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Customer Complaints about Satellite TV Service

written by: Aunindita•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/28/2011

Are you planning to get satellite TV service for your home? Before emptying your wallet, learn about some common customer complaints about TV satellite service so you can decide if satellite is really what you want.

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    Television viewers have virtually an infinite number of choices for programming in today’s world, but customer complaints about TV satellite service indicate the airwaves are limited. Once upon a time, your entire broadcast realm came through a pair of rabbit ears atop the TV set or a wiry antenna on the roof. Broadcast stations within 50 miles or so were the only signals you could receive. Then came cable, which created a network of viewers watching channels from a receiver at the local cable office. Many of the stations were far away and available only through satellite transmission. Those same satellite transmissions can now come into your home via a dish on your property and a receiver box in the house. The newer technology, however, isn't without its flaws. 

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    Sales Pitch

    satellite TV Satellite TV companies make elaborate promises. They offer free installation with no fees for several months. They guarantee more channels and upgraded service. They provide the dish and receiver free, while requiring a commitment of 12 to 24 months. You can sign up for a variety of different programming packages, depending on your needs. Basic plans can begin at $20 and range up to $100-plus per month with additional monthly charges for other services. Some promises are hard to keep.

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    Dish Location

    You might laugh at the unsightly location where some TV fanatics place their satellite dish. The joke may be on you. Dishes can’t be just anywhere on the customer’s property; they have to have an unobstructed view of the satellite for the best signal. The position is even harder to locate when the dish needs to turn to contact several satellites for additional channels.

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    Hidden Costs

    Choices in a satellite TV plan labeled as “other services” can substantially boost a monthly bill. Local channels may not be part of the basic package. A satellite company has no obligation to carry local broadcasting. That means the “local-into-local” issue, as the Federal Communications Commission defines it, may cost you and extra $5 to $10 per month. In addition, the high definition image that you bought that 42 inch flat screen to see may cost another $10 or more. There are also hidden fees related to upgrading packages and early termination fees. The cost of satellite TV is higher than your normal cable service.

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    Inconsistent Service

    Let’s hope that your favorite TV show airs during fair weather. Satellite television often falters in storms. Some viewers find minor rain showers cause snow on the television screen. What’s more, customers complain that satellite companies are insensitive to the issue as far as this matter is concerned. The only answer the providers have is that services would resume soon and the service was interrupted due to unavailability of signals.

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    Registering Complaints

    The internet has become a popular place for customers with complaints about satellite TV providers. Another outlet is the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates broadcast services. Both business and government are slow in changing, though, so don’t expect immediate response.