New Jersey Assemblyman to Propose Legislation That Forces Cable Companies to List Hidden Fees Upfront

Hidden fees have long been the bane of many pay-TV customers’ existence. In October, a report by Consumer Reports found that hidden fees are costing the average customer $450 per year, resulting in cable companies making an estimated $28 billion a year.

Now, a New Jersey lawmaker is attempting to regulate the issue. Assemblyman Paul Moriarty wants to put forward legislation that would require cable companies to show the total amount they will bill for TV service. This would include costs for set-top boxes, remote rentals and broadcast programming, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“Like many people that have cable or satellite TV service, I’ve seen this development where there are new charges appearing on my bill and other people’s bills that are adding up to more than what I thought I was paying a month,” Moriarty, the chairman of the Assembly’s Consumer Affairs committee, told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I figured we can probably do something about it in our state and put a stop to this.”

If the legislation passes, New Jersey will become the first state to tackle the issue on hidden fees, although The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the bill “is unlikely to become a law anytime soon.”

In their study, Consumer Reports found that price hikes were being applied to not only government related fees and taxes, but the fees that individual cable companies created themselves. These company-imposed fees include broadcast TV fees, regional sports fees, set-top-box and related rental fees, cable modem and/or router fees, HD technology fees, internet service-related fees, administrative/convenience fees and installation fees.