How to spot when a cable provider is trying to hide a price hike

When cable providers are making changes to the prices they charge their customers, it’s a good bet they’re trying to trick customers into paying more for their services.

We recently asked three prominent media analysts to explain how they spotted this and what to do if you see it happening. 

1.

You’re being offered a discount on the price of a service The most common way cable companies are deceiving you is by offering you a discount or discounting the price on a service they’re offering.

In this case, the cable provider may tell you the service is $7.99 per month for a package of five channels and you get an extra $7 a month on top of the $7 monthly fee for each channel you sign up for.

This is a sneaky way for the cable company to trick you into paying for a service you probably wouldn’t want.

If this happens, the company could be lying.

You may not notice this if the price is actually $9.99 or less per month.

If it’s more, then the cable operator may be trying to mislead you.

For example, if you’re on a standard monthly package of cable TV channels and pay $7 per month, they may offer you an additional $9 per month to add a channel or add a separate monthly fee.

2.

You can cancel a service You don’t have to cancel your cable service.

However, if a cable operator changes the terms of your contract to make you pay more money than you would otherwise, you may want to cancel.

The cable operator could be offering a discount to make up for the lost fee.

This could be the case if you have a contract that’s expired and the cable service provider is selling new channels at a discount. 

3.

You’ll find the cable network’s network rating online The next step is to check if the network ratings for a specific cable provider’s cable service are available online.

A cable network rating can tell you if a specific service is good or bad for you.

The rating may show whether the cable TV provider has the best overall signal quality or is doing the best job of delivering service to a specific geographic area.

If a cable network is rated good, you can usually find a better deal at another cable company or on other cable services. 

4.

You won’t be charged more if you cancel the service or cancel a bundle of channels The last step is finding a good deal on a specific bundle of cable channels.

If you cancel a cable service, you’ll likely have to pay more for the bundle of services you signed up for, because it will be less expensive to do so.

However.

if you subscribe to multiple bundles of channels, you should still be able to get a better price for your service.

For instance, if the cable television provider offers you a package for two channels for $7 and two channels at $9 a month, you’d be able get a deal of $10.50 a month for two sets of channels and $20.25 for two additional sets of stations.

This will save you money if you sign a one-time, one-year contract for a bundled cable service and have a problem with the service.

You could also try the cable services’ own pricing tools, which may offer an even better deal if you are unhappy with a bundle. 

5.

You might be able, at a later date, to cancel the bundle You might not be able at the time of your first billing to cancel a particular bundle of bundles.

If, for instance, you are being offered two bundles of five different channels for a bundle that’s $30 a month and you sign the contract, you won’t know at the later date if the bundle is worth it.

The problem is that you may not know until you cancel, and it could cost you extra if you keep a bundle in place. 

6.

The company might try to trick your credit card If you receive a bill from a cable company for the same cable TV service for which you signed the contract but the cable channel you paid for isn’t being sold in the same area as the other bundled channels, then you may be eligible for a credit card rebate.

The reason for this is that the cable companies might try a different method of deceiving the consumer.

This method involves telling you the cable package you signed includes additional channels, which they’re using to make the claim that they’re paying less for the bundled channels.

In other words, they’re saying they are charging you more for bundles that don’t.

In addition, the payment might be made to a company that may or may not be a third party. 

7.

You should check for fraud or other fraudulent activity If you have been billed for the wrong bundle of television channels, it may be possible to get refunded for the fees paid by the cable or satellite provider to the cable cable company.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a list