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August 2, 2010

Dish Network: #1 in Customer Satisfaction?

Filed under: Electronics — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 3:46 am

In several TV commercials, the President of Dish Network touts the company’s low prices and success in becoming number one in customer satisfaction. In fact, he unequivocally proclaims:

“Dish Network is ranked number one in customer satisfaction among ALL [emphasis added] cable and satellite providers.” [Commercial one, and commercial two. ]

Not so fast, Mr. Ergen. There is a nearly unreadable disclaimer on the screen.


“According to the 2010 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey results for the US largest cable and satellite TV providers. The claim excludes fiber optics carriers.”

If you look at the actual survey results from the University of Michigan for May 2010, you discover the true ranking of companies:


Funny thing, the real number one-rated company for customer satisfaction is Verizon FiOS and the real number two company is AT&T U-verse. In essence, Dish is saying, if you exclude the number one and number two company, we are number one! That is kind of like Alamo declaring “We are number one (if you don’t count Hertz and Avis)”.

Dish Network was invited twice by Mouse Print* to comment on its advertising practices but did not respond.

Disclosure: MrConsumer is a member of Verizon’s Consumer Advisory Board (but even if he wasn’t, Dish Network’s ads would have been subject of a Mouse Print* commentary).

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  1. Not to nit-pick Mouse Print’s fine service, but the statement in the advertisement is accurate per se. It mentions all cable and satellite services and the mouse print clearly shows they are not referring to fiber-optic firms. The reason is probably because the fiber optic companies have a tinier customer service base than the older and more established cable and satellite services and aren’t yet universally available. Obviously, a smaller customer base can mean higher customer-satisfaction rankings. I have no connection with Dish Network other than being a subscriber and have found their customer service to be far better than most other companies of any type that I’ve dealt with.

    Edgar replies: Charles, the number one and number two companies ARE cable companies, albeit they use fiber optic cables, instead of coax or copper. If Dish hadn’t claimed superiority over “all” cable and satellite companies, their claim may have been more accurate.

    Comment by Charles Slat — August 2, 2010 @ 7:20 am
  2. The fact of the matter is that he flat out lies verbally and then leaves it to the viewer to find a disclaimer, a small visual and a different mode of communication, to correct the lie. Wasn’t there a game that went something like that? I’ll tell a lie and you try to catch me at it?

    I’m supposed to trust a company hawked by a liar? Not for me, thank you.

    Comment by Bob — August 2, 2010 @ 8:06 am
  3. I’m a loyal Direct TV customer and I have been completely satisfied since 1995, yes…15 years; I was an early adopter of the 18″ satellite dish technology. In fact, the company just rewarded me for my brand loyalty for 15 years of uninterrupted subscription; I received an advance credit for several pay-per-view movies. If you notice, DISH and Direct TV’s surveyed satisfaction rates were 3 points different, which is probably less than or equal to the margin for error in the survey. The two fiber companies, were only a point or two higher than DISH’s. For any one company to claim to be number one in that kind of a statistical horse race is really splitting hairs. The truth of the matter is that once people find a company they like, they stick with it and give it good marks. You find a company that works for you. I’m happy that 71% of DISH’s customers are satisfied; good for them. However, based on my own comparison of channel packages, prices, AND customer service I have received over the years, I’m staying with Direct TV. I’m sure they engage in legal advertising lies as much as anyone else, but I’ve been treated well.

    Comment by Eric — August 2, 2010 @ 8:31 am
  4. We had good serive with Dish Network but after our 2 year contract was over we switched to DirecTV. Much much better and somewhat less expensive.

    Comment by MITALIANO — August 2, 2010 @ 1:26 pm
  5. Erics right. Statistically the top four are tied. So in that sense Dish is number one, along with a lot of competitors.

    Comment by John — August 2, 2010 @ 6:06 pm
  6. Lets assume a margin of error of 3 points. The survey would then indicate that Dish Network is JUST AS GOOD in customer satisfaction as the top 3 rated companies, not #1. Big difference!!

    Comment by Peter — August 3, 2010 @ 10:24 am
  7. All points are well taken, but it would seem that the larger the subscriber base, the more meaningful the customer satisfaction rating would be.

    Comment by Charles Slat — August 4, 2010 @ 9:07 am
  8. In reference to subscriber base (Charles), Direct TV has 16 million US customers, Dish Network has 14.3 million, U-verse has 2 million, and FiOS has 2.4 million….according to Wikipedia.

    Again, between DTV and Dish, seems like a general tie to me. U-verse and FiOS subscriber numbers are way too small to compare to the dish companies, but between the two – tie again.

    You find the one you can live with…..=)

    Comment by Eric — August 4, 2010 @ 10:57 am
  9. It doesn’t matter if it ‘seems’ like a tie – the survey is clear with its ranking 1 2 and 3. That’s like saying runners in an olympic race ‘seemed’ like they tied because they were hundredths of a second off. For the 3rd place runner to claim he won would be misleading to say the least.
    And who are you people? This is MousePrint! We don’t sit around and try to justify corporate scheming in advertising! Let them hang for their treachery!

    Comment by ryan — August 5, 2010 @ 2:11 am
  10. Despite Edgar’s response, U-verse and FiOS are NOT traditional cable services. They are IP networks using excess local bandwidth to serve IPTV instead of just Internet and VoIP (telephony). Heck, if it didn’t take so much bandwidth, they could sell you online TV service through another company’s Internet connection.

    Cable services, OTOH, dedicate frequency channels to networks (“channels”) for the bulk of their content and only have a few that function for IP traffic. Their Holy Grail is to transition all those frequencies to IP so that they can dynamically allocate bandwidth and not waste capacity on rebroadcasting content no one is watching (digital, analog, or otherwise), but that means making all cable-ready devices obsolete and even transitioning their proprietary hardware (much lower bandwidth QAM MP4 instead of QAM MPEG2, for example). IPTV services have just reached the point where they have enough bandwidth available to enough customers to roll out a few streams and IP services while cable already has (and WASTES) MUCH more. Fiber services are just glorified DSL at this point where cable has much more potential bandwidth if they were to adopt the same service model. Though they are expanding, the customer base is much smaller and easier to serve at this point.

    While U-verse and FiOS aim to compete the same as cable and sat, it’s a bit like saying that Hulu is a cable co. There is a fund. diff.

    Comment by Julian Emmett Turner — August 21, 2010 @ 3:28 pm
  11. Dish doesn’t just lie in their ad. The sales rep I had lied about a key channel I would receive and about the HD capabilities of the second set on the Dual Receiver. If you choose to make the mistake of doing business with them, I suggest you read the contract with a fine tooth comb even if you keep the installer there for several hours to make sure they have not lied to you. Incidentally, they would not send me the contract in advance as I requested, which should have served as a big red flag.

    Comment by Jim Barth — August 21, 2010 @ 6:50 pm
  12. I sell both DISH & DirecTV. DISH is definitely better when it comes to customer service. The issue here is that sometimes DISH gives great service and sometimes it doesn’t. Yet DirecTV gives great service but not as much as DISH and sometimes it is just plain horrible. At 1 point, the BBB gave Direct an “F”

    Comment by Carlos — August 25, 2010 @ 7:26 pm
  13. A few years back, I ordered Dish.
    It bugged me that they would not offer evening installation. (Although the sales rep said, “yes we do” “So can they come Tuesday after 6pm?” “Oh, we only do until 4pm” “So when do you do evenings?” “Every day until 4pm” um, ok…

    Anyway, I ordered for Sunday installation, between 1pm and 5pm.
    At 4:30, when the rep hadn’t arrived, I called to ensure that he was coming because we had somewhere to go at 5:30.
    The phone apparently went to India where they had no connection to the local office and they assured me that he would show.
    At 5pm, with no-show, I called again and again, India gave me a big song and dance about all of this and let’s just reschedule.

    I asked what I would get for my troubles and they had no answer.

    I remain on basic-basic cable ($15/mo) because all of the offerings are either way too expensive for my viewing needs or they simply don’t accommodate my schedule. What happens AFTER installation if I actually need someone to come help me with a problem?

    Comment by RS — September 6, 2010 @ 1:59 pm
  14. Dishnetworks #1 Customer Service told me to go to Direct TV!! Most days I get less channels than I am paying for each month. Emailed CEO several weeks ago, no response.

    Comment by John — October 24, 2010 @ 8:10 pm
  15. I had DISH for several years. Price kept going up and channels kept going away. Service was fair, but would go out for no reason from time to time. The final straw was when one of our boxes stopped working. I called customer service (in some country) and he was arguing that I didn’t have and never had the box that wasn’t working. I switched to Direct TV and they are much better.

    Comment by Mike — January 7, 2011 @ 12:55 pm
  16. Who are these people? Dish lied. Period. They are not number one, they are number three. Who are these idiots claiming that 2 million is a small customer base. Even if Verizon just had one hundred customers, if their customers are much happier than Dish, then Dish can’t claim otherwise. Btw, I’m a loyal Dish customer. ^_^. But I still don’t like people manipulating stats to justify their point. Using such method I can say pretty much claim anything, and that’s just wrong.

    Comment by Pom — February 14, 2011 @ 7:02 pm
  17. I live in the Seattle ares. Dish Net work was fighting with
    Fisher Broadcasting . Their local channel was KOMO channel 4.
    They cut off channel 4 and replaced it with a call in show called
    talk with Charley. They wanted the callers to call in and support
    them in their fight with Fisher. I resented them using their
    customers in their fight. This went on for about 3 months so I
    changed to Direct T. V. I found that Direct TV’s technology
    was much better than Dish Network. Dish Network had not bothered to
    contact me to upgrade the technology of my system. Direct T V
    costs a little more, but values their customers and give
    great service. I will never go back to Dish Net Work.

    Comment by Leslie Mutchler — March 5, 2011 @ 9:06 pm
  18. I find Dish Network to be nothing more than … arrogant … . I have signed up for $19.99, first year following $15 increase after first 12 months… That was May of 2101 to this day I have not revived correct bill as yet.I wasted minimum of 30 hours trying to resolve the issue to no avail, phone calls and email. They are FIRED. If you decide to go with them; be very diligent to the fact that what they preach is not what they print and you sign.
    Total dissatisfied!!! Never again.

    Comment by Val — May 10, 2011 @ 9:11 am

    Comment by T MORRISON — June 21, 2011 @ 9:30 pm
  20. I have had DISHNOTWORK (not a spelling error) for the last year and have finally had enough. I switched to cable and now DISHNOTWORK want me to pay them for them to cancel my account. DISHNOTWORK commited to providing service for the monthly fees they were charging, unfortunately I, as the customer, cannot deduct from my payment for the times I am not receiving service. DISHNOTWORK should be boycotted, there other TV satellite providers who can offer services equal to DISHNOTWORK with far better customer service. I intend to go to court over the cancellation fee they want to charge me for their non-service.

    Comment by Loren W. — September 2, 2011 @ 3:15 pm
  21. Dish network out and out lied to sign me up. Said my great rate would stay the same and not go up as long as I used direct deduction on credit card. My bill has gone from 47.95 to 90.00 per month in less than a year. Complain, and no one is held responsible. Asked how they could run ads saying their service rates don’t go up until 2013. No one could explain it. They are Comcast all over again. Can’t wait till August to say good bye. Don’t believe a word they say!

    Comment by Jenny D. — December 8, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

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