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PTROUBLESHOOTERSDISHNETWORK300.jpg Submitted by WWAY on Wed, 01/20/2010 - 5:28pm.

Debbie Lewis recently moved to Wilmington from Sampson County and can't get a satellite signal at her new house. She mailed back her receiver box, but says Dish Network still expects her to pay for another year's worth of service. "I specifically told her, I said I have my house for sale, and I hope to be moving in the next two years, before the contract is up,” Lewis explained. “I said if you cannot provide me service, will I be liable, she said oh, no.” Debbie Lewis's new house in Wilmington is surrounded by trees, and when contractors for Dish Network came out to install her satellite dish, they realized it wasn't going to work. But Dish Network still keeps billing her. "It's just ridiculous that they expect me to pay for a service they cannot provide,” Lewis stated. We checked out Dish Network on the Better business Bureau's web site, and saw the company had a staggering 13,000 complaints filed against it in the last 36 months. And it's not just dish network. Competitor Direct TV has 36,000 complaints on file, and a failing grade with the Better Business Bureau. "Across the industry, especially in satellite, they have a product that people want, and they tend to just take advantage of people,” said Kathy Graham of the BBB. We asked Graham if customers have any recourse if a sales rep misleads them to get their business, like what Debbie Lewis says happened to her. Graham says a customer may if they have the conversation recorded, or can get a copy of the recording from the company, but barring that, they may be stuck to the contract they signed. "The responsibility is on the consumer to know what that contract says, and it's tedious, sometimes it's very technical, and legal jargon, but the responsibility is on you, you have to read that contract,” Lewis said. Lewis found out the hard way there is a clause in the Dish Network contract that says you're still obligated to pay, even if you can't get a signal because of trees or other obstructions. It may seem unreasonable, but it's not against the law. After we contacted Dish Network on Debbie Lewis's behalf, they agreed to let her out of the contract, and even waived the cancellation fee. But judging by the number of complaints on file, you might not be so lucky if you have a similar dilemma. Besides reading the fine print, beware of extras that are offered to you for free on a trial basis. If you fail to cancel by a certain date, the company can automatically lock you into a contract, and start charging you for extras you really didn't even want in the first place.

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