We recently pointed out that DirecTV is assessing its “Regional Sports Fee” — the surcharge for carrying local sports channels in a particular area — unevenly, meaning you could be paying as much as $87/year more than your friend around the corner for the exact same TV package. At the time, DirecTV could not offer a reasonable explanation for this disparity, but the company is now apologizing and saying it will credit the bills of affected customers. [More]
land of the fee
“Regional Sports Fees” — one of those add-on charges that cable and satellite companies tack on to raise the price of pay-TV plans without having to change the price they advertise — have rubbed a lot of people the wrong way in recent months. Comcast is being sued over this fee, and lawmakers have asked cable providers to explain these charges. As irritating as this surcharge may be, an analysis of how DirecTV assesses these fees raises questions about the motives of the nation’s largest satellite TV provider. [More]
It seems like an increasing number of things you buy now come with fees that you don’t find out about until it’s time to make the purchase: Book a hotel room — there’s a “Resort Fee” that wasn’t in the advertised price. Going to a concert — there’s a “Convenience Fee” that can sometimes double the ticket price. Subscribe to cable TV — there are “Broadcast TV” fees for stations that are freely available over the air, and “Regional Sports” fees for stations that are often owned by the cable company. A new report from the White House says these hidden fees are cause for a broader concern about a lack of competition. [More]
The new year brings new things, and at this point it’s all but traditional for cable and satellite companies to announce customers will face higher charges in January than in the December before. But Comcast isn’t just increasing its bundle rates a few percentage points in 2017; it’s going to significantly increase how much all of its pay-TV customers pay for a pair of highly controversial fees. [More]
Should fliers have to pay to access the overhead bin on their flights? One lawmaker doesn’t think so, and wants United Airlines to ditch a new lower-cost fare option that limits travelers to exactly one small carry-on item that fits under their seat. [More]
Some Illinois residents are a bit ticked off right now, after the state reaped $5.24 million more this year than it did in 2015 from license plate renewal fees. That’s a lot of money — were people just really distracted or forgetful this year? Not quite. An impasse on the state budget meant officials didn’t have the cash to mail reminders out to drivers.
Remember what it was like to book air travel way back in ye olden days of three years ago? You’d spot a really excellent online deal on a flight, only to discover at checkout that after the taxes and fees, it was $50 higher than you’d thought. The Dept. of Transportation changed all that in 2012 — but now, a bill rapidly moving through Congress could reverse that change entirely.
There is a prepaid debit card on the market to fit just about everyone’s needs. Consumers can choose from cards with celebrity faces on them to cards from their preferred wireless provider. While prepaid cards can be convenient, and often the only option for the unbanked, they can also be littered with fees that suck up all your hard-earned cash. [More]
One might assume that banks marketing to U.S. military servicemembers would not be out to nickel and dime these men and women with unnecessarily high fees on their accounts. But among those financial institutions levying the highest level of fees on its account-holders are several that not only market to the military but also have branches on military bases. [More]
Feeling lighter in the wallet when you travel? It’s no wonder — in 2012, U.S. airlines raked in a record $6 billion in baggage and change fees from passengers. That’s higher than any other year since such fees became de rigueur five years ago. Oh, and it’s going to keep piling up, because airlines are having fun swimming around in the piles of money they’ve made off such fees. [More]
Among the reasons given in support of payday loans — short-term, high-interest loans intended to get the borrower through to the next paycheck — is that they ultimately provide a net good to the economy, allowing the borrower to keep spending and earning interest for the lender. But a recent report casts some doubt on that belief. [More]
Here at Consumerist HQ we’re a bit leery when it comes to pre-paid debit cards. They always seem to come with hidden fees that can pop up and punish users for trying to access their own money. And when you throw in a celebrity like say, the Kardashians or in the latest news, Justin Bieber, the potential for the younger set to be exposed to this fee-laden world grows.
Yesterday we told you about the sky-high fees associated with the combination photo ID/prepaid debit card being issued by the city of Oakland. Now comes a report that Chicago-area residents who choose to opt in to the prepaid debit option on their transit cards will also see their cash eroded by fees.
Spirit Airlines continues to demonstrate why Consumerist readers nominated the bottom-dollar carrier for the Worst Company In America 2012 tournament. The airline, only one of two U.S. carriers to charge for carry-on bags, has announced it will be jacking up its baggage fees, meaning some people could end up paying $100 per carry-on.
With so many people lining up at the airport today and tomorrow to fly home to stuff their stomachs with, well… stuffing, one U.S. Senator has introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at reining in the checked bag fees charged by airlines.
Even though Bank of America and a few others have — for now — ditched their plans to charge customers a monthly fee for making purchases with debit cards, the Justice Department has decided to look at the possible antitrust considerations surrounding the controversial proposals.