Dish Network Charges For MIA Satellite Boxes

Remember the poor sucker who racked up $1800 dollars worth of phone bills when his isolated Tivo phoned home? A reader wrote in, mentioning that the Dish Network Satellite Service also has to phone home for updates. So you just disconnect the phone line, right? Wrong.

From reader neobolts: “I’m not sure about TiVO, but disconnecting your phone line from your Dish Network satellite receiver can result in one of Dish Network’s favorite hidden fees…”

Find out how after the jump…

The way it works is that your receiver dials out on a monthly basis, and keeps trying again if it fails. If the company’s monitoring computers don’t hear from your receiver for a full month, they pile on a $5 fee for certain models. These models are the ones where you can run two TVs off one box. Tired of people splitting the cost of satellite with their neighbor, the company began this aggressive monitoring/fee system.

“Additional Outlet Programming Access Fee: A $5.00 per month additional outlet programming access fee will be charged to your account for each dual tuner receiver (models 322, 522, 625, and ViP622 DVR) activated. This fee will be waived on a monthly basis for each such receiver that DISH Network confirms has been continuously connected to your same land-based phone line. DISH Network’s confirmation process shall be the sole method utilized to determine if your additional outlet programming access fee(s) will be waived;”


Who would have thought you could be charged for not using a company’s service?

Previously: TiVo Box, Lacking Love, Jacks Up Huge Phone Bill


Edit Your Comment

  1. drsmith says:

    I saw this as well when I got my Dish receiver. If you disconnect the phone line, the receiver will eventually warn you about the extra charge. The burning question here is “Why, oh why does this technological marvel of the modern day need a communications channel that was invented around 1860!?”. Program guide data is downloaded from the satellites, so what is the phone line being used for?

    Conspiracy theorists want to know.

  2. aixwiz says:

    Probably if you’ve modded the software or hardware on your DVR.

  3. Jen says:

    I shared Dish Network with my sister when I lived with her, and they recently updated their software. She has no landline so none of the units could dial in and confirm the update so Dish Network shut down her service until she tracked down all the units and confirmed the upgrade. Two of the units aren’t even hooked up so how on earth is she supposed to confirm that they updated and why does Dish Network even care?

  4. Treved says:

    I have Dish, but no landline. They told me I’d have that charge every month as a result. It’s BS, but what can ya do…

  5. maggiemerc says:

    Ah yes, the infamous $5.00 a month charge. I just got a letter saying that I must hook up to a telephone land line or get charged $5.00 a month. They set it up a year ago and never said word one about telephone lines. They suggest a wireless telephone jack which upon investigation would mess up my computer router (those old gigaherz!) I also wonder why they need it????? They can see everything you watch as is!
    While talking with them, a delightful fellow named Edward convinced me that for $3.00 more a month, I could have all their HD channels. That was last Thursday, June 26, 2008. Since then I have seen alot of ERROR messages on these HD channels. When I called, they said wait a bit and it would probably settle down. If not, call them. I called them and after a bit of diagnostic surfing, they wanted to send a repairman out for $49.95 to fix their faulty equipment! I politely said “I don’t think so” and that I would be calling to cancel the additional service tomorrow, looking for a new provider (I have finished my year contract), and not recommending them to family and friends. I didn’t mention that I would be writing in to Consummerist. . . .

  6. MrEvil says:

    If I was sharing Satellite between multiple locations I’d create a VPN and install a VoIP system. with VoIP to POTS adapters you can have the sat dish boxes dial out and dish will think they’re all coming from the same land-line.

    Now there is a legitimate use for such technology. In fact when I get my own shop I’m probably going to VPN my office with my home along with using VPN so that I can transfer my phone service to the office and only pay for internet at home.