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Bill Shock: When Your Charter Spectrum Promotion Ends…

Phillip Dampier May 2, 2019 Charter Spectrum, Competition, Consumer News 8 Comments

Your time is up. It may have been one, two, or if you are especially lucky — three years since you signed up for Charter Spectrum service. But your temporary reprieve from the high price of cable is over.

The bad news arrives in a letter:

Thank you for being a Spectrum customer. When you signed up for your services, you received a promotional discounted rate on your bill. This promotion is coming to an end. However, as a valued customer we are pleased to offer a new promotion for an additional year.

Spectrum certainly is pleased. You may not be. To avoid shocking you too much, the company does not provide a new “out the door” price. They wait until they send you your first post-promotion bill. The letter also does not remind you what you were paying, it breaks out the price of each component service of your bundle for the following 12 months in an effort to lessen the surprise.

For most Spectrum customers on a basic, new customer promotion lasting one year, the rate change is substantial — once you add it all up.

For a customer subscribed to Standard Spectrum TV with two DVR boxes, Internet Ultra (400/20 Mbps), and Spectrum Voice, here is what you can expect (prices and promotions may vary):

  • Standard Spectrum TV: Your promotional rate of $54.98 will rise to $86.97, an increase of $31.99.
  • Internet Ultra: The promotional triple-play bundled price of $54.99 increases to $74.99, up $20.
  • Spectrum Voice: The bundled price of $29.99 will decrease to $19.99, a savings of $10.

Spectrum Voice, Charter’s digital home phone line product, is the most vulnerable part of their triple play bundle. Scores of customers drop landline service at the end of a promotion because, in many cases, having the landline as part of a triple play package either came free (or almost free), or actually reduced the price of the bundle. By offering a lower rate going forward, Charter is making a token effort to convince customers not to abandon voice service, but as the company’s landline disconnects continue to accelerate, it clearly isn’t an effective tactic.

The letter also ignores Charter’s ever-rising Broadcast TV Fee, now $11.99 a month, and is compulsory for all cable TV customers. So the old monthly promotional rate of $155.75 for this particular package will rise to about $193.94, a difference of $38.19 a month. After a second 12 months, prices generally reset even higher to the published “rack rate.”

Since Charter took control of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, efforts by customers to negotiate a lower rate got much tougher, but the company’s customer retention efforts have stepped up slightly over the last year. You should still expect to pay more than you did before, but it is often possible to negotiate a slightly better deal by threatening to cancel service. Some customers report more success discussing the matter in a Spectrum cable store, cable modem and set top boxes in hand. But do not be surprised if they shrug their shoulders and agree to your request to cancel your account on the spot. Spectrum, like many cable companies, has gotten pickier about who they offer promotions to, and are willing to say goodbye to barely profitable customers, especially those only subscribed to cable TV.

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1 year ago

Dampier you are also forgetting the franchise fee of $5.90.

1 year ago

Those numbers seem off to me full rack rate of spectrum select is 65 dollars a month. 2 boxes is 15 dollars and DVR service on both boxes would be 19.99. Ultra rack rate is 91 with discount bundled with TV its 85. Phone would 19.99. Broadcast fee is 11.99 and franchise fee of 5.90. That would put you are around 221.

Brian Loew
Brian Loew
2 months ago
Reply to  Doug

proposterous I say!!

mark marklin
mark marklin
1 year ago

When they raised my rate over 35%, I called them up and told them to suck my dick.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  mark marklin

Yeah, you didn’t do that lol

jackie rademaker
jackie rademaker
9 months ago

It amazes me that if you are a loyal consistent customer you are forced to pay the highest price for all services or they tell you that you can cancel the services and go elsewhere. Spectrum does have a good product and good service BUT…if you are someone who shops around every year and switches to the company that has the lowest introductory rate you are given the lowest discounted price. Loyalty should be rewarded by these companies. Discounts should be given to people who maintain service at time intervals…it doesn’t even need to be a deep discount….just show the… Read more »

2 months ago

As a Spectrum customer with few other options, living in a tiny, but beautiful southern NW US beach town, my resentment is the creepy ways they find to always charge way more than their advertised “fantastic offer” price. Moved into a lovely new home (tiny, but just right for me) with ocean view (and cheap) which I searched for. Got a new smart tv (also cheap) and found that streaming was not necessarily cheap. Along comes Spectrum with its best offer for old customers, with 10 channel selections, along with local channels. All for $24.99 plus my internet charge. Great,… Read more »

antenna man
antenna man
16 days ago
Reply to  Pat

Put a an antenna, I did and get 30 channels to click through for free. There is never any worthy of watching anyway. I think the tv remote clicking sound is soothing for some people. so get antenna and spend the cable money on a therapist, much better results.

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