Cable-bill transparency laws haven’t killed sneaky fees

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Again in 2019, a notoriously gridlocked Congress managed to agree on a minimum of one factor: Hidden cable TV charges had gotten uncontrolled.

They handed a legislation, referred to as the Tv Viewer Safety Act, that requires pay TV companies to reveal all of their additional charges earlier than you end signing up. The legislation additionally says that clients should be capable to cancel service inside 24 hours of signup at no cost, and that TV suppliers should notify clients when their promotional charges expire. It additionally forbids web suppliers from charging a payment for gear that you just’ve bought for your self.

The Tv Viewer Safety Act lastly went into impact final month, so I used to be curious to see how firms like Comcast and Spectrum are dealing the billing transparency element specifically. None of those firms are recognized for being up-front about pricing; would the brand new legislation change issues?

Quick reply: Probably not. Cable firms nonetheless promote costs far beneath what you’ll truly pay, and a few of them keep away from revealing their true costs till the final potential second. Even when they’re following the letter of the legislation, they’re not fairly capturing the spirit.

The ever-expanding cable invoice

To see how cable firms proceed to promote costs far beneath what they really cost, let’s check out Comcast’s Xfinity TV sign-up circulate.

Store for a bundle of web and TV, and also you’ll get a seemingly enticing provide of $80 monthly for 200Mbps web and greater than 130 channels with a two-year settlement. However as we all know, that’s not the actual worth.

Clicking on “Pricing & Different Information” reveals a hidden broadcast TV payment (now a staggering $19.45 monthly) and a regional sports activities payment ($14.45 monthly). These charges alone increase the bundle worth to $113.89 monthly, and also you wouldn’t realize it with out clicking on the nice print.

comcastfees Jared Newman / IDG

Comcast hides practically $34 monthly in charges behind nice print while you select a plan.

Different charges reveal themselves as you stroll by way of the sign-up course of. Even when you plan to make use of your personal streaming system to entry Comcast’s cable channels, you continue to should pay a TV connection payment of $7.50, or $17.50 if you need DVR service. Comcast additionally costs $50 for set up.

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