An end to hidden cable TV fees just moved one step closer to becoming law. As Cord Cutters News reports, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019, which requires traditional TV providers to disclose the full cost of service when customers sign up. The bill also requires a 24-hour window in which customers can cancel service without penalty, along with a clear disclosure of the date that promotional rates end.
Consumer Reports recently estimated that the average pay TV customer pays $450 per year in fees alone, including broadcast TV fees, regional sports fees, and equipment rental charges. These extra costs can increase the average cable bill by 24%, yet providers don’t have to mention the fees in their advertising. The situation is quickly getting out of hand as cable and satellite providers lean on these fees as a way to quietly increase prices, even for customers who are under contract.
In addition to tackling cable TV fees, the bill bars internet providers from charging for equipment that they don’t actually lease to customers. This could be a response to some providers charging a rental fee even when customers supply their own routers. Of course, the Senate would still have to pass the bill, and President Trump would still have to sign it into law. Neither are guaranteed given the cable industry’s outsized influence in Washington.