Charter Spectrum's Bullshit 'Broadcast TV' Fee Soars To $16.45 Per Month
from the nonsensical-surcharges-may-apply dept
Like countless other American business sectors, U.S. cable and broadband providers have been using hidden fees to covertly jack up their advertised rates for much of the last decade. These fees, which utilize a rotating crop of bullshit names, help these companies falsely advertise one rate, then sock the consumer with a significantly higher rate post sale (often when locked into a long-term contract). They also let them falsely try and claim that prices haven’t increased, when they pretty clearly have.
Back in 2014, Comcast introduced a new $1.50 per month surcharge on cable bills it called its “Broadcast TV Fee.” Said fee was really just a portion of the cost of doing business for Comcast (programming costs), busted out of the full bill and hidden below the line — again to help the company falsely advertise a lower price. Fast forward to 2020 and the fee is now $15 per month, per user, and growing — despite a number of lawsuits (correctly) alleging that the fees are misleading and predatory.
And it’s not just Comcast. Charter (Spectrum) has also heavily embraced such a fee, its own “broadcast TV surcharge” getting jacked from $13.50 to $16.45 a month starting in August:
Charter has raised the fee repeatedly?it stood at $9.95 in early 2019 before a series of price increases. At $16.45 a month, the fee will cost customers an additional $197.40 per year. Charter sells TV, broadband, and phone service under its Spectrum brand name and is the second largest cable company in the US after Comcast.
One other “handy” benefit to the fee (for Charter and Comcast) anyway, is that it lets the companies tap dance out of consumer “price lock” guarantees or promotional rates, by letting them pretend that arbitrary fee increases are not actual price hikes. Charter also imposes a slightly smaller Broadcast TV fee on its streaming TV plans, with that fee getting jacked from $6 to $8.95 a month. That’s, of course, in addition to all the other arbitrary fees and surcharges tacked onto your monthly bill, including broadband usage caps and overage penalties.
It’s the sort of running scam that would be prohibited by functioning, objective consumer protection regulators or lawmakers, were we to actually have such a thing.