Consumer complaints about satellite services spike in Colorado

The Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau has received more than 50,000 complaints against DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) and Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) over the last three years, forcing the consumer advocacy agency to call out the DBS firms and warning consumers to read the fine print before signing contracts.

The volume and "pattern of issues" found in the complaints filed with the BBB pushed the organization to issue a public statement about satellite-TV service, spokesman Megan Miller told the Denver Post. DirecTV received 39,000 complaints and Dish received 13,000, which covered problems with service, billing, cancellation fees and other issues. Some customers reported facing early-termination fees of more than $600, according to the BBB. Ironically, DirecTV and Dish traditionally rank pretty high in the list of multichannel providers serving the western region of the country in J.D. Power & Associates' annual customer service satisfaction survey.

For the first time in its history, Dish lost customers in the second quarter and the company is in the process of rebranding itself. In the past, Dish branded itself as the low-cost provider, but those days are over, Dish's chief marketing officer Ira Bahr told The Post. "There is no way that any company can win with a positioning based only on price," Bahr said. "We need to assure that customers and prospects understand the really impressive range of attributes that we offer." Dish's new message: "We want you to get to know us personally," Bahr said.

Dish plans to roll out Google TV when it launches later this year and the company recently rolled out, offering streaming of live programming and recorded content. Meanwhile, DirecTV is "working hard to fix each and every issue," company spokesman Robert Mercer to the newspaper. "We've always prided ourselves on providing excellent customer service, but we recognize we're not batting a thousand in this area," He adds that the complaints represent less than 1 percent of DirecTV's 18.8 million subscribers.

For more:
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- and this release

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