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How to cancel or change your Dish or Sling TV subscription

Having trouble changing or cancelling your Dish Network or Sling TV subscription after February's cyberattack? Follow these tips...

Having trouble changing or cancelling your Dish Network or Sling TV subscription after February's cyberattack? Follow these tips...

A Dish Network satellite dish.
A Dish Network satellite dish. (Photo by Cody Logan via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

Dish Network is still reeling from a massive cybersecurity incident that brought down key parts of its internal and external computer systems, including its customer support website.

In late February, the satellite broadcaster said a cyberattack affected its customer call centers, internet websites and internal communications platform for its Dish satellite service, Sling TV streaming television product and prepaid wireless brand Boost Mobile.

In a note sent to customers, officials at Dish said some customer data may have been stolen by the attackers, but the company wasn’t still investigating the matter and couldn’t definitively say whether any sensitive or non-personal information was compromised.

Dish is continuing to work with outside security experts and business advisors to address the cybersecurity incident, which has still not been completely resolved.

“Our teams are making progress on the customer service front every day,” a spokesperson for Dish said in a statement.

Still, Dish and Sling TV subscribers say they’re having issues making bill payments, changing programming packages and canceling their service. Dish said customers won’t have their service suspended or canceled if they miss payments that were due on or after February 23, the date that the cybersecurity incident was first reported, and will work with customers who aren’t able to pay their bills to ensure their service is not disrupted.


How to make a Dish Network satellite service payment

Dish customers who want to pay their bills can do so through a special web portal launched by the company following the cybersecurity incident.

All Dish satellite customers were sent a paper billing statement in March, even if they are enrolled in paper-less billing with automatic payments. Dish wanted to make sure customers had access to critical account information needed to pay their bills through the special web portal launched in late February.

To pay your Dish satellite bill, follow these steps:

  1. Click or tap here to visit the Dish bill payment portal.
  2. Have your paper bill statement handy — you’re going to need it.
  3. Locate your 16-digit Dish account number. Enter that number in the first box on the bill payment portal.
  4. Enter the billing ZIP code associated with your service in the second field. Your billing ZIP code is found on the paper statement, and may be different from your service ZIP code.
  5. Note the precise amount due for your Dish subscription. Enter that amount in the third field.
  6. Click or tap the “submit” button, then enter your payment information and press “submit” again.

Dish Network says it will not send confirmation emails about bills paid through its online system; instead, the company will provide customers an authorization code, which should be written down and stored in a safe place.

Customers who typically pay their Dish satellite bills by mailing a check can still do so; subscribers who want to pay their bills by mail should follow the payment instructions located on the paper bill sent in March.


How to change your Dish satellite service channels or package

At the start of the cybersecurity incident, Dish customers were unable to add channels, remove channels or make other changes to their Dish subscription. Thankfully, Dish has managed to partially restore its internal systems and customer service lines, so customers are now able to make some changes to their subscriptions, including adding or removing channels.

Dish says the best way to contact customer service for subscription-related changes is to use the Dish Answers portal on social media.

Customers who need help with programming or other subscription changes should have the following information handy:

  1. Your customer account number, which is available on the paper bill mailed to all subscribers in March,
  2. Your billing ZIP code, which is on the paper statement mailed in March (this may be different from your service ZIP code), and
  3. The name, address and phone number of the primary account holder, which is usually the same as the person whose name is listed on the billing statement.

Dish maintains customer support profiles on Twitter and Facebook, with agents available through both social media platforms every day from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time. To contact Dish customer support by Twitter, click or tap here; for Facebook, click or tap here.

Dish subscribers who do not have social media should call Dish’s customer support phone number at 1-800-333-3474. During the day, call volumes may be extremely high, and some customers may have to wait an hour or longer to speak with a service representative.

Due to the outage, Dish won’t send confirmation emails about programming changes; instead, customers will be provided a confirmation number, which should be written down and saved in a safe place for future reference.


How to cancel your Dish satellite service

While the cybersecurity incident is being address, Dish says customers won’t have their service interrupted due to the inability to make a payment or for other reasons. Still, some customers say they continue to be billed for service that they’re not able to receive due to the system outage, and they’ve experienced difficulties getting Dish to cancel their subscription following the cyberattack.

Unfortunately, the only way to cancel Dish satellite service is by calling their customer support number between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time. The specific customer support number for Dish satellite service cancellations is 1-888-621-2078.

Before calling Dish, make sure you have a recent billing statement (Dish mailed all customers a paper bill in March) with your account number and billing address, as well as a blank piece of paper for notes.

A few things to keep in mind when calling Dish to cancel your satellite service:

  1. You won’t be able to cancel if you’re still under contract. Most new Dish subscriptions come with a commitment of one or two years, and if you are still within this contract period, you may not be able to cancel your subscription without incurring a cancellation fee.
  2. Be patient. Dish’s customer support lines have been flooded with phone calls since the start of the cyberattack, and wait times to speak with an agent have been known to exceed an hour.
  3. When you connect with a support representative, ask for their name. Make sure you write down the name of the customer support agent.
  4. Let the agent know you’re calling to cancel your Dish satellite service. Provide the agent with a good phone number, so they can call you back in case you get disconnected.
  5. Provide the agent with your account number, name and billing address. The agent will need this to look up your account. This could take a few minutes to complete on the agent’s end.
  6. Be firm, but polite. The agent will likely offer you a retention deal to keep you as a customer. Politely decline the offer, and ask them to proceed with cancelling your service.
  7. Ask the agent if you need to return your equipment. Write down any addresses provided to you. In some cases, you’ll need to return receivers and other equipment to an in-person customer service center; otherwise, you’ll be asked to mail back your equipment to Dish.
  8. Ask the agent for a confirmation number, and write the number down. This is proof that you contacted an agent to cancel your service. Keep this confirmation number in a safe place.
  9. Write down the date and time of your call.
  10. Be prepared to pay your final bill in full, and return any equipment leased from Dish. This will help prevent any unexpected late fees or other charges.

In rare cases, Dish may not be able to help process your cancellation. If you pay for your subscription automatically, you can prevent Dish from charging you by asking your bank to mail you a new debit card with a new number and expiration date. Most banks do not charge for this service.

Dish customers who cancel their satellite subscription may want to consider switching to Sling TV, Dish’s streaming television service, which offers many of the same broadcast and cable channels found on satellite but at lower prices. Right now, Sling TV’s base programming package is discounted by 50 percent for new customers who sign up using this link.


How to change or cancel your Sling TV service

While Sling TV’s customer support portal was initially impacted by the Dish cybersecurity outage, the service’s website has been mostly restored to its prior condition. This means Sling TV subscribers can once again make changes to their account or cancel their pay TV subscription through the My Account page on Sling TV’s website, which can be accessed by clicking or tapping here.

You may encounter an error if you use ad-blocking plugins or virtual private network (VPN) services while attempting to cancel your Sling TV subscription. To ensure the cancellation goes smoothly, disable any ad-blocking plugins and turn off your VPN until after the cancellation goes through.

If you’re still having trouble cancelling your Sling TV subscription, you can cancel through the Sling TV chatbot by clicking the “Chat” bubble in the lower-right corner of this Sling TV webpage.

Cancellation doesn’t always automatically stop your service: In most cases, Sling TV will allow you to continue watching live TV, recorded shows and on-demand programs until the end of your billing period, which could be a few days or a few weeks from the date of your cancellation. Sling TV does not offer prorated refunds for cancelled service.

Once your Sling TV subscription is cancelled, you can still enjoy a few dozen live-streaming channels through Sling Freestream, which can be accessed through the same Sling TV app for phones, tablets and smart TVs without any payment information or subscription.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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