Sling TV tells dissatisfied customers to pound sand when it comes to refunds

slingconvocollage

 

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.

 

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.

It currently has Over 3,000 critical reviews on Amazon, over 100 on CNET, dozens with the Better Business Bureau along with thousands of negative feedback on twitter like these:

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?

slingconvo

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.

amazon-review-highlight
Amazon Review

“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

rogerlynch

 

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.

Read More

HTC dumping unsold ‘Re’ camera inventory by slashing 75% off retail price

htc-re-inhaler-faucet

 

The poorly named, poorly designed asthma inhaler/kitchen faucet shaped device was launched a year ago during a disastrous and equally cringe-worthy keynote that featured one fashion model taking a selfie with a teddy bear that she was pushing about on stage in a baby stroller. The keynote left myself and tech journalists like Slashgear’s Chris Burns asking “What on Earth is HTC thinking?”.

re-5-teddy-stroler

“…models walked across the stage with MegaMan-like electronic music and soulless, model eyes. And no purpose. Or if the purpose existed, it wasn’t immediately obvious. It’s as if HTC picked up on the strangest and most useless elements in the average big-time Samsung Galaxy event and blew it up for their own event” — Chris Burns (Slashgear)

Fast forward to just a day ago when HTC made drastic cuts to the price of the device reducing the price from $200 to a paltry $50 now does this mean they are trying to quickly dump off devices because they are coming out with something new or do they have a warehouse full of devices that they can’t sell?

 

HTC-Re-Camera

 

Either way, it appears they are trying get rid of the devices fast and aren’t confident that they can sell them at 50% ($100), it’ll be interesting to see if they are done with external devices or are coming out with something that they are confident consumers will give them another chance.

Even though its poorly designed, I did pick one up for $50 because it does have a lot of interesting features for the price like Time Lapse, Live video streaming and the photo quality isnt bad either although the fisheye effect is quite annoying but according to HTC it can be removed in settings.

Sample Photos and Videos (Posted by YouTube and Flickr users)

HTC Re Camera Samples

HTC RE camera samples  

Traffic:

Low Light:

Underwater:

Read More

Is the Pebble Steel smart watch worth it?

pebble_watch

 

I know this review is a bit late since the watch was originally released in January 2014 but since this is the first smartwatch that I’ve ever owned I decided to give it a quick review.

It all began after a restless night when I decided to check out slickdeals.net and I saw a listing for an open box Pebble steel that was only $50 after coupon code on CowBoom.com, even though the watches were quickly being scooped up I was lucky enough to fight through all the lag, bugs and errors and finally get one with a silicon band.

Fast forward to about a week later I found the package which contained my watch safely tucked under my doormat.

pebble_box

The watch itself came in a small cushioned box with only a USB charger cable, I have to say that for a used/open box item it was in remarkable shape, it did not have any nicks or scratches that I could see.

At first glance the gray monochrome screen surrounded by a thick black border was kind of off putting and kind of cheapened the device in my view but the device felt well built, durable and sturdy which is rare because many manufacturers often look for the cheapest materials to build with. I’m confident that If you dropped this watch or bumped the wall it would operate without any problems.

It came fully discharged so I wasn’t able to test it right out of the box but after a quick charge I was able to start it up, set up the pebble app on my android phone and get connected fairly quickly, almost immediately I got an alert for an new email that was sent to my gmail account. The vibration is certainly noticeable but pleasant.

I was also impressed by the amount of apps and tools that are available for it like the digital compass watch face and Pandora radio app that lets you control the phone’s volume, pause the player and see which song in playing, although since the screen is so small its nearly impossible to see the full name of the song playing but even with this issue, the screen is easy to look at in direct sunlight and at night you can activate the light by just shaking it.

The built in light itself is hardly noticeable if you’re not looking directly at it so you probably don’t have to worry about it distracting others in venues like theaters.

The battery life seems to be what I expected, I fully charged it on Friday and as of 3 days later the battery life is at 30%.

Even though the watch is very durable, unfortunately there are major cons that ruin the device for me. There is an issue with horizontal lines randomly showing up across the screen and also random disconnects from my phone, this was kind of an inconvenience when I was out exercising over the weekend and I had to manually reconnect with the watch via an app on my phone.

Keep in mind when the device is disconnected you won’t be able to receive alerts or get updates (ie temperature updates) until you manually reconnect and there is no option to reconnect from the pebble itself back to the phone..

At this point it is only worth $50, it’s nowhere close to being worth the $165 they’re asking for in my opinion but if you’re looking for a simple yet very durable smart watch that isn’t always listening for commands, doesn’t have a camera built in, doesn’t log your vitals and doesn’t constantly transmit large amounts of radio waves through your wrist, this is the device for you.

You can check out other gadget reviews at livingwithloxone.com

Read More