Regulators: Why are cable fees going up?

Oregon customers report increases in bills, despite being under contract

The Comcast logo on a company van, file. (Mike Mozart via Flickr Creative Commons)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Cable regulators want the Oregon Department of Justice to investigate why Comcast bills keep going up, despite customers being under contract.

Cables are connected to a satellite television box. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

While the fee increases aren’t substantial, most of them amount to just a few dollars a month, regulators say it’s easy for them to add up. Recent reports suggest it’s Comcast that is getting the brunt of the rate hike complaints.

“People feel that they signed a 2-year contract and then before the contract is over, they’ll get a bill increase,” Anna Goldenberg with the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission said. “It’s a small amount, generally… but it was not what they felt was included in their contract.”

The commission wants to help customers, but needs the state to work with them.

“We’re seeking help from the attorney general’s office to seek some guidance to help us understand how we can help our cable subscribers,” Goldenberg said.

Local regulators sent Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum a letter saying many customers have complained about new add-on fees to their set rates. Advertised rates reportedly don’t include those additional fees, meaning “the programming package is not actually available at the advertised rate.”

In a statement to KOIN 6 News, Comcast pointed the finger at broadcasters:

“The cost of retransmission imposed by broadcasters continues to increase significantly as do the costs charged by regional sports programmers, and while these fees are increasing they only defray a portion of what we are being charged.”

Rosenblum’s office is aware of the concerns and plans to meet with regulators.

Other cable providers like Frontier and CenturyLink received similar complaints, but Comcast leads the bunch in overall grievances related to rate and fee hikes.