Understand the Hidden Fees in Your Comcast Bill

Are you seeing that things don’t add up in your Comcast bill? If you need to dispute charges on your Comcast bill, consumer arbitration can help you get a fair resolution.

Each month a bill will come to you, digitally or in the mail, and it will contain a complete breakdown of what you owe and why. It is important to read it thoroughly so that you know where each charge is coming from. But what happens when some of the charges don’t make sense or when they weren’t something you were expecting to pay? We explain how to understand the hidden fees, and what to do about them.

How to view your Comcast bill

It is important that you read your Comcast bill every month, and read all of it so that you can understand what you are paying for and catch any mistakes early–before they cost you.

You can go back and view monthly statements as the registered account user in My Account. There you will see the ‘billing’ section at the top of the page, after ‘overview’ and it is under this tab that you can click ‘view bill details’ to open a full PDF of the Comcast bill.

To compare it to previous bills, you can use the same tab to look at ‘your bill statements’ and open the PDF for any bill from the last 24 months.

Are there hidden fees I am being charged for that I am not aware of?

Comcast puts on their site that they might adjust the prices for your service and any additional fees “from time to time” in order to “cover the rising costs” of business and “improve” the services.

For example: Comcast pays programmers like HBO in order to offer the channels to consumers, and those programmer fees change regularly, so if you have access to those channels, you might regularly see a hidden increase to your bill even if you signed up under a discounted or promotional price originally.

Below is a list of hidden fees, taxes and other charges you might see on your bill:

Broadcast TV Fee

This is an itemized charge which can increase with very little warning, based on the cost of giving you local broadcast stations. The cost comes from what the local broadcast stations charge Comcast, and then what Comcast charges you.

This hidden fee is certainly well hidden, given that Comcast admits they do not include it in their promotional pricing or under the minimum term agreements, but it can nonetheless increase randomly.

Federal Universal Service Fund (FUSF)

This is a charge that the FCC imposes on Comcast in relation to contributions for a Federal fund giving affordable communications to low income and rural areas (like health care providers, eligible schools, and libraries). The rate is modified quarterly which means the amount you are charged can change quarterly as well.

Other service providers’ fees

Companies that have deals with Comcast, like Netflix, get billed to you if you use them, so, if Netflix increases their pricing (if they do, it is they who will inform you, not Comcast), then the adjustment appears in your bill.

Regional Sports fee

This is another well hidden fee which isn’t advertised when you sign up, and not included in any promotional pricing or minimum term agreements even though it can increase at any point. Comcast will notify you before it happens, but this is a cost Comcast incurs for providing regional sports networks and it is one of the biggest extra costs Comcast has, which means it trickles down to being one of the biggest hidden fees you might see.

Regulatory cost recovery

This is a fee that Comcast charges you to recover the costs they pay out of pocket for certain federal, state, or local impositions related to voice services. It’s not a tax or a government-mandated see but it does end up a hidden see in your monthly bill.

Rental fee

If you rent from Comcast, your voice equipment, your modem, or your TV box, there will be a separate line on your monthly bill or your rental fee. Your equipment rental fee might be included as part of a promotion depending on the package but once the promotion ends you will start to see that unexpected rental fee make its way back into your bill. This rental fee can change at any time but Comcast will give you advance notice.

State Universal Service Fund

This is a fund that provides affordable communication to rural customers and low-income customers and it’s the same as the FUSF mentioned above, only it is at the state level–another hidden fee you will see on your bill from Comcast that is not advertised when you sign up.

Taxes, Fees and Surcharges

There are also many taxes, fees, and surcharges that might make their way onto your bill unexpectedly.

911 Fee

This is a fee that varies from state-to-state and in some states it might vary based on the county in which you live but it is a fee charged by local governments to Comcast to help fund the 911 systems and of course that fee ends up coming out of your paycheck rather than company profits.

Athletic Fee

If you live in New Mexico, you will see what it’s called an athletic fee on your bill. This is a tax that is imposed for all life pay-per-view professional sports events and it is meant to cover the cost of regulating those contests.

FCC Fee

The FCC charges Comcast and other cable operators annually so that they can cover the regulatory fees and this is another hidden fee that you will see on your bill.

Federal Excise Tax

This is a tax from the federal government on certain voice services which can end up on your bill.

Franchise Fee

This is a fee that Comcast pays to local governments to compensate them for the use of public easements and rights-of-way. Comcast then charges customers the full amount of these franchise fees in accordance with the Federal Cable Act. So, even though this is a fee that Comcast pays for regular business operations, the entire fee is disseminated into local customer bills rather than Comcast profits.

Local Utility User Tax

Certain local governments will impose a local utility user tax or video services or Communications and if you live in an area where this takes place, you will see it as a hidden fee on your bill.

Public, Education & Government Fee

Public Access channels can incur an additional see what you will see on your bill.

State and Local Communications Services Taxes

Some local or state taxes are imposed on certain communication services like Television services, data, or voice and if you live in an area where this is imposed on Comcast, it will then be imposed on you as a hidden fee in your monthly Comcast bill.

State and Local Gross Receipts

This is a tax on the gross revenue from Comcast imposed at the state and local level and it varies by location. It is not government-mandated but Comcast passes the fee on to its customers so that it doesn’t come out of company profits and this fee can change from time to time.

State and Local Sales Tax

There are certain state and local sales taxes that might be applied based on where you live and these will show up on your bill.

State Excise Tax

Some state governments will impose estate excise tax for voice services where video services in if you live in an area where that happens and you have the services, this will be yet another hidden fee on your bill.

What can I do if I was incorrectly charged a fee?

If you were incorrectly charged a fee, and you tried to use Comcast customer service to fix it but they weren’t able to help, there are two options:

  1. You can go through small claims court, but only if your case qualifies and only if you have the time.
  2. The second, and often easier and faster method, is to use consumer arbitration. With consumer arbitration you have more flexibility, can usually get a faster resolution, and what’s more, we can help.

Ready to get started? Let FairShake lend a hand.





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