Dish Network and Your Credit Score – What You Should Know

For Christmas we ordered DISH Network for my wife’s parents. They live in the country and don’t have access to cable; satellite service is their only option. In the process of ordering the service, I learned that DISH Network runs a credit check that results in an inquiry on your credit file. Even more important, it turns out that the price you pay for the DISH Network service will vary substantially (we’re talking hundreds of dollars) depending on your credit.

This is another example of how your credit score can affect many areas of your financial life. So let’s take a look at why DISH Network checks the credit history of new customers, how the credit check will affect your FICO credit score, and the affect your credit will have on how much you pay for DISH Network service.

Before getting to the details, I should say that the folks at DISH Network were great. They answered all of my questions (and I had a lot of them), and they were available to install the equipment the very next day. While you can order DISH Network online, I found that talking to a live representative (DISH #: 1-888-347-2579) was the only way to get all of my questions answered.

Why DISH Network checks credit histories

DISH Network offers new customers a lot of equipment for free in exchange for signing up for a 2 year commitment. For satellite service, the equipment includes the satellite dish and the DVR. The equipment isn’t really free. Rather, the cost of the equipment is included in the monthly service fee. As a result, DISH Network wants to make sure that new subscribers will fulfill the 2-year commitment. Checking a potential customer’s credit enables DISH to assess their credit risk.

How the credit check will affect your credit score

Credit inquiries occur when a consumer’s credit history is pulled and reviewed by creditors and potential creditors. There are two types of inquires, often referred to as a hard pull or a soft pull of a credit file. Hard pulls lower your credit score, typically by a small amount, while soft pulls do not.

In the case of DISH Network, the representative told me that the inquiry would lower my FICO credit score by 2 points. I doubt that’s accurate. For starters, the impact of an inquiry on a credit score depends on a number of factors, including what your credit score is to begin with and the number of other inquiries reflected in your credit history. But with that said, I suspect the affect on my score is minimal and will be temporary. On the other hand, if I were about to buy or refinance a home, I’d hold off on the satellite service until I closed on the loan.

How your credit affects how much you pay for DISH Network

What really surprised me was the cost difference for those with poor credit. For example, while we got the DVR for free, some would have to pay an activation fee of $99 or $149 based on their credit. The DISH rep explained that he does not see any of my credit details or credit score. Instead, the computer simply puts each potential customer into a specific credit category.

And on top of the activation fee, some folks won’t qualify for special pricing. For example, DISH Network is offering its 120 channel package at a $15 a month discount ($25 instead of $40). But for those with poor credit, they won’t qualify for the discounted price.

DISH Network is not alone in using credit histories and scores to evaluate potential customers. Satellite and cable companies alike, which offer long term contracts in exchange for free equipment and reduced pricing, check credit files. Cell phone carriers do the same thing. It’s just one more reason why a good credit score is so important.

Topics: Credit

24 Responses to “Dish Network and Your Credit Score – What You Should Know”

  1. Sherry Galloway

    Dish verified my good standing with TransUnion and Experian, and STILL could not give me what I want, because Equifax has my name misspelled, and their antiquated system only goes through Equifax! They have dinged me about 10 times, trying to get through to Equifax, taking all my information each time. I’m deeply concerned about this bad business practice!

  2. i was a DISH customer for 12 years on Auto-Pay. Never missed a payment. Credit Score over 800, never a derogatory comment or missed payment in my credit history. I left DISH for 3 months for personal reasons and when I asked to be reconnected for services was told I “didn’t meet their credit qualifications.” No one would explain to me how that is possible and that their “algorithm” looks at many factors but won’t tell me why I don’t qualify. They wanted $59.99 activation plus a non-refundable $200 for equipment (that I’m leasing!) in addition to another $29.99 activation fee by the local DISH retail installer.

  3. Terry Thompson

    I just tried to switch from Direct because of ATT “RC-1” issues and I have a score of 811 on the credit company they checked, and they said I had bad credit, so no to the best pricing. So no to them.

  4. Kim Bakehorn

    I called Dish not too long ago to get their TV services. I had just checked my credit score with Credit Karma that morning & it said my Equifax score was 821. After giving Dish all my info, the lady informed me that my score wasn’t high enough to waive the $100 activation fee. In essence, she told me that Credit Karma was lying to me about my score. I declined getting Dish. Very disappointing. Some friends told me that they have to call Dish every few months & complain because they tack on services & extra costs that my friends didn’t order.

    • DISH STINKS! Rep told me when we called to get the service that the installer will not leave if all does not work and service is not working … LIARS LIARS.. I STOPPED the service after 6 days! Never worked right! Only told to turn off then on and reboot… NOW they want450.00 ealry term fee .. I get calls from the collection agency.. I reported them to the BB i denver their home office got rpactically cused out by some rep that called me wnd asking WHY! did you report us to the BBB! Blah blah blah… HORRIABLE COMPANY!!! KEEP CABLE OR GO TO DIRECT TV!!!!!!

    • Xoleras

      credit karma used vantage 3.0 which is absolutely garbage, my “credit karma” is 725 on both agencies, my FICO scores are over 830 on all 3 agencies, my wifes credit karma is 725, her FICO is 600

  5. Paul Hews

    I had a promo code for Dish and they wouldn’t confirm the value until I fully applied and gave my credit card and ss#. No wonder these jokers are so marginalized, no one wants to merge with them. Called their customer service and got someone with an extremely heavy accent that was south of the border. Decided to sign up with DirectTV and got a great deal Via Costco. Got a $300 Costco card. Very happy thus far.

  6. I applied on-line to re-connect/resume Dish service after 2 yrs with TWC and began what turned-out to be a long ordeal while ‘chatting’ on-line with one of their CSRs.
    Interestingly I was able to get a package rate quote for their 2 yr guaranteed pricing before my credit info was obtained and they ran a credit check. As it turned- out, I ” qualified” for the attractively low rates quoted earlier but did not ” qualify” for the second part of the promo :
    free activation or no one-time equipment fee – despite an 825 FICO ! Surprising to put it mildly.
    It is difficult to imagine how anyone would qualify for both “promos” if its based on credit score alone. Of note, I was a steady auto-pay Dish customer in the past, so no problems with payment or service issues for that matter with them or other creditors. It seems clear to me that what Dish gives to you in an attractive upfront package payment, they make-up for with activation and equipment fees. No surprise there. But the opaque and deceptive way it was handled was akin to buying a car!

    • 8Actual Employee

      Anytime you call a your credit and except the helps the equipment is what where running the check for..

  7. As an identity theft victim living in an area without cable, I am unable to get any television or internet service other than dish network, and they tried to take advantage of my situation with a huge “security deposit” so now I live without any internet or television. I can’t even get broadcast stations, or, for that matter, FM radio. Never be a crime victim, you’ll be punished far longer than the perpetrator.

  8. Dave p.

    They refused to answer any of my questions until they ran a credit check. I wanted to talk about packages and internet. Yes i am planning to buy another home and do not want a hard hit on my credit. Screw dish and the horse they road in on.

    • Stephanie Colestock
      Stephanie Colestock

      Based on their business model, I can see why they wouldn’t be able to give you pricing info without running your credit. But to not even answer questions? That’s a shame — seems like a good way to lose out on potential customers.

      • Actual Employee

        Now i wasn’t gonna reply too any of these but this one i have too. I couldn’t keep reading some of these absurd comments and not…Please listen and understand..the reason the rep you spoke with was unabe too give you pricing is bc they Couldnt..Your price changes based on How you qualify..Alot of retail centers Would give you pricing if you called Us..We can

      • Debbie Sullivan

        DISH could not care LESS about their customers NOR does Direct! Direct owes ME 68.00 for “moving my service” which was NEVER MOVED and yet, they won’t refund me that money. They said if I took their service again, they would. HA! Yeah, right…the SEE they owe it and won’t pay it but want me to take their service again/?? I don’t think so. NEVER will I have satellite again. DISH does a HARD check every month on me b/c I did NOT owe them some money and they say I do. Checking my credit is NOT going to make me pay a debt that I don’t owe. They are doing it just to keep my score down and that’s just wrong!

  9. Another fine example of how the individual with a lower credit score is unnecessarily monetarily punished. My credit file has not one late payment ever, anywhere. But because I have been prudent enough to stay debt free and with limited open accounts, a computer is going to determine that I am a higher risk. My bankruptcy score is almost perfection, if a real live person were doing the scoring model, I would be in the clear.

    • Debbie Sullivan

      DISH network checks my credit every single month. I filed a complaint so now it’s been 2 months since they checked it BUT Transunion still show is and says it can show up to 2 years! THEY COUNT IT AS A HARD CHECK, NOT a soft check….which hurts my credit. My situation is the same as yours. I’m trying so hard to get my credit score to be good but how can I if this DISH inquiry stays on there?! Sometimes I feel like giving up but as I get older, I realize that I MIGHT need an emergency credit or loan! They need to fix ALL of this mess.

      • Christie Neff

        I signed up for dish and they said they’d run my credit. But they never have. Doesn’t show up on credit report. YET they say I don’t qualify for the great pricing.
        I have almost 800 credit score.

        Each rep tells me a diff story

  10. ally cat

    I just applied for Directv after getting a new mortgage with scores above 600 but lower than 640 (not great, but I’m working on it). Directv wants me to pay $400 upfront and no, I don’t get any discounts. I’m not sure what scoring system they are using but I find it hard to believe I can get a mortgage but not Directv.

    • Actual Employee

      The HUGE diff between Dish and Direct That Direct tv is owned by sued way too many times and sold there company ..So when they run you..its Soley based upon credit..When you call Dish its based upon where you live vs your credit..

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