markedupbillnyTaxesAccording to Multichannel, the FCC is looking at what can be done to simplify monthly bills from cable companies. The FCC is looking into this issue after years of complaints from customers of just about every cable company who have no chance of reading and understanding their bills.

The FCC’s Media Bureau is requesting comments and data for its next video competition report. As the FCC notes, cable companies are jacking up rates with below-the-line fees that are not included in the advertised monthly price. This has been a favorite tool by the cable companies to increase revenue without needing to publicly disclose the increased fee.

“We seek comment on the competitive strategy associated with adding video-related fees as opposed to raising monthly subscription prices. Do video-related fees cause consumers to pay prices higher than some MVPDs advertised rate for video services? How are such fees disclosed to consumers prior to becoming a customer or prior to the inclusion of a new fee on a consumer’s bill?” – FCC Report

As DSLReports has noted for some time, cable operators love tacking on a “broadcast TV surcharge” charge onto all customers bills. Nevermind that customers are already paying some of the most expensive bills in the world for TV service, the cable companies claim that these fees are necessary so that they can deal with the increased cost of programming.

It’s false and deceptive advertising. Period.

Verizon recently tacked on yet another “broadcast fee” of $1.80 to $2.00 for customers in several markets to help them deal with “rising programming costs”. CenturyLink charges most customers a $1 Internet Cost Recovery Fee and a $1-2 Non Telecom Surcharge for absolutely no reason. AT&T charges customers multiple below-the-line fees FOR THE SAME THING.

In many instances, the cable companies try to name charges as if the government is requiring them to do so when in reality the government has absolutely nothing to do with it. Simply look at your bill and you will see a “regulatory recovery” fee that is the telecom company wanting more money for some government reason…..that nobody knows about….really.