Consumers have been cutting the cord with cable and satellite TV service for years. A new study from Consumer Reports proves they might be right because cable companies were basically asking for it with hidden charges like “Regional Sports fees” and “HD Technology fees.”
The average cable subscriber sees $37 per month in extra fees, or a whopping 28% mark up of a typical bill, which isn’t a surprise considering that the average cable bill contains more than a dozen line-item charges, including the base package price, company-imposed fees, regulatory fees, and taxes.
“Cable companies are notorious for advertising a low price but charging much more by adding a long list of confusing fees to monthly bills,” Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumer Reports, noted in the report. “These sneaky fees are a real budget-buster that enable cable companies to jack up their rates and disguise the true cost consumers pay each month.”
According to Consumer Reports, company-imposed fees, from Broadcast TV and Regional Sports Fees to Set-Top Box Rental Fees, add what amounts to a 24% surcharge on top of the advertised price. It’s a big business for cable companies, letting them earn an estimated $28 billion a year from charging company-imposed fees, according to Consumer Reports.
When consumers see the cable bills and all their hidden fees, it may have them running to cut the cord. According to market tracking firm Convergence Research, more than one-third of U.S. households won’t be paying for cable or satellite TV by the end of this year as they flee cable. But the proliferation of streaming services may not make things much easier for customers, who are facing a future where they have to sign up for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Apple TV, Disney+, Peacock, and who knows what else just to watch a dang TV show at the end of a long day.
In short, as they say on Reddit, everyone sucks here.