off the CC bill one month, then you can pay what you have (at least the minimum payment) to the credit card and only get charged a small finance charge for that month (since it'll be a small CC balance to begin with). Once you have the rest of the money available to pay the CC, pay it immediately to minimize the finance charges...don't wait unitl the next billing cycle or you might get yourself in a finance charge vicious cycle of never being able to pay off the card in full. Keep the card for that use only and make the CC payments as diligently as you have your Dish bill, and you'll never get yourself in trouble, plus you'll have the flexibility of paying for things on credit without the need to have the money readily available.

This free financial advice was brought to you by Charles Givens. :)
 
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mike123abc

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I guess another question is how are you paying your bill? Are you paying through Dishnetwork.com or using a third party bill paying service (like a check cashing place that lets you pay utility bills). Sometimes it can take a day or 2 to clear if you are using one of these services.

If you are paying cash you pretty much have to use one of these third party systems. But, dishnetwork.com has a search for place that can credit your account in an hour, but they seem to have higher fees than the places that take a day or 2 to credit.

But, if you are using a check or credit card you can pay through your account on dishnetwork.com, I believe this can instantly appear on your account. There is a one time payment option you can use each time instead of using autopay.
 

dare2be

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He said he was using a debit card. To Dish, it would act more or less like a credit card.
 

HanoverPretzel

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See if you can get a secured credit card that you can use for recurring online payments such as this, and only for fixed monthly payments, and then pay off the CC bill in full each month. This way you'll not have to worry if you have the money in the account but only for the CC bill. If there is not enough money to pay off the CC bill one month, then you can pay what you have to the credit card and only get charged a small finance charge for that month (since it'll be a small CC balance to begin with). Once you have the rest of the money available to pay the CC, pay it immediately to minimize the finance charges...don't wait unitl the next billing cycle or you might get yourself in a finance charge vicious cycle of never being able to pay off the card in full. Keep the card for that use only and make the CC payments as diligently as you have your Dish bill, and you'll never get yourself in trouble, plus you'll have the flexibility of paying for things on credit without the need to have the money readily available.

This free financial advice was brought to you by Charles Givens. :)

I got offered a few secured credit cards when I wanted to finance buying a replacement for something that broke and was a big ticket item for me. I applied for credit cards with free financing for the first year, they sent back letters rejecting me for those cards but saying if I sent them $100-$300, they would send me a card with that as a credit limit. My reaction was essentially "I asked you guys to loan me money, and you sent a letter back asking me to loan you money". :) It was exactly the exact opposite of what I was looking for. My understanding was that it actually wasn't even like a prepaid card where they take the money you've already paid to pay for what you buy- they actually wanted to send a bill as per usual and simply keep the initial deposit indefinitely as collateral. Frankly, simply using debit, cash, online bill pay, or checks seemed like a better financial bargain to me.

Other people's mileage may vary, of course. Obviously there's a market for these secured card things, because people do sign up for them. I'm just not that market.
 
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HanoverPretzel

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I guess another question is how are you paying your bill? Are you paying through Dishnetwork.com or using a third party bill paying service (like a check cashing place that lets you pay utility bills). Sometimes it can take a day or 2 to clear if you are using one of these services.

Debit card through dishnetwork.com. I go in and do it manually each month (versus automated) so that I can pick my payment date depending on what makes the most financial sense for me in a given month (But always on-time).
 

dare2be

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Other people's mileage may vary, of course. Obviously there's a market for these secured card things, because people do sign up for them. I'm just not that market.
It sounds like you are. I have a friend in similar financial difficulty due to her divorce, no alimony due to jobless ex-husband and medical issues. Her credit was shot and pretty much non-existent. She got a secured CC thru the same bank she has her checking account with using collateral money in a savings account (still her money earning interest, just she can't access it whle she has the active credit card) with same bank that she started up with some money from her tax refund. Having a CC (secured or not) and paying it on time all the time is the fastest way to build up good credit. Eventually you may get to the point where you won't need a prepay account anymore. Companies like Dish and your utilities for example don't report good credit events, only bad ones like missing/late payments.
 

navychop

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Yes, the goal is to get to auto pay. Large corporations are slow moving. Don't expect any change in the next few years. Sorry about that. They all have stupid annoyances.
 

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