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New federal rule would eliminate cable, satellite hidden fees

The Biden administration has issued new rules that could take effect later this year that would eliminate hidden fees from cable bills.
New federal rule would eliminate cable, satellite hidden fees
Posted at 2:15 PM, Jun 20, 2023

The Federal Communications Commission announced it is seeking comment on "enhanced pricing transparency" that requires cable and satellite TV providers to include an "all-in" price for its products. 

The new rules could go into effect this fall, the FCC said.

The rule has the backing of President Joe Biden. 

"Too often, these companies hide additional junk fees on customer bills disguised as 'broadcast TV' or 'regional sports' fees that in reality pay for no additional services," Biden said. "These fees really add up: according to one report, they increase customer bills by nearly 25% of the price of base service. The FCC all-in pricing proposal would help consumers comparison shop between providers and increase competition for viewers. This is only the latest action taken by my Administration to crack down on junk fees in order to increase transparency, and bring down costs for hard working Americans."

According to a 2019 report from Consumer Reports, the average consumer spends $450 a year on added cable and satellite fees. The report says this results in a 24% surcharge on the advertised price. 

SEE MORE: Companies pledge to Biden they'll eliminate 'junk fees'

The FCC says this new rule would make it easier for consumers to comparison shop. 

"Not only would this proposal reduce cost confusion and make it easier for consumers to compare services, but it would also increase competition among cable and broadcast satellite providers through improved price transparency," said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

The FCC's announcement comes a week after the Biden administration touted a handful of companies that pledged to eliminate hidden or "junk" fees. Representatives from Live Nation, SeatGeek, xBk, Airbnb, the Pablo Center at the Confluence, TickPick, DICE and the Newport Festivals Foundation met with President Biden.

"These are just the latest private sector leaders who are responding to my call to action," President Biden said during the meeting, and reiterated that junk fees "can add hundreds of dollars a month and make it harder for families to pay their bills.

President Biden also reiterated his call on Congress to "pass legislation that mandates up-front all-in pricing for all ticket sellers, bans surprise 'resort fees,' eliminates early termination fees charged by cable, internet, and cellphone companies, and bans family seating fees."

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