Many cable and satellite providers try to tantalize consumers with special offers, but rates will inevitably increase – often in underhanded ways. Bundling deals can be highly suspect, so it’s important to pay attention to details to keep from getting ripped off.
The first way to tell if your cable or satellite company aims to drain your wallet is to look at the advertising itself. Bundling packages are bread and butter to telecom companies, which is why the industry offers teaser deals such as free premium channels for six months or price cuts during the first few months. Companies like to bundle a selection of channels at a higher cost, but the additional content doesn’t always work in your favor, and you don’t usually have the ability to choose the channels you want. ESPN channels could add as much as $8. The end result is a needless addition to your monthly bill. The worst part is that companies aren’t always obligated to let you know that your bill has skyrocketed.
Always be wary of auto-billing schemes because you could easily exceed your budget without noticing. Service providers such as DirecTV have faced scrutiny for automatically billing customers without notifying them, but many companies continue to do so, even if they cancel. Not all service providers engage in this practice, but it’s important to find out if yours uses automatic billing, so you can avoid excessive charges, especially if you’re under a bundling plan. The best way to stop auto-renewal billing is to read your contract’s fine print and choose manual billing instead.
Cable companies usually offer unlimited data, but data caps are slowly becoming the norm. This limit won’t prevent you from using the service, but you’ll have to pay more money to access additional data. This can be expensive if you stream TV shows or movies – especially if you live in a large family household. To avoid data fees, there’s little that you can do other than cut the cord entirely or pay super close attention to how much data you’re using.