Hughesnet - worse than dial-up!
Last Revised: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 06:01 AM -
1) HughesNet does not provide anywhere near their advertised download
2) HughesNet's "network operations center" inexplicably
throttles Internet browsing to less than dial-up speeds, especially with
HTTPS sites, and makes many sites inaccessible without explanation or
3) HughesNet outsources their “customer service” to India,
where an army of illiterates simply waste customer time, and fail to resolve any
4) HughesNet has obviously oversubscribed their equipment capacity,
and is unable to provide the advertised bandwidth to their customers.
5) HughesNet does not honor the various discounts and credits they
6) HughesNet fraudulently bills unauthorized charges to
customer's credit cards, charging for services they offered for free, or
for services they never provided.
7) HughesNet does not honor their equipment guarantees, e.g. charging $125
for a technician to verify that a hardware problem exists, and then charging
full price for the replacement of equipment that is still under purported
8) If you try to cancel your account (after the required two-year
period), HughesNet will ignore your request, try to talk you out of it,
continue billing you, apply unauthorized charges to your credit card, harrass
you endlessly, and turn your account over to a collection agency if you manage
to reverse those charges.
9) HughesNet charges exorbitant amounts for equipment that can only be
purchased through HughesNet. They charge $600 for a satellite and modem that
should cost (at most) $30, and which is built to last about 6 months. Even
though you are required to purchase it, effective ownership remains with
HughesNet, since no one else can use it without paying HughesNet an installation
fee exceeding the purchase price.
10) HughesNet charges a fortune for a simple installation, and another
fortune for a "non-standard installation" (which you won't know you have
until after the fact).
Our unhappy experience with HughesNet
We signed up for HughesNet satellite Internet service in November of 2006.
Although the service was an improvement over “dial-up”, HughesNet never provided
anything approaching the advertised speeds, and their “customer service” was
outsourced to India, where an army of illiterates simply wasted customer time,
and failed to resolve any reported problems.
The service continued to deteriorate as HughesNet obviously
oversubscribed their equipment capacity, until it became virtually unusable in
January of 2009. A complaint to HughesNet’s Corporate Offices resulted in
HughesNet agreeing to a “free” equipment upgrade that (they said) would provide
HughesNet then proceeded to fraudulently charge my credit card an
unauthorized $199.99 for the “free” equipment upgrade. I advised my credit card
company that this was an unauthorized charge, and the transaction was eventually
Following the equipment upgrade, initially there was a measurable
improvement in “download” speed, but absolutely no improvement in browsing
speeds (which are apparently throttled by HughesNet’s “network operations
The service continued to deteriorate until it became totally unusable in
June 2010. HughesNet’s “customer service” erroneously blamed my equipment
(rather than the HughesNet “network operations center”, where the problem
obviously lies), and said I would have to pay $125 for a “technician” to come
out and diagnose the problem. He also said the equipment was “out of warranty”
(even though HughesNet purportedly provides a two-year equipment warranty) and
that I might have to pay an additional $600 for new equipment! The diagnosis was
an obvious lie, as the equipment’s built-in diagnostics indicated it was
functioning properly, and the systems were not those of local hardware
An attempt to contact HughesNet corporate offices again, to give them an
attempt to resolve this latest problem, was unsuccessful. My repeated faxes were
Therefore, we cancelled our (unusable) service, notifying HughesNet’s
corporate and billing offices by Fax, on July 1, 2010. We also requested a
refund of the fees we had already paid for the past month’s unusable “service”,
and advised HughesNet that no further charges against my credit card by
Hughesnet would be accepted.
Despite this, HughesNet proceeded to fraudulently bill my credit card for
another month’s service. I advised my credit card company that this was an
unauthorized charge, and the transaction was eventually reversed.
HughesNet then proceeded to harass me with automated telephone calls,
telephone calls by illiterates in Calcutta, emails, and letters informing me
that by canceling my account I would no longer receive Internet service (!), and
dunning me for various sums, including demands for payment of zero
As a result, I wrote a letter to HughesNet’s corporate offices, informing
them that their billing department was apparently as flawed as their “network
operations center” and “customer service”, and requesting that they correct
their records, and stop trying to convince me to re-open my account, or dun me
for money I don’t owe. I also informed them that further sales or collection
attempts would be construed as harassment, and complaint filed with the
appropriate authorities. That letter went unanswered.
On September 20, 2010, I received a collection notice from a collection
agency that HughesNet apparently hired to continue their extortionate
incompetence. I told them to take a hike. But why should I have to waste my
time and postage replying to such nonsense. Can’t HughesNet let go of a
In addition to HughesNet’s complete failure to provide the services they
advertise, failure to provide English-speaking and knowledgeable customer and
technical service personnel, apparent inability to close an account, bill
accurately, or provide promised discounts and credits:
When we tried to dispose of the equipment (for which HughesNet charged us
$600.00 plus $200 installation), we discovered that, even though HughesNet
charges their customers an exorbitant price for the satellite and modem (which
can only be purchased through HughesNet), the customer cannot sell the equipment
to another party, because HughesNet’s “computer system” does not allow another
customer to use the equipment! Thus, despite being represented as a sale of
equipment, which allows HughesNet to disclaim any responsibility for maintenance
(or to charge an exorbitant fee for a “maintenance agreement”), the effective
ownership remains with HughesNet --- which constitutes a further deception and
Another scam is HughesNet’s installation.
Purportedly due to FCC regulations, only an “authorized HughesNet installer” can
do the installation. They charge $200 for a “standard installation”, which
consists of installing the satellite dish on a rooftop with a tripod and guy
wires. Yet they charge an additional $200 (or whatever the traffic will bear)
for installing the equipment on a “yard pole”, even though the time and
materials to do such an installation are far less than the rooftop installation
[the customer needs to provide the pole and do the trenching], and the installer
is the sole arbiter of whether a “non-standard” installation is necessary.
If you live in a rural area, satellite may be your only option other than
dial-up. However, HughesNet is an expensive non-solution. I've heard similar
horror stories about Wild Blue (now Viasat), and (although I have no personal experience)
can't recommend them either. Also note that Dish and DirecTV use Hughesnet and Viasat depending on your location.
If you decide to ignore my advice, and go ahead with HughesNet/Dish/DirecTV/Viasat regardless,
perhaps because their advertising is so convincing, don't say I didn't warn