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Altice-Cablevision Advertises $99 Promotion, But It Really Cost This Customer $160+

Phillip Dampier May 29, 2018 Altice USA, Cablevision (see Altice USA), Consumer News 1 Comment

Cable and satellite companies are notorious for baiting customers with cheap offers for internet, phone, and television service and then shocking them when the first much-higher-than-expected bill arrives, but Altice’s Optimum/Cablevision takes the bait and switch promotion to a whole new level.

Jim C. (who didn’t want to reveal his last name) is a Cablevision customer of over ten years who recently saw a rare promotion targeting existing customers offering 200 Mbps internet and “Core” television service for $99/month. That was nearly $40 less than what he was paying for service, and was his chance to slim down his TV package and get a speed upgrade as well.

“I called the number to ask about the promotion because I know how these companies work,” Jim told Stop the Cap! “You always have to get them to read off the fine print because many fees and surcharges get buried there.”

Jim was right. An impatient Optimum representative was willing to admit “there are some extra fees,” and sighed as Jim asked for details. By the time Jim was finished writing them down, he needed a second sheet of paper.

“This should be illegal — it is clearly ‘bait and switch’ designed to lure you at one price and then stick you with so many fees it turns out to be not much of a deal at all,” Jim shared. “In fact, it turned out to be more expensive than what I am paying right now!”

For the benefit of customers seeing similar promotions, here is a breakdown of just some of the extra fees not included in the $99 price:

Promotion: $99 Optimum Core Double Play Upgrade (Core TV + 200 Mbps internet) for existing customers
Term: 2-year agreement, with penalties for ending contract early

Gotchas:

  • Promotion for HBO and Showtime expires after 12 months; customers pay a regular price of $14.95 for HBO and $11.95 for Showtime during months 13-24. If you want access to on-demand titles, add $4.95/mo for each premium network.
  • Cloud DVR promotion ends after 12 months; next 12 months you owe them the regular price, which is a whopping $17.95 a month.
  • Service, equipment rates and random fees are subject to tax in some areas, up to 5.3%.
  • FCC “User Fee” of $0.08/month and fees for public, educational, and government local access channels cost up to $1.35/month.
  • Mandatory sports surcharge is $7.97/month.
  • Mandatory Broadcast TV surcharge is $4.99/month

Equipment Fees:

  • Modem rental is $10 a month.
  • Altice One cable boxes needed for TV service carry a $20/month fee. “Mini boxes” are available for $10/month per TV.

That $99 promotion actually costs the average customer with two boxes at least $163.39 a month during the first twelve months, not including taxes, and assuming the customer owns their modem and has one Altice One and one Mini set-top box. During the second year, that “$99 offer” will cost customers in excess of $218 a month, assuming one keeps both premium networks and wants on-demand access as well.

“This is completely dishonest and outrageous,” said Jim. “You absolutely must pay very close attention to the fine print in these offers, because they can get very expensive, very fast.”

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What happened to the holiday music station it’s horrible now

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