So you’ve got phone internet. It’s amazing. It’s astounding! It’s… expensive. And what are all those mystery charges on the bill? Wait, why can’t I change the channel on my TV? Did they forget to mention something? Here are ten hidden costs that you may not be expecting to find on your monthly bill:
- Convenience fee – First things first, how do I pay my bill? Checks are passé, so I think I’ll pay online. But wait! What’s this? I’m being charged a fee for PAYING you? Excuse me? Yeah, you read that right, they charge a ‘convenience’ fee to pay online. Unless, of course, you have it automatically withdrawn every month. Then you can look forward to overdraft charges from your bank. Oh, and since the amount changes constantly, you never know how much will get sucked out on a day they feel is convenient.
- Digital box rental fee – And you got TV with that internet, right? Because it costs more not to. So you’ll need digital boxes for your TVs. Oh, they provide them, don’t fret. But you have more than three TVs? Oh, shoot. Well, you’ll just have to rent whatever extras you need. Sorry.
- More than 3 lines fee – Speaking of more than three TVs, you know you only get three lines installed, right? You need more? Well, certainly we can do that for you. For a small (large) installation fee and a tiny (huge) activation fee, we can set that right up. But you know you’ll have to pay extra each month, right? Oh, goody!
- More than 4 TVs? You’re out of luck – Wait a minute! Did you say you have FIVE TVs?! Hey, Joe, this guy’s got five TVs! Well, I hope a couple of you like to watch the same channel, because you can only watch four channels at a time. But that’s no problem, right? Oh, and don’t forget, the DVR counts as a channel!
- Franchise fee – Oh, and we were charged by the city for the land (underground) or the telephone wires (in the air) that our lines took up, so… yeah. You’ll need to pay for that, too.
- FCC fee – And the government taxes us, so we will pass that on also. No sense in wasting money!
- Universal Service Fund fee – Oh, those horrible bureaucrats! Now look what they made us do! You know that having to provide phone service to the poor can’t come out of our pockets; we’re just a multi-billion dollar company. So, those pesky little fund payments we have to make will have to come from you. If you have an issue, call your congressman.
- Overage charges – Since internet usage is SO popular, we have to put a cap on the amount you can download. Oh, and if you go over that amount, we’ll just charge you $10.00 for every 50 GB. But don’t worry, if you’re like 90% of our users, you won’t go over… by much. Besides, we’ll start you out with two grace periods — in other words, the third month you go over the cap is when you’ll get charged. Aren’t we nice?!
- Upgrade/Downgrade fee – We’ve increased the internet speed! Yay! So now we’ll charge you a little (lot) more a month. Oh, you want to stay the speed you’re at? But we already upgraded you automatically. You’re sure you want to downgrade? Okay, that’ll be a small (large) fee.
- Disconnect/reconnect fee – You don’t like all the fees? You’re not going to pay? Fine, one moment please. What? Oh, your internet and TVs went off? Yes, I know. I just hit a button here at the office and disconnected you. That’ll be a small (large) fee. Oh, so you DIDN’T want to be disconnected? So sorry. I’ll turn it back on. There you go. So that’s another tiny (huge) fee. What for, you ask? Why, all the effort it took us to have to disconnect and then reconnect you! Someone has to pay for that, you know!
Welcome to the wonderful world of phone internet. Please proceed with caution. And remember, there is always a friendly operative waiting to help you: “Please hold. The current estimated wait time is… FOUR HOURS. Thank you for your patience. We are always happy to help. Someone will be with you shortly.”