Hidden fees on cable bills could cost you extra $450 annually

Consumer Reports

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – When was the last time you looked closely at your cable bill?

If it’s been a while, chances are you paying more now than when you first signed up for the service.

If you look closely at your cable bill, you might be surprised to find fees you never heard of such as a broadcast TV fee, regional sports fee, rental fees, and more.

According to a Consumer Reports analysis, the average cable subscriber pays nearly $450 in customer-imposed fees every year.

“These fees are hidden. Consumers are confused by them. Most importantly they’re getting worse and they’re expensive,” says Consumer Reports Jonathan Schwantes.

One way to cut those fees is by cutting the cable TV cord. A good quality digital antenna costs around $35 and can tune in local TV stations, like News Channel 8, for free.

Streaming services on your smart TV or streaming device might charge a monthly subscription fee, but that’s it. And relief might be on the way from Washington.

Congress passed a law last December that does three basic things. Number one, it requires cable companies to disclose at the point of sale, meaning right when you’re going to sign up for service of what your total overall price is going to be, including all fees, taxes. Number two, if you don’t like it, you have 24 hours to change your mind and cancel, without any penalty you can get out of that deal. And number three, you no longer will have to pay for equipment that the cable company gives you, like a wi-fi router, even if you don’t use that router, you no longer have to pay for it, according to Schwantes.

The bill will take effect later this year.

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