Hughesnet Satellite Broadband / frustrated with the service
I was a Hughes customer starting in 2002. I had the usual frustrations, similar to those in other complaints on this site. I had let my contract expire so luckily I was a free agent when this fiasco happened. Even so, the hassle was unbelievable and remains ongoing. Seems to me that between us there may be grounds for a class action suit for pattern and practice of consumer fraud on the part of Hughes.
On October 14, 2007, I accepted an online offer from Hughes Network Systems for an upgrade to my satellite system. They were to ship me a new modem, model #HN7000S, and begin a new level of service upon installation of the modem. I asked them twice when I would be charged for the modem and for the new level of service. Each time I was told that I would be charged when the new modem was installed and working. I signed no contract, nor was I given any verbal conditions or written company policy with regard to my purchase, beyond the information about when I would be charged for the purchase. Hughes told me they would be shipping my modem via the US Postal Service to my home address. They gave me no further shipping details or tracking information.
After three weeks I had still not received the modem, so I called Hughes. They told me the modem had been shipped and that it had been delivered two weeks earlier. They told me that it had been shipped via FedEx and that they knew nothing more and could not help me find the modem. Multiple phone calls later I discovered that the modem had been shipped via FedEx Ground, not FedEx. FedEx Ground confirmed that the modem had been delivered, but to an address that was not mine, and that it had been signed for by someone I had never heard of. I searched for the address and eventually found the modem, which had been delivered to a local business. I finally got the modem on Nov. 1, 2007. Because I was scheduled for surgery on Nov. 7, I did not contact Hughes or attempt to connect the new modem until November 14, 2007. I subsequently discovered that Hughes had charged my credit card for the modem and the first month of the upgraded service on November 11, 2007, three days before I contacted them for help in installing the modem.
On November 14, 2007 I began connecting the modem. When I needed help I called Hughes Tech support at [protected]. I spoke with Mary in India who was courteous but totally unable to help me complete the installation. In fact when I had gone through the steps she asked me to and clicked on the Swap button on the Hughes website, the new modem failed to install. Mary was unable to help me further, other than to inform me that I could not go back to using my old modem and thus would have no internet service at all until a way was found to install the new modem. Mary told me I had to call the Hughes Advanced Tech Support Center (Tech Support) at [protected], and issued me a PIN number which would allow me to talk with someone there, since otherwise calls to that number are refused. I made the call. I spoke with Steven and with John who were also unable to help me with the installation. After at least an hour on the phone, John told me that it would be impossible to install the new modem and that they would have to send me a new one. He confirmed that in the meantime I would have no internet access. He said they would ship the new modem within 5-7 days. Words cannot describe my frustration by this point.
Later that day I called Tech Support again, hoping to get a more satisfactory level of assistance. I spoke with Astrid. Astrid told me that the previous Tech Support personnel had not been as helpful as they could have been. She gave me a dialup account number so that I could get online. She also assured me that the modem would be shipped the next day, and that I could call the shipping department in the morning to obtain shipping and tracking information. Unfortunately, the dialup number given me was useless. Numerous attempts failed to connect to the server. Yet another call to Tech Support got me more dialup numbers to try. They too were useless. When I called the shipping department the next morning, November 15, the woman I spoke to laughed. She said 'Honey, I don't know who you were talking to. It will be days before we have any information on that shipment.'
Again I called Tech Support, attempting to get a straight story about the replacement modem; when it would be shipped, who the carrier would be, and what the tracking information was. I spoke with several individuals. I was finally told that no one knew when the modem would be shipped; that no one knew how it would be shipped, and that it was impossible to connect me with anyone who could tell me any of this information, despite what Astrid had told me.
During the following 6 days I called Hughes repeatedly, both Tech Support and Shipping, trying to find out when and if the new modem had been shipped. I was shuffled around in circles between Tech Support and Shipping and given no useful information. I asked to speak with their Customer Relation Department and was told that they could not connect me, nor could they give me a phone number or email address so that I could contact them myself. My efforts to get this information were met with indifference and I was rudely dismissed. On November 23, 2007 I checked my credit card account and discovered that Hughes had charged my account on November 11, 2007 for the price of the new modem and for one month of a new service plan even though at the time of that charge I had neither installed the new modem nor gotten the service upgrade. I immediately called Hughes and told them to cancel my account due to my having no internet access, no new modem, their inability to help me, their incompetence, their total lack of cooperation in resolving the problems, and especially because they had violated their agreement, and charged me for the equipment and service upgrade before any attempt had been made to install them. Tech Support told me I had to speak to the Billing Dept about this.
I called the Hughes Billing Dept, asked them to cancel my account and to refund the charges to my account. They said they would cancel my account, but that I had to speak to a supervisor about a refund, and transferred me to Mike. Mike refused to credit my account for the November 11 charges. He told me that it was company policy that I had to try to install the second new modem, which I still had not received, and that they would only refund my money if that second modem could not be installed. Whether I cancelled my account or not, my money would not be refunded unless I followed their policy. He insisted that neither he nor I had any choice but to follow the Hughes policy and that there was nothing further he could do. I asked him to connect me with the Hughes Customer Relations Department. As had Tech Support, he said he could not and that neither could he give phone or email contact information for Customer Relations. He said he did not have the information and that my only recourse was to write them. I expressed extreme disbelief that he had no way to contact Customer Relations. After some time he admitted to me that he had the information but would lose his job if he gave it to me!!
On November 24, 2007, the new replacement modem arrived. I shipped it back to Hughes, unopened. On November 26, 2007 I called Hughes to be sure that my account had been cancelled. It had not, despite earlier assurances. I again requested that they cancel my account and they did so.
On November 26, 2007, I called Bank of America with whom I have a Visa account. I explained the situation to them and asked them to put the charges ($204.05) into dispute. They did so. On December 13, 2007 I received a letter from Bank of America acknowledging the legitimacy of my complaint and notifying me that the disputed charge was removed from my account. They further told me that they considered the matter resolved and that only if t he merchant supplied information proving that the charge was valid would the account be rebilled. Hughes offered no such proof and no rebuttal to my complaint. On December 21, 2007, Hughes wrote to me requesting payment of the disputed amount. I called Bank of America. They told me that I should ignore the letter from Hughes. On February 7, 2008, a collection agency called my residence attempting to collect the disputed charges, so this is far from resolved.
I feel that Hughes has shown itself to be unethical and willing to make fraudulent charges at the expense of its customers. Any help would be much appreciated.
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