The US bad consumers organization says in the just-released CR Cable Bill Report 2019, 69% of Americans who had used telecom services in the previous two years said they experienced unexpected fees, according to a nationally representative Consumer Reports survey of 2,057 US adults conducted in 2018.
And those fees can add up. When CR asked consumers to share their cable TV bills last year as part of the What the Fee?! programme, hundreds of members sent in their bills. CR’s analysis showed that company-imposed fees cost added more than $37 per month—or 24 percent—to the base cost of their TV package.
The total amounts to nearly $450 per year in unexpected fees just on TV service alone.
“With the proliferation of add-on fees, it’s nearly impossible for consumers to find out the full cost of a cable package before they get locked into a contract—and cable companies count on this,” says Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel at Consumer Reports.
“These confusing, often misleadingly named charges continue to drive up consumer bills, even if you lock in a promotional rate.”
When it came to cable companies, Consumer Reports received the largest number of complaints about Comcast’s Xfinity service, but members cited a number of providers. Comcast and other companies CR contacted all said that the fees help them pay for their own increasing costs for providing content. “But that doesn’t explain why they don’t present the full price for service in the promotional materials consumers rely on for choosing a provider and a plan.”
The full CR report can be downloaded here.