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I found it a little odd that this advertisement was running on my local cable TV

    A pale white guy (PWG) and an attractive lady of indeterminate
    ethnicity (ALIE) are standing in front of a table holding two
    satellite dishes, one with the DirecTV logo and the other with the
    Dish Network logo.

    PWG:        When we considered getting a satellite dish we 
                thought it would be quick and easy.

    ALIE:       Then we learned we had to make a lot of decisions.
                Like which service to get?

    PWG:        With what equipment, what programming packages, 
                at what price, for how many rooms...

    ALIE:       There were so many choices... we were confused!

    (She reaches for brochure lying on the table.)

    PWG:        Until we got this helpful brochure from the
                Satellite Entertainment Information Center.

    (Brochure cover reads: The Practical Guide to Choosing A Satellite System
     -- 9th Edition.  The cover closely resembles the "Handbook for the
     Recently Deceased" from Beetlejuice.)

                It tells you everything you need to know and
                best of all...

    ALIE:       It's free.

    PWG:        So... If you're confused and want help, 
                call 1-888-DISH-HELP.

    ALIE:       That's 1-888-DISH-HELP.

    Text on screen reads: Call Now for your Free Guide 1-888-DISH-HELP Toll Free)

I googled the phone number and found a website which reveals that the purpose of the DISH-HELP service is
to rat you out to the cable company,
so they can call you and try to keep you from defecting. I decided to
order a copy of the brochure to see what’s inside, so I called the number.

A perky young lady answered, and took my name and address. She promised
right away that the information I was providing would not be sold or provided
to satellite companies (duh!).

After taking my address she promised that the brochure would arrive in 2-3 weeks.
Then she asked if I would take a short survey, saying that the information would
be provided to “other media companies” (hmmm, I wonder which ones?) but would
not be sold or provided to satellite companies.

The questions on the survey were:

  • How many TVs are in your house? I said “thirty.”
  • How likely are you to switch to Satellite? I said “somewhat likely.”
  • Reason for switching to satellite? I said “The service my cable provider has is not very good.”
  • How disatisfied are you with your cable company on a scale of 1-5? I said “somewhat disatisfied.”
  • Who is your cable provider? I told them.

Again, I was told the brochure would arrive in 2-3 weeks. Needless to say, this gives the
cable company plenty of time to try and retain me as a customer. I’m expecting a call from them
any minute now…

3 Responses to “1-888-DISH-HELP”

  1. rgovostes Says:

    You have to admit that it’s quite clever, even if deceptive. I would file a complaint to the Better Business Bureau, or write to the executives.

    When you get the brochure, please post the images on Flikr :-)

  2. jbum Says:

    Well, technically I don’t think they’re doing anything illegal. It’s certainly deceptive, however.

  3. Says:

    Sleazy Cable Company Tactics

    I saw a TV commercial today that struck me as very odd. It was supposedly for a service that would send you a brochure on how to choose a satellite provider. Given that DirecTV and Dish Network wouldn't be likely to get together for a commercial t…