What do airlines, hotel resorts and cable companies have in common? Lots of hidden fees. What the companies advertise to consumers and what customers actually end up paying can be very different.
A new Consumer Reports analysis found that cable companies add approximately $37 per month in unadvertised fees on a consumer’s bill. That adds about 24% to the average price of a consumer’s bill.
The report looked at 787 cable bills from 13 companies including Comcast, Cox, Altice USA, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-Verse, Frontier and more. They discovered that, while the average bill was $156.71 per month, consumers paid an astonishing $217.42. Consumer Reports breaks it down:
Premium services – $9.15
Company-imposed fees: $37.11
Government fees and taxes: $13.28
Miscellaneous fees: $1.17
Using just company-imposed fees in the equation, Consumer Reports estimates that nearly $28 billion per year in fees is generated by the cable industry.
The report also found that an average bill contains more than 13 separate line-item charges which includes the fees noted above, plus line-items for the base package price. Many of the fees are misleadingly named, causing confusion and raising concerns that cable companies are not being transparent about their pricing.
Consumer Reports supports the TRUE Fees Act (Truth-In-Billing, Remedies, and User Empowerment over Fees) introduced by US Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) that would require telecom companies to include all charges in their advertised prices.
There is something consumers can do right now. Send your bills to Billshark and we will negotiate your monthly rate so that you never overpay again. It takes just a few minutes and there’s absolutely no risk. If we can’t lower your rate, you don’t pay.