IMO Customer servier is very good. I have been with a few hosts before, and I've had expirence like yours. Dreamhost has allways provided me with good intelligent responses. And they have allways fixed my issues the first time around.
Dreamhost is currently expirencing a few "growing pains" becuase of the popularity of the plans and this sale. Just recently (month maybe month and a half), support responses have been a little slow. They guarantee a 24 hour response, but the last ticket I submited get a first reply at 25 hours, was passed on to a specialist, and then fixed with in one business day.
According to the monthly newsletter they have allready hired server new support staff and are in the process of training them.
I signed up with a 2 year contract, and to me there are no catches. You have to pay up front (obviously) but you still get the 91 day money back guarantee if you're not totally satisfied. It's been great.
I have had great up time with my sites. They keep a emergency status page that you can visit should things really go wrong. I've only used it once, and it told me they were rebooting machines from kernal updates, and my site was back up in 3 or 4 min.
They've had some problems with MYSQL servers recnetly, being slow, but I never encounted the problem personally.
Overall I think Dreamhost is one of the best Hosts any where today. Hope this helps.