Paying more than advertised for cable, internet, and phone?

Consumer advocates call upon Comcast for transparency

Ian Bush
June 27, 2018 - 6:33 pm
Jon Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumer Reports, calls on Comcast to be transparent to its customers.

Ian Bush | KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — If you've ever thought there's nothing convenient about a convenience fee, consumer advocates are here to say they have your back. 

One group set up shop outside the Comcast Center in Center City Wednesday to call for an end to the widespread practice of add-on charges on cable and other bills.

"It seems the cable guys have found new and interesting ways to fleece consumers," said Jon Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumer Reports

HD technology or regional sports fees — to the tune of an extra $14 a month or so — add up.

"Consumers have the right to know transparently and up front how much their monthly bill is going to be," he added.

The magazine and its advocacy arm, Consumers Union, delivered what it said are more than 100,000 petitions calling on Comcast and its competitors to kill the fees. Ed Petersohn from Plymouth Meeting signed on.

"I like Comcast. The TV picture comes in bright and clear. But their billing doesn't come in clear at all," he said.

"Because I complained, customer service did end up waiving the fee for the first year of my contract," said Bernadette Friedman, another Comcast customer. She was initially miffed about an HD technology fee, which she said wasn't included in Comcast's come-on. Others who don't watch sports don't want to pay the regional sports fee, either.

"Every single customer shouldn't have to complain and should be treated fairly," she said.

A Comcast spokesman said they use customer feedback and itemize fees to make bills simple to understand.

"Our goal is to provide an excellent customer experience, and we want our customers to understand the value in what they are buying," read a statement by Comcast.

And it's not just cable: Consumer Reports said it's setting out to tackle the "fee economy" across all industries.