Are you furious about hidden fees in your monthly cable TV bill?
Has it happened to you?
After signing up for a special cable TV promotional deal you receive your first bill and almost keel over because the total is much higher than advertised.
For many New Jersey consumers, in order to be able to watch television, they will have to pay 25-to-40% more than they originally thought because of hidden fees that are slipped into the monthly bill.
One Garden State lawmaker believes adding these sneaky fees without notice basically amounts to fraud — and he’s pushing a plan to stop it.
“If you’re going to charge $79 a month for your cable charges, that’s what you should charge. People understand there’s also taxes but not these hidden fees,” said Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, D-Gloucester.
The measure he’s sponsoring would require all fees to be disclosed up front, in plain English.
“This will be for cable TV, satellite TV, streaming services that don’t necessarily do this now, but we don’t want them to start doing it in the future," he said.
He pointed out after you sign up for a cable or satellite TV deal and your first bill arrives, you typically see all kinds of fees listed for things that were never previously mentioned and you probably never knew existed.
“Five bucks for regional sports entertainment or entertainment acquisition — we want people to advertise the price that it costs to actually use the service," Moriarty said.
According to a recent study in Consumer Reports magazine, common fees that are tacked on to many cable TV bills are for what are listed as administrative, regulatory and gross surcharge fees, federal universal service charges, broadcast TV fees, regional sports, set-top box or receiver fees — and DVR service that some consumers don’t even realize they’re being charged for.
“We want complete transparency in terms of what is the actual price I have to pay to get this service to work on my TV set or my tablet or my phone," the lawmaker said, saying that the current practice amounts to fraudulent advertising.
“The price that they’re advertising is not the price that you could ever pay," he said. "If that’s not the price and you can’t get it for that, then why are you advertising that?”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com