The Truth-In-Billing, Remedies, and User Empowerment over Fees Act [TRUE Fees] has been introduced by Rep Anna Eshoo [D-CA] and Sen Ed Markey [D-MA]; if passed, it will force ISPs and cable operators to advertise the true costs of their packages, including all surcharges.
As Karl Bode writes on Motherboard, the bill seeks to remedy an epidemic of the kind of false advertising that is banned in Europe, but which American firms regard as "the height of capitalistic creativity," from hotels who use hidden "resort fees" to jack up prices over advertised rates to the misleading "regulatory recovery" fees on phone or utility bills that falsely suggest that they are the result of some statute, not the company's greed.
And of course, no one practices this deceptive art with the virtuosity of the cable/ISP industry, whose monopolism, contempt for customers, and price gouging are legendary.
"This legislation is simple, straightforward, and effective," Consumer Reports said of this latest legislative effort. "The TRUE Fees Act would address the out-of-control fee problem in the telecommunications marketplace and deliver much-needed transparency for cable and internet providers' unnecessarily-complicated billing practices."
The government's apathy has come with a steep price for cable and broadband customer wallets. Many of these fees have been jacked upwards of 241% in just the last few years, leaving American consumers paying even higher rates for what's already some of the most expensive cable TV and broadband prices in the developed world.
New Bill Would Stop Internet Service Providers From Screwing You With Hidden Fees [Karl Bode/Motherboard]