We've had various problems with our Dish satellite service for a long time. A year or so ago, the receiver started resetting itself in the middle of programs; here's what would happen: We'd be watching something, either live or on DVR, it made no difference. The television picture would freeze in place for a couple of minutes, during which time you could not change channels or turn off the receiver. Then the screen would go blank and tell us there was no signal. Next, the "searching for signal" bar would show up, and about five minutes later, we'd have television again. This had nothing to do with weather; it happened the same on sunny days or cloudy days.
I called Dish customer service; first I was told that I needed to call while this event was actually happening. I told the guy I tried that, but was put on hold for so long that our service was back on by the time I got to talk to someone.
They sent us a new receiver. That didn't fix the problem; it still reset itself about once a day, but since we had a contract with Dish, we had to stay with them or pay a penalty.
Lately the trouble has gotten worse. The resetting happened three times within one hour Sunday, while Cliff was watching football.
I called Dish to find out the exact date our commitment would end; I was sure it was in February.
The lady I reached checked and said, "I don't see that you have a contract."
"You mean I can stop Dish any time I want?"
"Yes, it looks like it."
I immediately called Direct TV and had an hour-long conversation with a pleasant fellow who guided me through my choices. We agreed on a date for the installation, November 9. Then I recalled that if I mentioned that a friend had recommended Direct TV, they'd get a discount on their bill, and so would I.
I had a decision to make, since three different people had told me they'd appreciate the kickback: My son, my daughter, and my cousin, Betty.
Well, when it comes to kids or cousins, you can figure out who gets tossed first: Sorry about that, Betty.
I then tossed a coin to see which of my kids I'd bless; my son was the winner. Sorry about that, Rachel.
Since I didn't have my son's account number, which I should have had, the guy on the other end of the conversation went to great lengths to dig up Jim's information, but he got it done.
Yesterday Cliff suggested maybe I should call Dish, just to be sure we had no contract. I agreed.
We're stuck with them until February, just as I originally thought. This is one more of the many reasons I'd like to tell Dish to take a hike.
The lady I talked to this time expressed concern that I was considering leaving them. I explained all we have been through. She told me they could have someone come out and try to find the problem.
"But I'd have to pay for them to come, right?"
Yet another reason to leave Dish, although I imagine I'd have to pay Direct TV for a service call too.
I called to cancel the Direct TV installation, but was told I can let them go ahead and do the job, if I want to; then I can call and freeze the account until our Dish contract runs out. The guy who gave me this information was somewhere in India or Pakistan, from the sound of his accent. He was a little hard to understand, but very polite. I made sure to get his ID number, just in case this doesn't work the way he said it would. I definitely don't want to pay Dish and Direct TV.