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

woman holding bill looking confusedToday the United States House of Representatives voted to ban hidden fees on cable providers as part of a bill called the Television Viewer Protection Act.

“Consumers are sick and tired of the laundry list of sneaky fees that make their bills more costly than expected,” said Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumer Reports.  “Cable companies lure customers in with a low advertised price but then bury hundreds of dollars in extra fees each year in the fine print.  This legislation will help bring fairness and clarity to pay-TV pricing by helping consumers spot and avoid hidden 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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