I’m continuing my saga this week in trying to save my Mom some money on her cable bill. This week’s video digs into the rest of her bill to see what other charges Comcast is hitting us with.
In an update to last week’s video about rental fees, I found that her bill was even worse than I initially thought. A $10 “Premium DVR” charge was not immediately reversible because Comcast oversold my mother on two DVR boxes. Because she had two DVR boxes the second box triggered the charge. It wasn’t enough that they were already charging her $10 for each box. So this one box alone was costing her $20 monthly and she never even used it!
What’s even crazier is that although Comcast did not swap out any of her equipment, they steadily increased the cost year over year as equipment fees sit outside the contract rate.
What a world they live in where old equipment appreciates in value!
But they did finally send us some boxes to send their boxes back. Very inefficiently, mind you, as everything could have fit into a single box. But they make so much money shipping costs are not a concern.
Unfortunately it looks like the boxes were the low hanging fruit in this effort to bring cost down. The rest of Comcast’s bill is a rat’s nest of interlocking services. Pull one out and the cost goes up!
In addition to cable box fees Mom was being hit with the “Broadcast TV Fee” and the “Regional Sports Fee” which also sit outside her contracted rate. The Broadcast TV fee is largely unavoidable and comes as a result of local broadcasters charging Comcast to carry their networks. This makes broadcasters more money than advertising these days. I may eventually put an antenna up on her roof as over the air TV signals remain free.
The “Regional Sports Fee” is a similar fee that regional sports networks charge Comcast to carry their networks. Mom has this on her bill even though she doesn’t watch sports. Why? It’s because of the cable package that she signed up for requires her to subscribe to these sports channels to get the other ones she wants. In the video you’ll see that we can’t get her news channels without sports which brings that fee along.
The best price I could get her requires another yearlong commitment from Comcast. While the service fee is locked in for that year, they have zero risk in this relationship because most of their costs are put into those other fees outside of the contracted rate.
But Comcast is not the only game in town any longer. Frontier’s fiber optic service recently came to her neighborhood and another ISP may soon follow. Replicating her current Comcast services with a Frontier and YouTube TV combo will save her at least $550 a year.
It’s shameful how Comcast abuses their monopolistic position and swindles senior citizens selling them services they don’t need or use. Comcast will need to pivot quickly as consumers now have choices. If traffic on my YouTube channel is any indication those consumers are eager to exercise their market power.