Consumer Reports issued the following statement in response to the Federal Communication Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which aims to increase pricing transparency by requiring cable and satellite TV providers to give consumers the all-in price for the service they are offering up front.
“This FCC rule is welcome news for consumers in the fight against junk fees. It will help address the practice of including hidden fees into customer bills, which has become all too common by cable and satellite TV providers.” said Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel at Consumer Reports. “These so-called junk fees are a real burden on families especially when paychecks are already stretched to the limit. We strongly urge the FCC to move forward with this NPRM to require cable and satellite TV companies to provide more pricing transparency so consumers better understand the true cost of goods and services they are paying for. Furthermore, we call on Congress to pass the Junk Fee Prevention Act which would increase pricing transparency as well as the elimination of various junk fees in the cable and satellite industries and beyond.”
The FCC’s NPRM cites a 2019 CR report that examined hidden fees for a variety of services in major sectors of the U.S. economy, including the cable TV and broadband industry. Additionally, CR released findings from a 2022 investigation that collected and analyzed more than 22,000 consumer broadband bills. The investigation found that consumer broadband bills are difficult to understand and make it difficult for consumers to budget and compare prices with alternative service options. CR also found that more than a dozen ISPs were found to charge company-imposed fees—also known as junk fees—under names such as “network enhancement fee,” “internet infrastructure fee,” “deregulated administration fee,” and “technology service fee.”
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