The House of Representatives Passed a Spending Bill to Ban Hidden Cable TV Fees Today





woman holding bill looking confused

woman holding bill looking confusedToday the United States House of Representatives voted to ban hidden fees on cable providers as part of a spending bill. The house had previously passed a bill called the Television Viewer Protection Act that would have done the same thing but now that it is attached to a spending bill it makes it more likely to get approved in the Senate.

“Cable companies shouldn’t be allowed to get away with advertising low prices while hiding extra fees in the fine print that cost consumers hundreds of dollars more each year,” said Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumer Reports.  “Consumers deserve to know exactly how much they’ll end up paying before they sign up for a pay-TV package.  This legislation will put an end to bait and switch pricing and help consumers avoid getting stung by sneaky fees.”

HR 5035 requires pay-TV operators to disclose the total price, including all itemized charges, fees, and estimated taxes before a consumer signs up for a video package, whether offered individually or as part of a bundled service.  If this bill passes, consumers will have the right to cancel service without penalty within 24 hours after receiving notice of the total cost at the point of sale.  Pay-TV providers will be prohibited from charging consumers fees for equipment they do not use.

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.

Now we have to wait and see what the Senate does next with this bill.

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