Living in Arco, Idaho, is full of good and bad experiences. Quiet solitude on the Snake River plain means peace and seclusion, miles from the Idaho Falls metropolitan area. It also means services are long distant.
Television reception is difficult at its best, resident Barbara McKee said. And that is why she has been a DISH Network customer for the past 12 years. Satellite reception is rarely disrupted and usually clear.
"We have a receptor on the roof," she says. "We've never had a complaint, and we get great reception."
So, McKee was more than a little puzzled when she received a phone call late afternoon this week telling her that her receiver must be changed to accommodate HD.
"When he was talking, it all sounded quite legitimate," she says. "But when he said I'd have to sign a new contract and pay $95, and I needed to give him my credit card, that just didn't sound right."
She asked to speak to a manager, and when a man identified himself, she promptly told him she was not going to give out her credit card, and hung up.
She said that's one of the good things about living in a small town of a thousand people, "gut feelings" come strong because there are not many people to call on for help.
Still feeling unsettled by the call, she contacted the DISH Network customer service number on her bill.
The DISH representative told her DISH does not call customers about service changes or upgrades.
Relieved she had done the right thing, she slept soundly.
It was a rude awakening when the next morning, she received a call from DISH Network explaining how they'd talked and how important it was for her to schedule the change immediately. And, again, asked for a credit card.
"I was upset now, because I knew it was a scam," she said. "So, I asked for a number I could call back on, hung up the phone and called the sheriff."
The sheriff's office report states the phone numbers were not associated with DISH Network.
Several attempts by BBB to talk with DISH officials - by email, chat and phone - ended in referral, transfer and disconnect.
"What we determined is a caller is claiming to be a DISH representative, and bumping the customer's service into a new contract," BBB Chief Storyteller Robb Hicken says.
BBB encourages consumers to investigate any options, add-ons or change of services being proposed over the telephone or Internet. Email offers should be questioned as well. If a company is making an offer, it will be well known to its customer service clerks.
Don't sign documents for service under duress, and make certain the company is valid by checking at bbb.org.