ELK GROVE (CBS13) – We all get those internet and TV flyers in the mail, with big bold numbers showing how little we’ll pay if we switch out our service. Why is it that we rarely pay that promised price?
Vince Huynh, a big streamer of TV shows and movies, found out.
When Huynh received an offer for $15 a month internet for two years, plus a free router he made the switch.
“I’m thinking that’s the best deal in town,” he said.
The basic internet service has remained the same, but he noticed a fee for something called broadband equipment maintenance that keeps creeping up.
At first, it was $5.99 a month, then $7.14, now he is paying $9.14 a month.
The company Huynh signed up with claims the fee covers things like antivirus software, 15-email accounts, technical support, etc.
Huynh says he does not need any of that and wants the extra services removed. When he called the company to take them off, “They say no that’s not optional.”
We have heard from quite a few viewers who signed up for various cable and internet deals who were surprised to pay much more than the big bold price in the ad.
Consumer Savings Expert Courtney Jespersen at Nerd Wallet says many of these companies are creative with fees for things like maintenance, or equipment rental.
“I think that’s not fair to the consumer. You should know what you’re paying for,” she said.
When it comes to TV service, for local or sports channel fees the fine print, usually says the company can change these fees at any time.
“You shouldn’t have to pay extra for that,” says Consumer Attorney Stuart Talley.
He thinks companies should just be honest about the price that is in the bold print, especially if it is a mandatory charge.
“It’s almost like if you bought a car, they advertised a price, and they charged you extra for the engine,” said Talley.
We reached out to The California Cable and Telecommunications Association that represents the industry; they said “no comment.”
We reached out to The Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing. They said, “Proprietary business policies are unique to each individual company,” and “We’re unable to comment.”
Huynh thinks he was duped into signing up for service saying, “I think it’s misleading and false advertisement.”
The internet provider for Huynh admits the fees are confusing but say they have to increase the price to cover the cost of replacing and upgrading technology.
Talley thinks these companies could face class action lawsuits in the future for these practices.
The Federal Trade Commission has cracked down on advertisements in recent years, considering them deceptive for hiding fees in the fine print.