Cable | Streaming Fees

Cable fees typically range from $50-$250/mo or $600-$3,000/yr which may include internet and/or a land line. Streaming services, which may be supplemental, are often $5-$15/mo or $60-$180/yr. That’s a lot of money and it’s a 100% discretionary expense decision. You have complete control over reducing these automatically reoccurring fees.  

There’s intense competition in this market with several new rivals. Streaming services from Amazon, AT&T, Disney, Discovery, NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia, Quibi, and Apple are jockeying for position and pushing towards the $0/month threshold. Netflix remains the powerhouse but pressure is mounting. 

The rapid growth of options equates to negotiating leverage for consumers to demand better service and lower costs. Providers are advertising lower and lower rates to gain consumer business. Then they sneak in the extra nickels and dimes later. Be aware of the potential extra fees.  

Reoccurring Billing

Subscription Models

Automatically reoccurring subscription services are bills that tend to go under the radar over time. Complacency leads many of us to trust the invoices, if we even think about the invoices. And if you do look at an invoice, good luck decoding the fees and their accuracy.

You really need to pay attention to find an anomaly or error. The sooner the issue is found and addressed, the more likely you are to get your money back or some form of compensation. Class action lawsuits are common where may consumers are wronged and may not be able to catch the error. However, you need to be aware of such lawsuit to file a potential claim in time. And often the recovery amount doesn’t make you whole. 

When calling to complain, waits can be lengthy. Be prepared with documentation, questions, and explanations prior to making the call or visiting a location. If you plan to threaten to cancel in order to lure a special offer from customer service, they might say “no” so be prepared and there may be cancellation fees.

If you’re unsure about cancelling, a possible approach is to mention other competitor offers and rates and express interest in remaining with your carrier but you need help in lowering the total costs.  

Billing Errors

Invoices are prone to human and technical errors too. It’s tough to find errors unless you’re on familiar with the fees and monitoring your invoices month over month. Once you get through deciphering the invoice and you feel that you’ve been overcharged prepare to effectively complain. See the section on ‘Effective Complaining‘.

Customer service is more likely to provide you a refund or correction if there is a respectful approach from the customer. They often have standard operating procedures to follow but may have authority to make changes on the spot. Complaints with FCC can be file at the link below or call 1-800-225-5322.

Filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau® (BBB®) is another means of getting attention. Companies registered with the BBB usually take their rating very seriously and strive to remedy problems posted on the site. Again, being assertive, professional, yet firm is likely to get the best result. 

Service Interruptions

Sometimes it feels like the more advanced the technology, the more things that can go wrong. Some are the fault of the user, some are the provider. If you’re service is interrupted regularly and it seems excessive, you should complain sooner than later.

Get a data point on the chart because if it becomes a trend, you’ll have more evidence to get compensation. Most providers will reach out to help fix the problem when initially notified but trying to go after service interruptions from months ago is harder to win.

Problems related to natural causes or other reasons beyond the providers control are more difficult to win but if you can show that your neighbors service works fine or otherwise show that your situation is unique and separate from those uncontrollable causes, then you have a better chance. If you’re provider uses these types of reasons against your case, you may be compelled to verify their claim. 

Additional Features

Providers are not supposed to charge you for additional features that you haven’t agreed too. That sounds logical but they can be savvy with their words to lure you into agreeing to something that isn’t what you perceived. But in the event you have agreed, or decided to make a purchase, these are areas of which you can control your costs. 

Premium channels

Most of the popular series and movies are on premium channels. You may be able to negotiate a free period of time to test the channels. But be prepared to cancel them if you’re not interested and this may require another phone call and the hassles that come along with that…and be ready for a tempting counteroffer.


Renting a show, series, or movie can range from free to near $20. This convenience comes at price and these are completely under your control. 

Extra boxes/dishes 

Eliminating cable boxes/dishes can reduce your reoccurring fees.


If you are renting any equipment from routers to cable boxes, in some cases you may be able to purchase the equipment and save money over the long term. 

Credit Card Points

Many providers accept payments from credit cards. If this is the case AND there isn’t a fee, you may be able to get reward points (such as 1% back) through your bank/credit card to offset some of the fees. 


Cancellation Fees

Cancellation Fees

Be aware of the possibility of fees for early termination. These can be substantial fees so it may be a better option to reduce the extra features and go with a skeleton package if allowed. It’s a math equation to figure out the costs of cancellation versus waiting until the contract ends. 

At the time of termination there may be a need to return certain pieces of equipment or an arrangement where it doesn’t need to be returned. Make sure these arrangements are documented to protect you in the event the company tries to bill you later. They may try to make one money grab once they realize there isn’t a chance at retaining your business. 

Can you get away with fewer channels?

If you don’t want to lost all your cable offered channels, there is the possibility of using a bundled service such as Fubo, Roku, Firestick, Vidgo, Hulu, Sling TV, YouTube TV, and others. These options also have their own pros and cons and usually only offer a subset of a cable TV package.  Furthermore, these options also have options of various packages and price points. In any event, it may be a much more affordable option if you are pleased with their packages. Or call your cable company to discuss which channels you want and perhaps create an ala carte package for lower rate than you’re currently paying. In most cases you can eliminate channels for a reduced rate. 

More Fees

A list of other fees that could exist that are largely out of your control to dispute. Some of these fees depend on how many services how have bundled through your carrier. Keep in mind, most taxes are based on a percentage of purchased good/services, so while you may not be able to lower the tax rate, you could lower the tax amount you pay by reducing the taxable amount. 

Regulatory Recovery Fee

Connectivity Charge

Broadcast TV Fee

Regional Sports Fee

FCC Regulatory Fee

State Regulatory Fee

Sales Tax

Use Tax

911 Fee 

More cable fees

Comcast Fees

Take a look at this laundry list of fees, taxes, and surcharges as of 2020. Some may change over time but the point is they are nickel & diming you in ways you can’t even make up. You can view the details by clicking on the button at the bottom as this list could change. 

Broadcast TV Fee 

Regional Sports Fee

Regulatory Cost Recovery 

Franchise Costs 

Public, Educ & Govt Fee

Franchise Fee

911 Fee 

Federal Excise Tax

Voice Network Investment 

Directory Listing Management Fee 

Sales Tax

State Communications Tax

Gross Receipts Tax

Federal Universal Service Fund (FUSF) 

For existing customers you can contact Comcast’s 24/7 hotline at (800) 391-3000. They also have a chat room option

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