Monday night, our aging Dish Network DVR612′s hard drive died. It started with error code #311 when trying to access recorded shows, and popped up complaining about the drive when I restarted the box. Old hardware dying, however, isn’t the interesting part.Tuesday night, I called Dish customer service and they were really helpful. Just a few “key in the error number” kinds of prompts got me to a live person; I explained my situation and how I’d tried all the suggestions (including those on their website) and he said that they’d replace the unit straight away, with no more questions ask.
The interesting thing is this: With Dish, you technically “lease” your receivers (even though they’re free), so they’re doing warranty as though they own the device. The replacement receiver also costs nothing, though they charge a $15 S&H fee to do the exchange (which includes a prepaid label for the dead unit). What I find interesting is that they don’t charge you up front to ship the receivers to you in the first place.
The $15 fee, according to my rep, is not billed to your account, but to a credit card given at the time the RMA is issued. (I wonder if this is because they use 3rd party fulfillment…) What’s more is that they are inclined to charge this fee even after my contract is long since expired. I ask the rep about the state of my contract, and my obligations to Dish, given my broken DVR. He said that I was free to return their equipment and walk away, if I chose. I then ask (nicely) if they’d consider waving the fee, in light of that. He put me on hold for a minute or two, and when he returned, said that the fee had been taken care of (Waived / Paid on my behalf).
The moral of the story is that Dish Networks’ customer service is pretty good, even if you do have to ask for things, occasionally. Again, in case you weren’t listening: Don’t be afraid to ask for things you want. The worst that can happen is that they’ll say no.