Friday, June 11, 2010

Making the Switch: DirecTV to Dish Network

Why do loyal satellite customers make the switch from DirecTV to Dish Network (and vice versa)?  If you have ever wondered why someone would go to the trouble of changing satellite providers, then you've come to the right place.

We have had been loyal DirecTV customers for approximately five years.  We had previously been Dish Network customers before that - and I'm talking for nearly a whole decade.  The reason we jumped ship from Dish Network to DirecTV, and, ironically, the same reason that we are switching back comes down to one major sticking point:  equipment.

These competing satellite providers offer the sun, the moon and the stars to new customers.  New customers receive shiny, new equipment, along with other enticing incentives to sign up with them.  However, once you are a customer, you can pretty much forget the idea of ever seeing new(er) equipment again, unless you jump through hoops consisting of  a) buying a new one from them at a discounted price for "being a loyal customer" or b) finding a CS rep who will give you a new one, but only if you re-up for another two year commitment with them.

Why should new customers always get the plum deals?  Loyal customers who pay on time go a long way in this economy.  We are credit card autopayers and don't waste their money on snail mail bills anymore.  Shouldn't we get the courtesy of newer equipment without strings attached?

At issue was that our DVR died last week.  We called and after balking at the idea of paying for another receiver (this one was 2 years old), we were offered another one free to us.  The problem was that it would be a refurbished machine.  Our last DVR lasted just two years and we had an original DVR we purchased 5 years ago that still worked.  Why such a short shelf life?  As the CS rep explained their extremely high refurb rate and dismissed our concerns over not having new equipment, we began to think that Dish Network with its free HD for life (it would have been a $10 charge per month with DirecTV) was looking like a much better deal for us.  Our locals broadcast in HD and our DVR was not an HD receiver, so we did want an upgrade.

I asked what would happen if any DVR they sent us died within two years, just like the last one (quite possibly a refurb) did?  This is where it got interesting.  Of course, they would most likely replace it for us at no cost; however, we would have to recommit for another two years.  Someone get me off of that merry-go-round!  It made me wonder why old customers got refurbs then.  Did they know there was a high likelihood of failure and the "well, we'll replace it for you for free, but you're ours for another two years" offer would appease most people. 

In the end, we looked hard at Dish Network and decided to go with them.  Brand new equipment, special pricing and the ability to spread the love with a friend referral from my brother (you're welcome for that $50, bud!) was just too hard to turn down.

So now, all that is left is to officially break up with DirecTV.  To be honest, had they been able to guarantee new equipment to us, and not refurbs, we would have stayed.  So if you're listening, DirecTV,  you may want to rethink what is important to you.  New customers are great, but old, loyal, paying on time, low maintenance customers are your bread and butter and deserve the same as what you offer to new customers. 

The opinions stated herein are 100% my own.
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