Hughesnet Customer Support Hell
(One person's recent trip there!)
Hughes is allegedly the hell-spawn of satellite internet providers. Why can I say this? When I originally posted my review of chosing amongst the competittion, I was mercilessly spanked after I initially bought into Hughes' pre-sale bedside manner. Since then, I've had to deal with Hughes for one of my clients. It was a nightmare spanning over a month. Don't believe me? Here's a recent tale of one person's terrible experience with the Hughes post-sale 'tude.
Why complain to Hughes when UncoolCentral is more responsive!
I liked your website and really appreciated your opinion on the different satellite internet services. I have Hughesnet because, yes, I too live in BFE. I haven't had too many problems with it (though it is sometimes slow/non-working during windy or stormy times, but I can live with that). However, every time I've had a technical problem and had to call Tech support in India it has mostly been a nightmare. The most recent nightmare lasted 2 weeks.
I was out of town for 5 days and when I got home I didn't have service. Hmm, thought it was weather related and hoped it would fix itself by morning. It didn't, so I checked email from a friends in town and the Hughes website said something about satellite updates happening earlier the previous day. I thought perhaps that meant they might be having problems in my area. Upon calling them I was informed that I called the previous day and canceled my service!" Of course I had done no such thing, I wasn't even in the state when I supposedly called. They said they would change my status back to active. Well, that did not work, I still couldn't get online.
Every time I called Technical support (which I talked to every day, numerous times a day, hours on end, for a week...) I asked if they could just send someone out to rectify the problem, since it was their fault it happened in the first place. They told me they couldn't do that, they could only send an installation person for an install. I tried everything they said over and over, I even had a friend up in the attic with her laptop attached to the modem, while she and I talked on walkie talkies and me on the phone to India--to do a procedure that would definitely work and would take 5-7 minutes. I don't know how many times I heard that 5-7 minute line, I was ready to stick that 5-7 minutes up...I digress. Anyway, I then called a computer tech to come over and he couldn't get it to work (after hours on the phone to India) and finally convinced them to send someone out as he had done everything they said and then some.
I called the tech who was to come to the house; he had also installed our system 3 years ago. Within 10 seconds of being on the phone with him, he knew exactly what the problem was and would be out the next day. AFter all the times I pleaded with them to send someone out, why couldn't they have done that? He said when they cancel you, your modem goes back to an "old" state without the upgrades and it will never work without them. Also the satellite needed to be "flashed". He did all that and it works fine again. But after the nightmare with Customer service, I wasn't so sure I wanted to stay with Hughes. They don't even have an address where you can write a letter! However, the installer said he thought the other companies were worse. Then I read your review and I think I'll believe the installer (and you) and stick with Hughes. At least for now. I will have to fight with them about the charge of $125 to send out a repair person, when it was their fault he needed to come out in the first place. Not to mention being without service for 2 weeks and all my time and aggravation and money spend on the computer guy who came out.
Thanks for the input,
An update in the search for decent satellite internet access
Wild Blue emailed me recently letting me know that they're again accepting new customers in my area. My curiosity got the best of me and I called. They say they offer absolutely no guarantees. They can't even tell me that my service will be faster than dial-up. That's not unique to Wild Blue, but they're the most recent company to tell me as much.
My biggest problem with Wild Blue's offer is/was the FAP. Even their most expensive package ($80/month) provides only 5 gigs of upload transfer over a 30-day window. That's enough for most people, and usualy enough for me, but what happens when it's not enough? I told my Wild Blue rep that I needed the weekend to think about it. Asked her if she could call me on Monday. "Sure! Talk to you Monday."
She never called back.
Dan Dreifort is a writer, consultant, musician and an IT/marketing/SEO geek. He is the marketing manager for Calico and enjoys international travel. He wears size 10.5 shoes and has a 32" waist. Friends called him 'Duck' in high school. His mother calls him 'wonderful.'
Hughesnet, Starband, Wild Blue and EVDO / 3G wireless internet