Widow battles satellite company after husband's death

September 10, 2010 4:23:35 PM PDT
When you have a problem with a company, a quick phone call often gets things fixed, unless your name is not on the account. That's the problem one woman faced after her husband died, and she had to take extreme action to try to get service. Action13 got a call Wednesday from a Houston woman whose husband had signed up for Dish Network. Now that her husband has passed, the wife could not get anyone at Dish to help her with an equipment problem, until we got involved.

When Joan Lisman's husband was alive, he signed the couple up for Dish Network. Two years ago, Joan's husband died, but she continued to get the bill in her husband's name and continued paying. Things had been going fine until about seven weeks ago, when the Lisman's Dish Network receiver stopped working.

Lisman said, "They pulled up my bill and said, 'You don't exist.' And I said, 'What do you mean?' They said, 'Your husband's name is on the bill and we cannot talk to you.'"

Lisman was told to send a certified copy of her husband's death certificate to Dish Network so the company could list her as the primary contact. Lisman says she did just, that but they did not fix the broken receiver.

"I called them and said, 'Did you get a death certificate?' And they said, 'No, we haven't gotten it.'"

Lisman says she sent another copy of her husband's death certificate and a week later, the company still had not received it.

"I faxed two more death certificates," she said.

Lisman says for seven weeks she tried and tried to get Dish to fix the receiver, and nothing happened because the company still did not have a death certificate. Lisman says she reached the breaking point when a bill for $100 arrived earlier this week.

"A hundred dollars for what I owed them, for what Chuck owed them," she said.

After contacting Dish Network a spokesperson told us: "Dish Network apologizes for the inconvenience to Ms. Joan Lisman. Once we were made aware of the issue, we immediately reached out to her in order to work toward a resolution. We waived all fees and charges remaining on her account."

Lisman said, "They have begged me to let them fix the receiver and they apologized."

It is not uncommon for a company to ask for a death certificate to prove a spouse has passed away, but consumers might be able to avoid the problem.

Monica Russo with the Houston Better Business Bureau advised, "Put your name on the account in case something like this should occur."

While Dish has now contacted Mrs. Lisman, she says it's too late, and she has now switched to another provider.


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