Call Kurtis: DISH Bill Dispute

She says her satellite TV company mistakenly charged her a $50 unreturned equipment fee. After that, late fees started adding up. So she decided to call Kurtis Ming.

As a home-schooling mom, Amber Gillespie especially likes the educational programs her two kids watch on their DISH Network service.

“They probably use it more than I do,” says Amber.

Back in March, she says DISH sent out a new receiver when her old one started making a funny noise. She sent the old box back, but was surprised to get billed a $50 charge for unreturned equipment.

“Which I thought was strange because in March I received an email from them, thanking me for returning it,” says Amber.

She says DISH admitted the mistake and promised a credit on her next bill. But the credit didn’t appear and she was slapped with a $5 late fee for the next two months.

“I started getting really annoyed. I was like, ‘really, late fees?'”

Amber refused to pay what she feels she doesn’t owe. Was that the right move?

“As a practical matter, right, wrong or indifferent, sometimes it’s better to pay something up front, if it’s nominal,” says local BBB President Gary Almond.

He says you shouldn’t ignore an outstanding balance, and it may be best to swallow your pride, pay the bill, and then fight for your money back.

“Any bill that you don’t pay, you may in fact incur negative credit marks if they’re reporting to the credit reporting agencies,” says Almond.

DISH later told Amber the issue is over an unreturned smart card. She says DISH told her earlier to destroy it.

We called up DISH and they erased her outstanding balance.

“Thrilled! It will be really nice to not have to worry about fighting them more,” says Amber.

We asked DISH what happened here. If Amber was told to destroy the card, was that the wrong information? All DISH would say was they don’t know why she may have been given conflicting information.

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