skip to main content

Hidden Costs of DISH Network: Fees, Installation Costs, and More

Wondering why your DISH bill is higher? Our expert guide explains DISH Network’s hidden fees for local channels, equipment, add-ons, and more.

What are DISH Network’s hidden costs?

What does it say about American consumers that a bill from a traditional TV provider like DISH would look weird without hidden or surprise charges? We get it; the providers have costs and pass them on to us. How ‘bout a bit of transparency, though?

Yeah, that may never happen. So our TV experts compiled this guide to DISH’s hidden costs, where we identify and explain each of them. Use it to inform your TV service shopping—or your next customer-support call.

Why should you trust us: Our experts pored over DISH satellite TV pricing information to uncover hard-to-find fees you might find on your DISH bill. For more information on our methodology, check out our How We Rank page.

Want to see other options in your area?

Enter your zip code to see other TV providers in your area.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Why is my DISH bill higher?

Before we explain, we’ve tucked a table listing the most common DISH hidden fees. Check it out and meet us on the other side.

Fee Amount
Local channels $12.00/mo.
Professional installation Free–$199.00
DVR service fee $5.00–$15.00/mo.
Additional Hopper 3, Hopper with Sling, or Hopper $15.00 (first one is free)
Joey/4K Joey/Wireless Joey fee $7.00/mo.
Super Joey $10.00/mo.
Wally receiver $7.00/mo.
DISH Protect $11.99/mo.
Late payment fee $12.00
Late payment (VA, ME, and AZ only) $10.00
Returned Check/Electronic Funds Transfer $20.00
Payment extension $15.00
Early termination fee $20.00/mo. (per remaining month)
DISH Protect removal within 180 days of addition $30.00
Adult programming removal within 30 days of addition $20.00
Other TV programming removal within 30 days of addition $5.00
Enable External Hard Drive $40.00
Standard Technician Visit $95.00 (free with DISH Protect)
Custom Work Install $50.00

DISH packages cost more after two years, but you have cheaper options besides DISH

DISH has a two-year price guarantee, so your payment amount won’t change during that period. After that, DISH charges its “everyday price.” DISH no longer discloses those figures, so maybe it should be called the “surprise everyday price.”

Whatever the cost, you don’t necessarily have to pay it. You’ll be out of your two-year contract and can leave DISH if you’re so inclined.

If you want to stay, DISH has special packages for existing customers ranging from the Flex Pack ($62.99 for 50+ channels) to the America’s Everything Pack ($142.99 monthly for every channel DISH offers). You can also ask the DISH customer retention department if it can work out a new deal to keep your business.

DISH charges a “local channels” fee, but it’s cheaper than most other TV providers

Broadcast TV fees are one of the main ways TV providers pass their costs on to the consumer. You’re paying the cost of carrying local network affiliates and subchannels.

Cox, Spectrum, and Xfinity charge high broadcast TV fees ($22–$31 monthly). DISH charges a more reasonable $12.00 “local channels fee” (po-tay-to, po-tah-to). So you could pay more—but you could also pay less. DIRECTV and Verizon Fios charge no fee, and Optimum’s is only $9.99 monthly.

If you want to avoid paying these fees, buy an over-the-air (OTA) HD TV antenna. You can get a good one for only $25–$70. And that’s a one-time payment compared to paying $10–$31 monthly.

DISH doesn’t always charge an installation fee

DISH always seems to offer free installation, so you shouldn’t see this fee on your bill. If you do, it’s probably alongside an immediate credit, so DISH can show you’re saving $199.

However, you might see seemingly related fees. The Standard Technician Visit is $95—or free with DISH Protect ($11.99 monthly)—and the charge for Custom Work Install is $50. Expect these charges on your bill if you’ve called DISH out for repairs or to run additional lines.

DISH equipment fees—and equipment activation fees—can add up fast

DISH includes one Hopper Duo, Hopper with Sling (a.k.a. Hopper 2), or Hopper 3 receiver/DVR with your TV package. If you want another of these devices on a second or third TV, DISH will charge $15 monthly per additional receiver.

It’s much cheaper to use Joey receivers ($7 monthly per unit) on your other TVs. Joeys lack DVR storage, but you can still use them to set DVR timers to record to your Hopper (and even watch DVR recordings).

Those receiver fees can add up even at only 7 bucks a pop. For a four-TV house (one Hopper, three Joeys), you’ll pay $36 a month in DVR/equipment fees plus your package price and other monthly fees.

If you have more than four TVs, DISH charges a $50 leased receiver fee per each additional standard Joey. For wireless Joeys, you’ll pay a $25 leased receiver fee per device no matter how many you need—and it’s $50 per device for 4K Joeys. These one-time charges are due at sign-up or when you add the Joeys to your account.

DISH charges a late payment of $10–$12 depending on your location

Late fees. Ugh. We’ve all been there. In most states, DISH charges $12 per missed payment. But if you’re lucky enough to live in Arizona, Maine, or Virginia, you’ll pay only $10, thanks to regulations.

DISH doesn’t have a grace period on late payments—a free one, anyway. You can pay a $15 Payment Extension fee to get nine additional days to pay. Yes, that’s $3–$5 more than the late fee. The extra cost might be to save the late payment from hitting your credit report.

Also, don’t bounce a payment with DISH, otherwise you’ll pay $20 per returned check/electronic funds transfer.

DISH cancellation and early termination fees are reasonable, but they add up

Since you sign a contract with DISH, you’re stuck with them for two years—but you can buy your freedom. DISH will let you out of your contract for $20 per remaining month.

So, if you have three months left, leaving DISH early will cost you $60 total. If your contract is relatively new, the cost of freedom could rise as high as $480. Yikes.

DISH add-on channels may have two fees if you cancel early

Sometimes, surprise charges are for something you might’ve ordered and forgot about—or were mistakenly charged for—like DISH’s premium channels and on-demand channel packages. We’ve compiled a list you can use to reconcile your bill.

Premium channel/on-demand add-on Amount
MaxTM $16.00/mo.
CINEMAX® $10.00/mo.
STARZ® $10.00/mo.
STARZ ENCORE Movie Pack $6.00/mo.
Paramount + with SHOWTIME® $12.00/mo.
MGM+TM $7.00/mo.
DISH Movie Pack $10.00/mo.
Multi-Sport Pack $13.00/mo.
TheBlaze $5.00/mo.
Dog TV $4.99/mo.
English: Willow Cricket $14.99/mo.
FOX Soccer Plus $15.00/mo.
Heartland Pack $6.00/mo.
Latino Bonus Pack $10.00/mo.
Outdoor Pack $4.00/mo.
Outside TV Features $1.99/mo.
Racetrack TV $50.00/mo.
Shudder $6.99/mo.
Stars and Stripes Pack $10.00/mo.
Sundance Now $6.99/mo.
ViX Premium $6.99/mo.
Warriors and Gangsters $2.99/mo.

Ensure that you really want the additional programming because you’re stuck with it for 30 days. Otherwise, you’ll pay a cancellation fee of $5.00 per add-on (or $20 for adult entertainment—that’s the price of spice, eh?).

Remember, too, that you may have received free premium channels when you signed up for DISH. If so, you might see charges for these channels after the promotional period ends.

Pro tip: If you’d like to learn which streaming services are worth it, read our guide to the Best Streaming Services.

DISH Network hidden costs FAQ

Does DISH Network have hidden fees?

Like many traditional TV providers, DISH Network has hidden fees. These can include activation fees, broadcast TV fees, cancellation fees, equipment charges, late payments, taxes, and more. This expert guide covers all of these in detail.

What fees are added to my DISH Network bill?

Fees you might see added to your DISH bill include activation fees, broadcast TV fees, cancellation fees, equipment charges, late payments, taxes, and even programming add-ons.

Don't miss an update

Stay updated on the latest products and services anytime anywhere.