Moorhead woman warns about third party companies after years-long satellite problems

MOORHEAD, Minn. (Valley News Live): A Moorhead woman who spent years arguing with one satellite company is now warning people to look closely at the sales agreement with your TV provider. She reached out to our Whistleblower Hotline, and we discovered she was paying for services she wasn’t even getting.

"HD for life monthly bill $29.99,” said Maralee Pinkney.

Maralee Pinkney thought she was getting a great two year deal with Dish Network. She signed up in December of 2015 when a salesman came to her door at her Arizona winter home. The first few months were fine but then her bills started to increase.

"I signed a contract for $29.99 and they kept wanting to charge all kinds of off the wall other things," Pinkney said.

Her contract labeled as a ‘Sales agreement’ was one page, listing name, address, phone number along with program package and noted cost. Pinkney decided enough was enough, called Dish again, and they offered to send her the contract they had on file.

"Now as you see this doesn't look anything like this," she showed us.

Pinkney got a three page contract that was signed in five places.

"But my name was spelled wrong," Pinkney pointed out.
"Do you remember signing that document?" asked Reporter Ashley Bishop.
"I have never seen this until it came in the mail," she replied.

Months later, after arguing with a Dish employee they mailed her a copy of the sales agreement. And that's when Pinkney noticed a change from her original carbon copy to what Dish provided.

"You see they've crossed out America's Top 200 to 120 and down here they changed the monthly bill from $29.99 to $30.99 and back to $34.99," she pointed out again.

Pinkney says the signature is even different. She reached out to Dish and was told that the sales agreement was with a third party, "Sirion Enterprises".

"I only signed a contract with Sirion Enterprises that had a Dish TV logo up there, so I naturally assumed they were somehow together," Pinkney said.

In August of 2016, Dish Network disconnected their service, and also billed her for several hundred dollars.

"I was on the phone with Dish TV and they pulled the plug and I have not had Dish TV since and that was August. My contract says I should have it until December of this year," she said.

Maralee Pinkney is angry.

"They are allowed to produce forgery and pass it off as a legal document," she said.

We reached out to Dish for comments about her situation, and they provided the following statement.

"During Mrs. Pinkney’s discussion with the third-party retailer that sold DISH services to her several years ago, some confusion caused two separate sales orders to be left with her," the statement reads.

The company goes on to say "We regret any frustration this has caused Mrs. Pinkney, and we've worked with her to resolve the issue on an ongoing basis since it occurred”.

We also reached out to "Sirion Enterprises" the third party retailer Dish said caused confusion. The company did not return our call. They once were registered in Utah and Nevada but their business licenses expired.

We also checked Arizona for a license for Sirion. We could not find any records.

We learned from Maralee Pinkney late Tuesday that DISH Network refunded her any overcharges they billed her.

You need to make sure you research the company and any third parties involved before signing any documents. Read the fine print, and get copies of everything you sign.