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CR applauds Verizon for eliminating hidden fees for Fios TV

Verizon plan comes after Congress passes reforms that will require transparent pricing for pay-TV service beginning this summer  

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Consumer Reports praised a plan announced by Verizon today that eliminates hidden fees from its Fios TV service and discloses the full cost customers will pay in advertised prices.  The move by Verizon comes just weeks after Congress passed reforms that will require more transparent pricing for pay-TV service beginning this summer.

“Finally, a major cable company has gotten the message,” said Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumer Reports.  “Consumers are fed up with paying hundreds of dollars in extra fees each year that weren’t always clearly disclosed when they signed up for service.  While the cost of internet and cable TV service is still expensive, Verizon customers can now pick a plan that suits their needs and budget without having to worry about getting hit with a bill loaded with hidden fees.”

Schwantes continued, “Verizon has made a consumer-friendly step in the right direction.  We encourage other cable providers to drop the fees and offer straightforward pricing plans for internet and TV service.” 

Inspired by legislation authored by Senator Ed Markey and Representative Anna Eshoo,  Congress passed reforms in December that will require 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.  This requirement will go into effect later this year and applies to pay-TV service whether offered individually or as part of a bundled service.  Under the new law, 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 would be prohibited from charging consumers for equipment they do not use.

In October, Consumer Reports published an extensive report that documented that consumers pay, on average, $450 a year in extra company-imposed fees charged by cable and internet service providers.  Consumer Reports found that consumers are being charged equipment fees for routers and modems even if they choose to use their own devices.  In addition, some providers are starting to charge similar fees for internet access.

Michael McCauley, mmccauley@consumer.org, 415-431-6747, ext. 7606