Dec 032010

Yeah, I know, you watch TV in your RV all the time. I do, too. In fact, I have for over twelve years now. But according to the dweebs at Dish Network, you can’t watch TV in an RV. Who knew?

In Monday’s blog, titled You Win Some, You Lose Some, I wrote that Dish Network had agreed to send somebody out to install a new DVR receiver in our motorhome. Since we already have an automatic Dish high definition receiver on our motorhome, “installing basically means plugging the receiver in and hooking up the input and output coax cables. The installation was supposed to happen yesterday afternoon. It didn’t.

About 8 a.m. the installer called, asked where we were, and I gave him the campground’s address and our site number. “Hey, you can’t put a TV dish on an RV,” the guy told me. “I have to mount a pole to the side of it to hold the dish. That won’t work.” I assured him that he didn’t have to “mount a pole” to the side of my motorhome, all he had to do was hand me the receiver and go on his way. He said he’d have to have his supervisor call me back.

That noteworthy individual called back a few minutes later to tell me that you can’t have a TV in a motorhome. Okay, here we go. We batted that one back and forth for a while, and he said that there was no way they were delivering my receiver to me. End of story.

I called Dish Network back and spent the next three hours on the telephone, mostly on hold, while a series of people who could barely speak English told me that it was illegal to install a TV in a motorhome, put me on hold, never came back, or eventually hung up.

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Finally I got to a Customer Retention Representative in the United States, who assured me that the only way it was legal for me to have a TV in my RV was to park it permanently on a lot and never move it again.

I asked her to stop reading off her cue card, and look at my account and note my RV waiver, and asked her what the RV waiver was for. She said it was to allow me to receive east and west coast networks while traveling in my RV. “Okay, if I can’t have a TV in my RV, why do I have an RV waiver on file so I can receive those distant networks while I’m traveling?” I asked her. She told me that the waiver was to allow me to receive east and west coast networks while traveling in my RV. (Yeah, I heard it before too.)

Finally the light seemed to go on, and she had a solution to my problem! She told me that I was a valued customer, and all I had to do was park my RV and not move it anymore, and I could get my free receiver. But if I did that, I couldn’t keep my distant networks, because then I wouldn’t be traveling anymore.  Okay, next nitwit please.

Then that nitwit’s boss came on the line, who was another nitwit,  and explained that only Standard Definition receivers would work in an RV. Not High Definition, and not DVR receivers.

Aha! So I can watch TV in my RV, just not HD TV?  He said yes you can have an SD receiver, but no, you can’t watch TV in an RV, because every time you move, somebody would have to come out and reinstall it. Huh? Are you getting a headache yet? I was getting chest pains by then!

I told him that I know many, many RVers who have HD DVRs. I even called Bill Adams from Internet Anywhere to be sure I wasn’t missing something. Bill is the recognized expert when it comes to mobile TV and satellite dish systems. He assured me that I could use the HD receiver in my RV, with my automatic Dish HD antenna.

But when I called Dish back, after talking to Bill, they assured me that Bill was wrong, you can’t have a TV in an RV.

If it weren’t for the fact that my Winegard Trav’ler automatic rooftop dish can’t be reprogrammed to DirecTV, I’d switch today. As it is, I’ll just sit here and remember the good old days, when gas was $2 a gallon, and I could watch TV in my RV.

Thought For The Day – Politics has taught us that it is not necessary to understand things in order to argue about them.

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Nick Russell

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  34 Responses to “You Can’t Watch TV In An RV”

  1. Jeeeze, what have I been doing all evening. No, we don’t get the east/west feeds cause our TV is actually sitting in our son’s 3, 4, 5 or maybe 15 bedroom and he can get local TV locally for those feeds. Use the antennae when near enough to a city for networks. Not much on TV anyway these days. Just the criminal type shows.

  2. Nick,

    Who is on first base? This sounds like an Abbot and Costello skit 🙂

    I gave up trying to make Dish work and went with DirectTV

    Good luck


  3. I get so frustrated with the so called customer service these days. I have Dish, and have never had a problem with them. I sure hope we don’t have to call them for service any time soon.

    My latest WTF moment was when I was trying to get my denial letter from Arizona medicaid. I was told by a medical provider I had to apply, even though I knew I would be denied, so that the medical provider would make payment arrangements with me. I called to ask them for a copy of the letter, and was told, “we can’t send you a copy because we already sent one. It costs the state money to send another one.” Well, I never got the first one. I offered to send $2 for the paper and postage, but they just laughed at me. LAUGHED! I am still trying to understand that one.

  4. I went through the same bullshit with Dish just last week. Get this, my receiver died and since I lease it from Dish and have a service contract, they sent me a new one. They said all I had to do was plug it in and call to activate the new card. I did and was told they don’t provide service to RVs! Even though I’ve had it in my RV for over 6 years and they sent the replacement receiver to me at an RV park! I said to cancel my contract if they wouldn’t activate the new receiver, and they said I can’t because I have a 24 month commitment with the new receiver! So they won’t activate it and they still expect me to pay for the next 2 years! I told them to sue me!

  5. What a crock. Direct TV is no better, I have to fight with them every time I need something. If any of these companies would hire out of work Americans instead of third world people who can’t speak the language and have never seen anything more than an ox cart, maybe things would improve.

  6. And just when you thought we were going to be able to watch “Sons of Anarchy” again.

  7. Can you say stupid??? No wonder the rest of the world is passing us by. What does it matter if the receiver is in a house, an apartment, or a rowboat, as long as you pay your bill! Stupid, stupid, stupid!!!!

  8. When we started fulltiming 8 years ago we had to jump thru a bunch of hoops to get east and west coast networks. A couple of years later a lightning strike wiped out our TV, receiver, refrigerator, microwave, etc. Direct TV gave us all kinds of grief trying to get a replacement receiver. I finally bought one at Circuit City, and Direct TV activated it. Two months later, I lost al programming, and they said my card was bad, but since it was not their equipment, I had to buy a new receiver from them. I bought it and didn’t have any problems until last year, when I called to add HBO to my programming. They said my receiver was too old and I needed to upgrade. Then we ran into the same thing your going thru now. They don’t provide service to RVs, even though we know dozens of RVers who have their service and we did for over 7 years. So we switched to Dish and so far, so good. My point is that nobody at either company has any clue as to what they do or don’t do at any given time. Their policies seem to be at the whim of whoever you talk to.

  9. It’s a shame to hear this. I’ve had Dish and DirectTV and customer service for Dish had seemed to be getting better in the last couple of years (more state-side reps). But perhaps the difference is that I have it installed at my house and the RV’s HD receiver is considered a second receiver for the account. When I travel, I just call and they set my local channels to wherever I happen to be. So far, so good with that approach. Another thing I did was to buy my 2nd receiver from an eBay seller (rather than ask Dish to give me a free one with all their added strings attached). Dish was very good about activating this receiver with no problems.

    I wonder if the new agreement that Dish and Wingard just did last week will help the situation for full-timers? Wingard will now be able to sell Dish service on a month-by-month basis with no contract required. The service seems to be targeted precisely for RVers.

  10. While they are both very frustrating to deal with (our first 6 months on the road was a weekly battle); I think DirecTv is the lesser of the two evils. At least they have a direct line Customer Service for RVers which is 800 769-4635 and I have had great luck dealing with that specific department which seems to be staffed by very competent people.

  11. Canada is a lot better, but they say you are not allowed to being it into the U.S. Sure they can know where you are. We just don’t talk to them when we are in the U.S. No problem if you don’t have a problem.

    Bell our provider has finally smartened up and brought their call centre back to Canada. I actually get an English person that knows what they are talking about. We used to have the centres farmed out, but guess they had too many complaints.

    Just don’t tell them you live in an RV that might help. We can just buy the receiver and call them to activate. Too bad we can’t live with out TV, but it is my company when I am on the road being a single RVer.

  12. I can believe one or two CSRs out it, but the number Nick hit is something else.

    We have to remember that there are a million or so RVers out of 300 million people, we do not represent a majority of the population.

    But I have had my story with Dish. Three years ago I was having problem with our 622 HDDVR in our trailer. Dish service folks told me that they couldn’t do a service call in anything on wheels. I managed to solve the problem my self.

    Roll forward two years and I want to upgrade the 622 to a 722K and add a 612 HDDRV. I just wanted Dish to just send the receivers since they couldn’t do a service call in anything with wheels on it.

    Dish would only send a technician out to install the receivers, who did, in my trailer.

    So the answer for Nick is to call back and climb the support structure until they are speaking English and understand the issue.

    Actually for a HDDVR swap out of a HD Receiver, just ask for the upgrade and avoid mentioning the RV. You will have to tell them to change the shipping address to where you are.

  13. Huh? You can get East/West coast feeds? We have to get them thru All American Direct since they were dropped from Dish a couple years ago. We haven’t fought the battle of switching to HD yet. As long as the old tv keeps on keepin’ on…

  14. I never laughed so hard in my life. RVs don’t have TV’S but they have an RV waiver for TV service. Do any of these people have a brain????????

    Because I have been there too. It sounds just like the run around we got. Years ago we went with Golden Sky because all the Escapees were using them and things were great until Pegasus bought them. Then I got the same old run around. Peter got so mad I had to take over the phone. I sat for three hours on the ground on a pay phone in a campground trying to get to someone who understood that we TRAVEL in our RV and we actually use the TV in our RV. No luck. Finally had to terminate the service let some time go by, fill out the RV waiver and start all over again. We have Direct TV east and west coast feeds and pray nothing ever goes wrong because the problems will start all over again. Neither Dish nor Direct understands what we do and they don’t want too. That’s the problem. We are customers but they don’t care!!!!! What happened to helping the customer and the customer is King? Welcome to the new world.

  15. As I said in a previous post, we had the same run around with Direct TV !! It took almost a week and four technicians later before we were able to get satellite TV in our RV. they need to read their own ads in the RV magazines !!

  16. And that, Nick, is the reason we switched to Direct TV. After enduring pain every time we called Dish, we decided it was time to eliminate the pain.

  17. There is a much bigger issue here. The inability of a company to find and train competent people. DirecTV and Dish are but two examples of the total lack of good customer service and common sense at many, many large corporations today. It is all about the money and not much else. I’m not a Chicken Little guy: “the sky is falling” But, I don’t think it will get any better…only worse.

  18. Have had DirecTV for 7 years and never had a problem with using a receiver in my coach. It may be because the one we use in the coach is in my garage most of the time when we are not traveling, and that is how it is listed with DirecTV, however, several times while on the road our receiver has lost its programming and all I had to do was call DirecTV, tell them our problem, and that I was in my RV and they sent the programming….fixed in less than 5 minutes each time. Maybe I don’t have problems because I still have a fixed location. I have found DirecTV’s customer service to be wonderful.

  19. This sounds about as dumb as an issue with Verizon that I experienced. I am near the Mexican border and “Roam extended network” showed up on my phone. I called Verizon and asked if there was a way to know for sure that I was not on a Mexican tower. The service rep said ” the only way to know for sure that you will not be charged $.99 per minute is get in your vehicle and drive further from the border”… DUH am I on candid camera? After about an hour of being passed around, I finally got to speak with a supervisor in tech support. In about 10 secs she explained how simple it was to know just by looking at your phone.

  20. We were one of the first RVs to set up the Direct TV system some 15 years ago, a very simple system to set up back in those days. Fortunately we rarely had to call for service until lately. Direct TV kept “bugging” us (full-timers all this time) to “upgrade” our “box” and “rent” the new one from them. We put it off until this summer when in Oregon we “upgraded” to a new 40″ HD LED. We then had to upgrade our rooftop dish as well. We used “Innovative Coachworks” in Junction City, Oregon, to install our new system. These people are really pros and had all the “right” telephone numbers to call Direct TV and get right through. A few push pull click clicks and all was up and running. Our East and West Coast feeds were not HD as Direct TV wanted us to “re-do” our waiver etc. I said no way was I going to open that can of worms! Two days ago HD shows up on all of our East and West coast feed stations without any call from us. Go figure! Have not seen a bill yet!

    A previous comment said something about a million RVers. The count is close to two million just full-timing and about 12 million registered RVs. This does not count all the 18 wheelers who have sat TV as well! A lot of customers that Direct and DISH better be thinking about!

  21. You should have asked to talk to “Peggy”.

  22. Art – ROTFLMAO! Good one!

  23. Nick

    I found out 2 years ago, the easiest way is call a installer that is not work for Dish,and pay for the receiver. The person I used was from clermont. Augusto Osorio 352-536-9699

  24. Nick, reading this blog entry even got MY heartrate up…..I just can not stand the idiots of this world and the companies that employ them. I have been known to spend significant $$ to leave those idiots behind, assuming I can find an alternative that is also not as “brain dead”. Personally, I would be writing a letter to the presidents office…..

  25. You all make me so glad we stare at e-books and computer screens instead of TV screens. 🙂

  26. Nick,

    They delivered our DISH HD/DVR 2 tuner receiver yesterday and installed it and activated it. This morning I called and got our distant networks switched over and all is working. Also got signed up for HD free for life.

    All in our RV with no questions asked. I don’t know why you are so lucky to connected to a bunch of imbeciles while I just sailed through with no issues. They must not like you!

  27. Would like to know what Sid found out on telling about Verizon cell tower locations. MX or US

  28. Sorry you’re having such a problem, Nick. After quite a number of similar experiences over the years, I have adopted a “shoot high” approach to customer non-service. I start by looking up the corporate web site (google “dish network corporate headquarters”), and identifying the CEO of the company. I then call the corporate headquarters main phone number and ask to talk to the CEO’s office, by name. That leads to someone asking the purpose of my call. I tell them that I am a very dissatisfied customer, and would like to talk with the CEO.

    It turns out that many big companies have an “Executive Customer Service” department, with people who can do things that the customer non-support people cannot. When you get one of those people on the phone, they can actually do something, and I have had good success with this method.

    I happen to know that the CEO of Dish Network is Charlie Ergen. Try calling (303) 723-1000 and ask for Mr. Ergen’s offioce. You may also be able to disk 9 for Corporate Directory. Then key in the name followed by #

    I also found a reference that you may be able to send an email direct to the CEOs office at Might be worth trying.

    I have found a number of people in executive management that actually seem to care about satisfied customers, and have the power to make things happen. Give it a try.

  29. It looks like you have 2 big problems. Dish network and Winegard antenna which cannot use Directv. Both are ridicules.

  30. Wayne, We have an automatic HD Winegard antenna and an HD receiver (purchased at Best Buy) in the motorhome. We don’t have HD at our stick house but pay for the one HD service.

    Nick, how about inviting Dish and DirecTV “marketing” folks to present a seminar/panel discussion at the Gypsy Journal Rally? Their ears may be burning when they leave, but maybe they can pass-along to their higher ups what the RV segment of their customer base is experiencing.

  31. Cool Judy, Now that’s a GREAT idea to invite representatives to the Gypsy Journal rally!!!!!!! Maybe they might learn something!!!!!

  32. This is discouraging because I was looking forward to switching to Dish when our contract with Direct TV is up in 7 more months. I have had nothing but trouble with Direct TV customer service. Even started dealing with them by e-mail so there would be a record of the issues – didn’t help.

  33. Nick
    Just a brief note so say that after reading your blog of Dec. 4 this morning and seeing pictures of you working. I could not help but think of how much you can now do since you cannot watch a TV in an RV. I wonder if anyone from Dish has told the RV manufactures this little detail. I hope you update us all soon on how you make out with those incompetent idiots.
    Long time fan.
    (Crime Pays)

  34. Would like to know what Sid found out on telling about Verizon cell tower locations. MX or US
    » Rob said: { Dec 4, 2010 – 02:12:42 }

    I was told if there an X or EV showing on your phone then you were working off a host tower.

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