Why You Can’t Break Dish’s 2-Year Contract


Q. Dish has dropped so many channels that I think they have broken their agreement when I signed the two-year agreement. They don’t have many of the channels that they said they would have when I signed up, like the NFL Network. What is your opinion? Can I just unsubscribe now and go to DIRECTV? — Ben, Port Republic, Maryland. 

Ben, I feel your pain. Dish is now without HBO, the NFL Network, 21 Fox regional sports channels (owned by Sinclair), Altitude Sports, 60 Scripps-owned local TV stations, and 14 Apollo Global-owned local stations due to six separate fee fights.

When you made a two-year commitment to Dish, perhaps you might have hesitated if you had known that some of your favorite channels would be pulled from the satcaster’s lineup, even if temporarily.

But that doesn’t mean you can break your two-year contract. Before I explain, a little background on the two-year agreement that many pay TV providers require, including Dish and DIRECTV.

Dish, like other companies, both in and outside the TV business, use two-year agreements to keep customers from service-hopping. Without them, Dish’s subscribers might switch to DIRECTV or their local cable provider every time something bad happens, such as a channel blackout during a programmer fee fight or an increase in one’s bill.

To encourage consumers to sign the two-year deal, Dish offers such incentives as two-year price locks, meaning their prices won’t change during the entire 24-month period. In contrast, DIRECTV nearly doubles prices in the second year of the two-year agreement. (DIRECTV provides free NFL Sunday Ticket, and premium channels, as incentives to sign for two years rather than price guarantees.)

Many subscribers agree to the two-year deals because the offers seem irresistible.

But as you now understand, Ben, the two-year commitment forces you to stay with Dish if the company does something you don’t like. That is, unless you want to pay the cancellation fee, which is $20 a month for every month left in the two-year agreement.

This is why I strongly advocate that consumers refrain from signing two-year deals.

But what if Dish stops carrying channels it said it would carry when you signed that agreement, you ask? Isn’t Dish in violation of the agreement?

No. The terms of the two-year pact expressly state that all programming is subject to change:

“All packages, programming, features, and functionality and all prices and fees not included in price lock are subject to change without notice,” Dish says.

Sorry, Ben, you will have to ride it out unless you’re okay with paying the cancellation fee. There’s no loophole in the two-year agreement.

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17 comments on “Why You Can’t Break Dish’s 2-Year Contract”

  1. in my opinion directv is worse.bill is usually much higher.trying to get them on the phone when having a problem is risky at best and you had better have plenty of time.you ll be there awhile

    1. Dish is horrible the channels take forever to change and the voice goes in and out Direct TV is a lot better!

  2. I hope no one listens to dave because thats just plain wrong and dishonest to do so ,plus i’m sure your credit will take a hit and NOBODY will want to let you get satelitte or cable tv service!

  3. Dish only thinks about the money they can make don’t care about the customers this been going on to long wish some good lawyer would take them to court

  4. Yes I’m thinking about dropping dish ,its not good like it use to be, it really sucks now . Tired of reruns ,drop shows

  5. So Dish and DirectTV can have a clause to it’s customers saying they can change programming and prices at anytime, but they can’t have a clause with the channel owners about honoring previous contracts concerning channel owner buyouts? How can a new channel owner renegotiate a contract that was agreed upon last year?

  6. So tired of Dish reruns. It doesn’t seem fair that we have to pay for something we no longer get. Dish has turned off so many channels that there’s really nothing to watch. For every channel Dish turns off, their customers should get a refund. Then they would try harder to negotiate a contract. It’s just not good business for them to be able to take , and take without any consequence.

  7. I have gotten rid of both of those satellite companies. I am so tired of paying $170 a month to watch tv. I went with Orby TV. No they dint offer as many channels but the locals are free and I’m only paying $50 a month

  8. My husband and I got my daughter Dish in his name. My daughter passed away shortly after we got Dish for her. We could only break the contract if we paid $466. Such an added expense.

  9. I bailed when they increased prices. Wisconsin has a law that forces them to allow you to cancel without ETF’s

  10. It’s bad enough they drop these channels but now I can’t even use my FoxSportsGO app because it doesn’t list Dish as a TV provider to sign into. They are my TV provider but………

  11. I second Deborah’s remark, I too got orbytv, the channels are a bit limited, but the price is decent and no contract. The no contract bit means they are accountable, and less prone to bad service. If they ever get as big as the big 2, I wonder if they would fall into the same behavior as them

  12. I am tired of the Dish Promise that id actually Dish lies. Maybe the FCC and Congress needs to get involved and really see what the issues are.


  14. Dish TV is a thief 2 year agreement plans are set in stone with no way out. A woman over 70 and housebound and on a fixed income ordered dish and just couldn’t deal with the changes w/remote and different channel line up while simply trying to save money on TV cost. Needless to say Dish said screw you pay the 2 year disconnect and sent it to collection its ok if she pays them, she just won’t be able to buy food to eat I hope she can last long enough to pay Dish off. They just don’t give a damn!!!!! Im telling everyone I can about this to keep others aware of this screw all customers company.

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