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Looking Out For Hidden Fees


It’s easy to get caught in the heat of the moment, standing thrilled at the idea of using a new TV service or a new television, but make sure to slow down enough to read the fine print. Especially when it comes to any contract, you’ll thank yourself later for doing the nitty-gritty work of going through the paperwork.

In 2017, a Deloitte study showed that out of the 2,000 consumers participating in the survey, 90% of them accepted legal terms and conditions without reading them. For those who are between the age of 18 and 34, the rate is even higher— 97%! This makes a majority of consumers a more susceptible target for companies, especially when it comes to TV. Here are a few tips and tricks to catch the deception before you’ve signed onto anything.

Broadcasting Fees

Many companies advertise the best features you can get, and the best price you can get, both of which are displayed together. This is to give the illusion you’ll be getting top-notch specs for the lowest prices on the market when in actuality, the package that comes with the best features is obviously the most expensive. Most TV service providers will charge extra for channels that need special, out of area broadcasting, as well as premium channels. If you really want the best, you may find yourself paying an extra $5-$10 for each exclusive channel; Starz, HBO, Cinemax, and Regional Sports to name a few.

Similar to cable and satellite TV companies, too many streaming subscriptions begin to add up as well. If you take on too many add-ons or oversubscribe, you can see monthly TV bills that rival cable subscriptions, especially if you’re into sports. It’s best to prioritize what you actually watch and start small.

Technology Fees

Little did you know, your new TV or TV service required so many additional devices to function the way the company promises! A lot of the additions technology is advertised as “optional” or “recommended”, but we all know how disappointing watching Netflix or utilizing a smart TV is when you don’t have the appropriate internet plan. If you join your cable with internet, consider buying a compatible modem instead of paying a monthly rental fee. Long term, you’ll end up making back the money you spent on the modem, and it will typically cost you less.

Cable and satellite companies will tell you that you’ll need a set-top box for every TV in the house, but do you really need DVR for every TV? Typically, only one or two are really needed or even used when placed in open areas of the house.

Set-Up Fees

Now this one may be the most valid additional fee, but it’s still one that’s usually hidden and quite a pain to follow through with. If you’re purchasing television service through cable or satellite, chances are a specialized tech will need to come out to your house before you can begin watching your shows. These service fees can be an additional $20 to a ridiculous $50 or $80. Luckily, it is a one time fee, but definitely be sure to confirm the necessity of this service as well as the price.

Most companies have schedules for the techs to go out and set up service, but be prepared for any rescheduling. Times range from approximate to no-shows, and there needs to be at least one person over the age of 18 home to let the techs in.

Contract Fees

Cable contracts usually with an agreement from the subscribers to pay a fee if the service is canceled before the original agreed-upon end of contract. These fees can be a few hundred dollars, if not more, especially if you have to buy out the contract.

In addition to cancellation fees, also notice the fine print of your payment timeline. Many cable companies will offer two-year contracts and have a first-year rate before raising it for the second. It may be beneficial to schedule a yearly call to all of your contractual TV companies and negotiating rates, or being open to switching providers in order to keep the cost low.

Posted on Monday, October 1st, 2018