Last Saturday night many Sling TV customers including myself who tried to watch various programs such as UFC Fight Night 101 were greeted by buffering video, repeating video or a black screen with a spinning circle.
— AmriteshKala (MykeG) (@CTRL_SUBMIT_ESC) November 27, 2016
Its not your connection, its Sling.
Of course, this is nothing unique or even new, Sling has a long history of offering a service that is plagued with issues when it comes to streaming.
Sling TV which is a subsidiary of The Dish Network, launched in January 2015 as an alternative to Cable TV, since then has been the target of thousands of complaints and negative reviews for providing shoddy service or not providing any service at all.
— Cody Bayer (@cbayer13) November 27, 2016
@Sling does your app ever work properly on Xbox one ? I mean really what the fuck am I paying for ? And don't say connections.. it fiber
— John D (@Fairdinkum16) November 27, 2016
Yep. Sling TV is awful. Do not purchase this. Shovel out the cash for cable if you like live sports. #trustme
— Carson Kubicki (@Carson_Kubicki) November 27, 2016
Yeah, when my 3 months of @Sling is done, I'm not renewing. 51 Mbps, & can't sustain stream. Quality is like an old flip phone.
— Brandon [Surname] (@wastewheeler) November 27, 2016
— Matt (@KCCO_Meeks) November 27, 2016
— Morgan Williams (@modwilli) November 30, 2016
As silly as this sounds, maybe the ultimate plan was to create such an unpleasant experience for cord cutters that they would come crawling back to Satellite and Cable TV, of course, this would work if TV viewership weren’t at an all time low across the board and ratings for national events such as the Emmys, American Music Awards and even the NFL have plummeted.
On top of plummeting TV ratings, there are other streaming alternatives such as Playstation Vue (which has over 2,000 positive reviews on Amazon), Netflix, HBO Now, Direct TV Now and the hundreds of pirated streams on sites like YouTube Live for most news and sporting events, so this plan just like Sling TV was doomed to fail before it even began.
On the other hand, maybe the Dish Network saw the writing on the wall and launched SlingTV in 2015 as a way to recapture subscribers that it was going to quickly lose but whatever their plan or reasoning was, they have failed miserably at it.
So, what happens when you ask for a refund or try to cancel?
Instead of addressing issues with the service when asked for a refund, a representative for Sling instead responded with:
“Sling TV is a pay in advance, non-refundable service”
then referred the consumer to their Terms of Service agreement.
This seems to be in line with what a lot of other consumers on Amazon have experienced and some reviewers have reported that Sling continued to charge them even after they canceled then refusing to give a refund.
“I cancelled within that time frame, and even received an email (within the stated time) from Sling expressing their disappointment that I was leaving, and instructions on how to re-join if I ever decided to do that. It also stated that my account would be turned off immediately. Two days later, my credit card was charged for the monthly service fee for the upcoming month. When I called Sling Customer Service, I was told that I hadn’t cancelled within the required time frame. When I pointed out that I had TWO emails confirming dates, and my compliance, I was told, “No, you don’t. You didn’t do what you were supposed to do, so we’re charging you.” No matter what I said – and no matter what proof I had FROM SLING, the Customer Service Rep said I was wrong, and therefore I was being charged. They would not be refunding me my money. I had to file a Fraud Complaint with my credit card company – which I told the CS Rep I would be doing. I was told “do what you have to do. We’re not refunding you.” — Amazon Reviewer
This just one of the many complaints relating to cancellation issues and it should be noted that this type of unscrupulous business practice has led to multimillion dollar settlements in multiple states with companies such as Autovantage/Trilegiant Corporation/Affinion Group.
Meet Roger Lynch
All of this falls on the desk of the current CEO Roger Lynch who in my opinion has run the company since its launch in 2015 with such incompetence and blatant disregard when it comes to customer service and has ignored the thousands of negative reviews over the span of almost 2 years.
His arrogance and incompetence will undoubtedly lead to multiple class action settlements with consumers due to the company’s practice of charging consumers after cancellation (2) and also for advertising a service while not actually providing which is the classic definition of bait and switch as well as fraud but of course SlingTV’s website is carefully worded and avoids describing the quality of the service.
Instead of improving service to existing customers, lately he has decided to go on a marketing blitz across multiple platforms such as xbox one, various tech news publication like TechCrunch and The Verge and online deal sites such as Slickdeals to draw in new customers which will undoubtedly overwhelm their already overloaded servers and cause even more customers to leave but I suspect he’s only doing this to keep quarterly earnings and subscription rates up to keep investors happy in the short term.
At this point, the company offers nothing notable, new or worthwhile. If consumers wanted to, they could easily find a pirated stream of CNN, Fox Sports, ESPN, etc that would work, not buffer and look great but most paid for Sling TV to be honest and play by the rules, unfortunately, it appears the service they’re paying for isn’t being entirely honest with them.
Ultimately I see Sling TV either being spun off or sold off after being mired in class action lawsuits and settlements, as for Roger Lynch, perhaps he’s better off running a company such as Western Sky Loans.