Taking ActionConsumer Reports


Relief from hidden cable TV fees

Posted at 9:49 AM, Jan 29, 2020

Look closely at your cable bill: you might be surprised to find fees you've never heard of driving up the cost. Broadcast TV fees, regional sports fees, set-top box or rental fees, and many more -- add it all up, and according to a Consumer Reports report, the average cable subscriber pays nearly $450 in customer-imposed fees every year.

So, how can you cut those pesky fees? If you guessed cutting the cable TV cord, you’re right.

A good-quality digital antenna costs around 35 dollars and can tune in local TV stations for free. Streaming services on your smart TV or streaming device might charge a monthly subscription fee, but that’s it.

And relief might be on the way from Washington. Congress passed a law last December that does three basic things. Number one, it requires cable companies to disclose at the point of sale (right when you’re going to sign up for service) what your total overall price is going to be, including all fees and taxes.

Number two, if you don’t like it, you have 24 hours to change your mind and cancel without any penalty -- you can get out of that deal.

And number three, you no longer will have to pay for equipment that the cable company gives you, like a wi-fi router, even if you don’t use that router, you no longer have to pay for it.