FCC bans add-on cable and satellite junk fees; everything must be in one price up front

Total cost must be disclosed in a single line item on promotional materials and on bills

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Another group of junk fees is on the chopping block.

The Federal Communications Commission approved new requirements for cable and satellite companies to disclose all costs up front, as a single line item on promotional materials and on bills. 

Too often, companies lie about what a fee is for and add on fees that customers weren’t expecting. The FCC’s goal isn’t to cap fees; it’s just to make sure that companies accurately describe the fees and disclose them up front so consumers can price shop options, including streaming services, and make informed decisions. The move will help consumers and help businesses that have been candid with consumers. 

“TV providers often use deceptive junk fees to hide the real price of their services,” the FCC said. 

“The record demonstrates that charges and fees for video programming provided by cable and DBS (direct broadcast satellite) providers are often obscured in misleading promotional materials and bills, which causes significant and costly confusion for consumers.”

The FCC noted that these new rules continue the FCC’s commitment toward forcing companies to be transparent. In a separate move, the Commission has proposed eliminating early termination charges from cable and satellite TV companies. 

This is also part of a movement at the federal level and in some states to eliminate hidden junk fees:


Teresa Murray

Consumer Watchdog, U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Teresa directs the Consumer Watchdog office, which looks out for consumers’ health, safety and financial security. Previously, she worked as a journalist covering consumer issues and personal finance for two decades for Ohio’s largest daily newspaper. She received dozens of state and national journalism awards, including Best Columnist in Ohio, a National Headliner Award for coverage of the 2008-09 financial crisis, and a journalism public service award for exposing improper billing practices by Verizon that affected 15 million customers nationwide. Teresa and her husband live in Greater Cleveland and have two sons. She enjoys biking, house projects and music, and serves on her church missions team and stewardship board.

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