If you want to know how to cancel Dish, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re looking to switch providers or switch to streaming, you’ll need to know how to cancel DISH Network. Fortunately, we’re here to help. We’ll teach you the easy way of how to cancel DISH so you can get out without wasting money or your saturday!

We’ll go over the details you’ll need to know to cancel DISH. The short version is pretty simple—you’re just going to have to call them and request a cancellation. You can skip to the full version of How to Cancel DISH Network below, but before that here’s the general outline:

How to cancel Dish Network

1. Prepare for the call: learn about ETFs and alternatives

2. Contact Dish’s Retention Department at 855-782-7086

3. Be Friendly, Stay Firm, and Avoid Fees

4. Return your Dish Equipment

5. Confirm that you’ve successfully cancelled Dish

1. Prepare for the process

Before you can cancel DISH, you’ll need to have a plan in place. First things first, why are you cancelling? If you just think you’re overpaying, but like the service, then you can almost certainly get a discount on the pricing. BillFixers has negotiated thousands of DISH bills and can get you the best rate for your same service. But, if price isn’t the issue and you’re sure you want to cancel, then you’ll need to do some preparation work. Before you can cancel, you’ll need to know if you have an Early Termination Fee.

What is Dish’s Early Termination Fee?

Dish Network is very fond of contracts. The most common version of this is the “2 Year Price Guarantee” where they will give you a discounted rate for two years. They agree not to raise the price and you agree not to cancel. So, if you cancel before that contract period is up, Dish will charge you an Early Termination Fee, or ETF. Dish’s Early Termination Fee is $20 per month remaining on your contract. So, if you cancel with 12 months left on your contract, Dish will charge you $240. 

How do I know if I have a DISH Early Termination Fee?

Dish billing can be confusing and doesn’t offer a great way to know for sure. However, if your bill says either “TV 2 Year Guarantee” or lists any discounts, highlighted in blue, with durations like “6 of 24” then you likely are in a 2 year contract.  Here’s an example of what those look like on a DISH bill:

The headline, "1of24," and blue lines are clues that you may be in a contract.

How to Avoid Dish’s Early Termination Fee?

Dish doesn’t have official exceptions to their early termination fee. The only official reason DISH will waive an ETF is if you can prove that they aren’t holding up the very specific pricing in their contract, but even then they can either match the actual contract pricing or just ignore you. However, there are a couple of ways out that might work. 

If you can get somebody else to take over your contract, DISH won’t charge an early termination fee. So, if you’re cancelling service because you’re moving, maybe the new resident will want to take over the contract. Or, you may have a neighbor or relative who wants to become a Dish customer. 

If you’re switching to another provider, they may offer an ETF buyout. For example, Spectrum will pay up to $500 to buyout your contract if you’re switching from DISH to Spectrum. However, you’ll still have to pay the ETF, it’s just that the new provider may reimburse you afterwards.

You may also be able to talk your way out of the early termination fee by being friendly and honest, if you can get in touch with somebody who is sympathetic and willing to help. 

When are you planning to cancel?

You’ll also have to schedule the cancellation as soon as you get in touch with somebody. So, make sure you already have your new provider lined up and pick a date you’re planning to transfer service! However, to get that done, you’ll need to contact Dish.

2. Contact Dish Retention

DISH Network doesn’t allow any way to cancel online and they have very limited retail locations, any Dish cancellation is going to happen over the phone. Fortunately, Dish has a dedicated team specifically for this: the retention department. So, if you want to know how to cancel Dish, your first step is to call Dish’s retention department at 855-782-7086.

Dish changes around support numbers, so you are not necessarily guaranteed to get the right department when you call. However, getting to retention is easy. When you call, no matter who you get, just say you want to cancel service. If you tell the automated system and any customer service reps you encounter that you want to cancel, eventually they will transfer you to the retention department.

These are the people who can actually cancel Dish service for you. So, once you get somebody on the phone, like it or not, you’ll need their help to cancel. So, that takes us to step 3 of how to cancel Dish.

3. Be Friendly, Stay Firm, and Avoid Fees

This is the part of the process where you’re actually going to have to do the cancelling. The most important piece of advice here is to stay friendly. The person you’re working with to cancel your Dish Network service can either make it easy or difficult and the nicer you are, the easier they’ll make it. So, start by telling them you want to cancel, yes, but also learn their name, ask about their day, be polite. 

The job of the person you’re speaking to at DISH is to retain you as a customer. So, they will almost certainly offer you promotional deals or a new contract in order to stay as a customer. They may also offer freebies like premium channels. You’ll want to think ahead of time why you’re cancelling. If it’s purely because of price, figure out what price point they would have to hit for you to stay. If it’s because of something else, like service issues or not wanting to watch TV anymore, remember that. The DISH rep will potentially be very persuasive! If they can’t fix the reason you want to cancel stay firm.

Finally, avoid fees. The most common fee is that early termination fee you planned ahead for earlier. So, now is when you break out your plan. Make sure you don’t get charged for it. If you couldn’t use any of the techniques above and you still don’t want to pay, then after you get off the call, your best bet is to complain publicly. Dish is just like any company; they don’t want bad press or to look bad. So, you can complain about them on a platform like Twitter and a social media manager may get in touch to help you resolve the issue. Or, you can submit a complaint to a review site like Google or the BBB or submit an official complaint to the FCC

Whatever you do, make sure that you walk through any final fees or billing from DISH. They may be able to accelerate your cancellation date so that you don’t have to pay a full extra month of billing. Just make sure you get the details so you aren’t surprised.

Okay, at this point, you’ve done the hardest part! You cancelled DISH! You officially know how to cancel Dish Network. But bear in mind—you’re not done yet.

4. Return your Dish Equipment

While you’re making that cancellation call, the DISH rep should give you instructions on returning your equipment. Most commonly, they will send you a return shipping label for you to send back the equipment. This can include set top boxes, remotes, and accessories. Generally, you aren’t required to return the actual Dish itself. But regardless, get information about your specific account from your rep. Find out everything you need to return and write it down while you’re on the phone.

If you fail to return equipment, DISH may do one of two things: they might charge you an infinite “unreturned equipment fee” or they might cancel your cancellation order. Either way, it can be pretty expensive. So make sure you return the equipment if they ask, generally to a UPS store.

To make the return, you’ll have to print out and attach the return shipping label and send everything back. Make sure to write down the tracking number and take a photo of the box. If UPS or DISH loses the return and blames you for it, you want proof! If everything goes well, then you should be done. But better safe than sorry.

5. Confirm that you’ve successfully cancelled Dish

So, you wanted to know how to cancel DISH. Well, now you’ve done it. You’ve done everything right and you’re no longer a Dish customer. Or are you? There is a chance that the rep you worked with, or the package return, or you, messed something up along the way. And if so, DISH will keep charging you. So, make sure you get the final bill from DISH showing no additional charges and a final end of service date. If you don’t get that final bill, call DISH back and make sure you’re cancelled. If you’re not, you’ve got terrible luck: time to start back again at step one. But for most people, you’ll confirm the cancellation and you’re all set! You did it! You’ve cancelled Dish. 

Thanks for reading our guide. If you’re interested in saving money on your other bills, things like internet or cell phones, try signing up for BillFixers to get the lowest rates on your monthly bills!

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Ben Kurland is one of the Co-Founders of BillFixers.