New Bill Seeks to Protect Consumers from Service Providers' Hidden Fees
When the government has to pass a law to protect consumers from television companies, you know there’s a problem. The Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019 (H.R. 5035), which passed both the House and the Senate, aims to require providers of internet, voice, mobile, data and other services to “engage in transparent sales and e-billing” and “refrain from charging a consumer for using equipment not provided by the service provider.”
Why do we need a law like this? Because, according to studies conducted by Consumer Reports, add-on cable T.V. fees can add almost $450 in unexpected charges to annual bills. In other words, service providers are not being transparent about their billing practices and often include hidden fees in consumers’ bills. The bill will require companies to disclose the total monthly price of their customer’s T.V. bill when they sign up for service so that there are no surprises when a customer receives the bill.
Another provision of the bill focuses on “formal notice” and the “right to cancel.” Providers will be required to send consumers — within 24 hours — information that includes the price of their service. Furthermore, a provider that enters into a contract with the consumer would have to allow the consumer to 24 hours to cancel a contract without incurring any penalties, cancellation fees, or disconnection fees.
This new law, slated to take effect this year, will relieve some of the burden imposed by service providers on consumers. Consumers are fed up, and they’re making their voices heard.
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