Hi everybody! I signed up with HughesNet back in March of this year. We switched because we were dissatisfied with our previous Internet provider and our options are severely limited, due to living in a rural area. I did some shopping and comparing against other companies, and ultimately decided HughesNet was best for me. So I called them up, spoke with a very happy sales representative who had probably just made the easiest sale of his day. Our tech came out, he was very professional, he did the work, he answered our questions, the whole nine yards. We had been pursuaded to move our home phone service over from our previous provider as well, and were assured we wouldn't have to do anything. "You'll never even notice the difference when the switch is made." For those of you who have read reviews on companies that start positive and quickly turn into a long, negative rant, you know this is about the point where things start to change. Bingo! You are correct! Over the next several paragraphs, I will be detailing my experience with dealing with tech support. So strap in, grab some popcorn, and enjoy my story. Here we go!
Now, I want to take a minute to make a full disclosure that I am a patient man. It takes a lot to get me riled up and get angry with practically anyone. I also want to note that, compared to our previous Internet provider, HughesNet is clearly the better choice when it comes to having faster speeds and overall better reliability. My average speed on my old provider was less than 1 mbps. With HughesNet, I pull quite a bit more. The change is extremely noticable. There is the deal with increased latency and ping times. I'm now in the hundreds of milliseconds, sometimes experiencing as high as 739ms of latency. But then again, I am beaming a signal over 22,000 miles into space, so I can forgive that. I knew of that downside going into it all. Not a major concern of mine. No, overall, the Internet portion is great! My problem came with the phone service.
As I mentioned in the first paragraph, our installer told us that our phone service wouldn't be any different, and that we wouldn't even notice the switch. He said that it will be a seamless transition once the number was fully ported over, and everything would be smooth sailing. That was a bold-faced lie. For the first little while, we actually didn't notice the difference. However, that's because it really wasn't any different. I hadn't realized that we were still connected through our old provider until the number port fully took effect. Yeah, I know, duh moment on me. Of course we were still connected to our old company! The number hadn't been fully moved over to Hughes yet! Well, eventually it did. That was when we first noticed our problem.
We noticed a change. A big change. Once our number was fully ported over and we were fully with HughesNet, we soon realized that we were unable to make or receive calls on our landline. If someone tried to call in, they would get an error message saying that either the other number (us) was not receiving calls at this time, or that we were on the phone. Now, we rarely use the landline, so that simply was not true. We only really kept it because we believe in having one in case of the worst possible emergency. So naturally, this presented a problem. We were now paying for a service we literally could not use. I know, this topic is supposed to be about my experience with HughesNet tech support, and I promise I'm getting there. I just like to spend four paragraphs worth of build up before I get to my main point. Anyway, personal events and my own thoughtlessness kept me from being able to call in about this issue for a while, but when I did, I had no idea of what nightmare awaited me in the coming weeks.
I don't recall what day exactly I called in the first time, but I believe it to be about six weeks ago. I track back the time in my memory, and that seems to just about fit. Anyway, I called in, went through the obligatory process of dealing with the automated directory, and was finally connected to an agent. What immediately stuck out to me was that I realized this person didn't have an American accent, so I immediately knew I was dealing with someone overseas. Not really a big deal, companies do that all the time. The accent wasn't Indian, and I didn't recognize it at first. I would eventually find out that these people were located in the Philippines. Okay, cool. Whatever. This rep gives me the usual speech about "understanding" that I'm having an issue with my home phone service, and they're really sorry, all this fake sympathy stuff, and blah, blah, blah. I used to work in customer service, so I know the song and dance these people do. Feign feeling sorry for the issue, do a few verification questions for safety, and try to get them off the phone as quickly as possible, because you have some quota to fill and companies like to keep their times low. I get it. So this rep and I do all the troubleshooting steps, and we don't get anywhere. Well, that happens sometimes. Maybe I just wasn't doing something right. This was only the first call, so I'm still okay.
I called Hughes back up a second time, and this time was routed back to the Philippines. Same center, different agent. This time, I get a young woman with an even worse accent than before. Only this time, my intelligence was being insulted. As is apparently custom with agents overseas, they seem to find the need to ask you the same two questions literally a dozen times. I am not even slightly exaggerating when I say it was a dozen times. The first question: How many landline phones are in your home? The answer: Just one. We only own one. The second question: Are there any other phones you can try? The answer: I just said I only have one phone. That would make the answer no. Long story short, didn't get anywhere with that rep either.
So the saga continues with my next several calls in. Now I'm getting multiple reps during the same calls, and most of them are trying to have me do the same troubleshooting steps I've already done in the previous calls. I was once escalated to the advanced tech support guy, and his advice was to more or less watch the video online. Well, I wasn't home at the time, so I did it two days later. I unhooked all of my equipment and plugged it all in again in the exact order it shows in the video. I got absolutely nowhere. So, naturally, I call in once again. We are now up to seven calls at this point. All for this one issue. This rep was marginally more helpful. He determined that the ATA box (Analog Telephone Router) was bad, and they would have to send me a new one. At that point, two questions arose. One, how was this not spotted earlier by their system? Two, why did it have to be this hard?
Fast forward to two days later, it is now Thursday of last week. So that would have been August 3rd, if I am not mistaken. The new ATA box comes in. I get it out of the box, and like I was instructed, I contact Hughes yet again to get this one all registered. I spent the next 49 minutes and 12 seconds on the phone with these people getting it all set up. Well, after it was all said and done, the phone did work. Hallelujah! We finally got somewhere. Or so I thought. As it turns out, having the landline plugged in meant I had to disconnect the Internet's router to use that port for the WAN cable. In the end, I finally figured out that I could only have two of our three things plugged in at the same time. So, I would either have my local Internet and Wi-Fi, but no phone. Or I could have my Wi-Fi and phone, but no Internet at the computer. Or I could have Internet at the computer and my phone, but no Wi-Fi. Clearly, this did not fly. We were back to square one.
I took the rest of the day off from contacting Hughes because I was already tired of dealing with them. I called them back up, got no help. Another party called in on my behalf, and this person is known for being ruthlessly tenacious when trying to get the problem solved. I would like to briefly go over the conversation I heard on speakerphone. My other party and this female rep, once again in the Philippines, went back and forth for several minutes. In this time frame, the rep outright refused to answer some basic questions about why a tech could not have been sent out a long time ago, which I had requested. She also lied multiple times about how they didn't have the Corporate number, and that if they needed to get in contact with them, they simply e-mailed them. As a former customer service rep, I know that's a lie. Every single company I have worked for has been able to contact Corporate via phone. Every single one. They all have numbers to their main office. The icing on the cake was when the rep told my other party that she would "never find the number anywhere." It took literally all of maybe three seconds to be found in a simple Google search.
After struggling with that rep, I called the number found on Google. Lo and behold, it was the Executive Customer Care line! Furthermore, it was clearly based in the United States. I believe my cell phone showed it out of somewhere in Maryland. Immediately, I noticed a huge difference. The rep I got had a clearly American accent, he was much friendlier, much more courteous, and readily agreed to send a tech out to my home. He profusely apologized for the troubles I had been experiencing, and that entire call took less than 25 minutes. I added up all of my call logs to the regular number up to that point, I had spent over 11 hours on the phone with the Philippines. Eleven hours for a solution that took me 24 minutes and some odd seconds to get in the States. Gee, sounds to me like several people weren't doing their jobs. Well, the install tech from the company that is hired by Hughes to come out and do service calls, WTTS I believe they were called, comes out. He's very polite, very courteous, and he was stunned by my experiences as I told him the abbreviated version of the story. He quickly realized how and why I had gotten so frustrated up to this point. He was in my home for about two hours, and he was on the phone with every person and department he could think to contact. He was genuinely trying to fix this issue. Ultimately, it turned out nothing could be done, and he left with sincere apologies.
That was the last straw. I was done dealing with this problem, so I called up Hughes one more time. This time, it was to cancel my phone service with them. The silver lining came in that I was not only able to do that quickly and effectively, I was also able to get nearly a full refund for our service, as it had not been installed right to begin with, and it had never worked. I was also able to get the Early Termination Fee waived as part of our deal. It's sad that the easiest part of this whole thing was the final step, and I got the most resolution by terminating with them. Well, whatever. It's their loss. It's time I wrap this up with a summary.
In conclusion, if you've stuck around to the end of this long essay, I would not recommend Hughes to anybody. Since all of you reading this, if anyone does, are customers already, please pass this message along to your friends. Anyone who is maybe thinking about switching over, let this be their warning against it. Hughes is decent enough for Internet if they have no other options, but do not, I repeat do not rely on their tech support to be anything but a hassle. I feel as if it is akin to being beaten over the head with a baseball bat full of nails and wrapped in barbed wire. If you made it here to the end of my long rant, thank you. If not, well then this sentence seems pretty silly, doesn't it?
Oh, and admins, don't bother removing this from this section. I have the entire thing saved in a Word document.