Today the United States Senate Commerce Committee will vote on banning hidden fees on cable TV, internet, and phone providers as part of the renewal of the Satellite Television Access Reauthorization (STAR) Act.
Update: According to reports the vote on the STAR bill is being delayed. The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will vote on Thursday, November 14, 2019, at 11:30 a.m
“Consumers are tired of being hit with a laundry list of unexpected fees for cable, internet, and phone service that jack up the cost of their bills each month,” said Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumer Reports. “Pricing should be fair and transparent so consumers know exactly how much they’ll pay and can find a package they can afford. Congress should side with consumers and end the bait and switch over telecom pricing.”
As part of renewing STAR, Senator Ed Markey is expected to offer an amendment that would ban hidden fees in cable TV, internet, and phone bills. This amendment is modeled after the TRUE Fees Act, a bill that he introduced to protect consumers from hidden fees found in cable TV bills.
The TRUE Fees Act was introduced back in February by U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo from California, and Senator Ed Markey, called the “Truth-in-Billing, Remedies, and User Empowerment over Fees Act of 2019’’ or ‘‘TRUE Fees Act of 2019.” If this proposed legislation passes, companies would have to alert a consumer of any increase no later than 21 days before it goes into effect, giving the consumer ample time to cancel the service and/or switch to another cable provider if they choose to. The hope is to put an end to the sudden and often unexpected price hikes that come when promotional offers end.
Bills like this have been tried in the past and so far have not been successful. As of today, this new TRUE Fees Act of 2019 is still in its early stages. We will have to keep an eye out to see if there is any support for this bill in Congress.
For now, we will have to wait and see how this vote plays out.
Cord Cutters News will post updates as we learn more.
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