If you’re an American consumer, it is more than likely that you are very picky about the services you subscribe to. The United States has one of the highest standards of living in the world. It also has one of the most extensive internet and cable TV penetrations across the globe. However, that doesn’t mean American subscribers are willing to throw away their money on substandard, overpriced services.
Of course, internet and TV providers like Charter Spectrum have made a name for themselves in offering affordable and consistent high-speed internet, cable, and home phone services. This is why it has one of the largest subscriber bases in the country, in an industry full of big players like AT&T and Comcast. But while Spectrum offers reasonably priced and dependable services, sometimes hidden charges can appear on your bill. While these can often seem like a nasty surprise, the reasons for these charges are usually valid. Read on to find out more about Spectrum’s hidden costs and fees.
What Spectrum Hidden Costs Can You Expect?
Like most internet, cable, and voice providers, Spectrum advertises great prices to attract more customers. These prices are designed to cover the costs of your service, while also ensuring the provider earns a healthy profit and continues to provide stellar services. This sounds fair enough. However, from time to time, you may find items on your bill that weren’t part of the advertised costs. This can increase the total amount of your monthly service bills, possibly throwing your monthly budget in disarray. To avoid any unexpected costs and nasty surprises, it is usually a good idea to educate yourself about the hidden costs your provider may not advertise. In Charter Spectrum’s case, this blog explores the following:
- Hidden Costs For Cable TV
- Hidden Costs For High-Speed Internet
- How To Offset Hidden Costs
Let’s explore these in more detail below.
Hidden Costs for Cable TV
The hidden costs that you might incur vary based on the service plan you select, as well as the market you are situated in. Standalone TV plans are advertised with attractive prices, but you need to remember these prices are usually only valid for the first 12 months of your subscription. However, once the promotional period ends, your TV plan’s price can go up significantly. The amount by which your TV bill increases depends on what plan you choose and what promotion was in effect when you subscribed to it. Let’s first take a look at hidden fees and costs you should be watching out for with your cable TV plan.
Professional Cable Installation Fees
Like many other cable TV providers, Spectrum offers you the choice between opting for a professional installation or choosing a self-installation. In case you choose to install your equipment yourself, you may have to pay a one-time activation fee to get your services up and running. However, the professional installation costs you $49.99 when the technician visits your house to install your service. This is still quite reasonable compared to what many other providers charge for a professional installation. However, you can avoid having to pay by using the self-install kit that Spectrum offers.
Service Charges for TV Broadcasts
Unlike installation costs, there is no way around the TV broadcast fee or surcharge. While not common practice among all providers, Spectrum charges you a TV broadcast fee in exchange for the channels it providers. These networks charge providers for the right to carry and broadcast their owned channels and content. The provider passes this fee onto you, the consumer, in return for giving you access to these channels. In virtually all cases, the $13.50 monthly TV broadcast surcharge is non-negotiable.
Charter Spectrum Reconnection Charges
The provider’s reconnection fee usually applies in two cases. The first is if you were previously a Spectrum customer who moved to another provider. If you wish to resume your Spectrum cable TV services again, you may need to pay a reconnection fee to get access. Similarly, you may also need to pay a reconnection fee if your account was suspended for the non-payment of bills. In both cases, the provider will charge you a nominal $4.99 for reconnecting your services.
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Remote and Reciever Fees Per Cable Outlet
No HD cable plan can function correctly without a receiver. The receiver is a piece of equipment that decodes digital signals into video and audio, making the sounds and visuals on your TV screen possible. Of course, Spectrum offers a compatible digital receiver with each cable plan, along with a special remote to help you operate it conveniently. Unfortunately, both the receiver and the remote cost the provider significantly, which means they aren’t free. You have to pay $6.99 per month for every outlet on your receiver.
DVR Service Charges
Where the receiver makes it possible for digital signals to be converted into audio and video, the DVR service also offers an important function for cable TV. Your DVR or Digital Video Recorder allows you to record and store your favorite content to watch at a later time. The DVR service ensures you never miss out on scheduled broadcasts again, helping you keep up with your favorite TV shows, sports events, and other entertainment. Spectrum charges you a monthly fee of $12.99 per month for a single DVR service and $19.99 per month for up to for a 4 DVR service.
DVR Rental Costs
Of course, DVR services are separate from the actual hardware. The Digital Video Recorder is a sophisticated and evolved piece of equipment. The costs that go into the research and development of such technology means they will have a solid price. But since they’re essential for the DVR service to work, Spectrum may charge you $11.99 per month as equipment rental for each DVR.
Premium Channel Add-Ons
We all love premium networks like Showtime, HBO, Starz, or Cinemax. The problem is that these channels don’t come cheap. In most markets, adding on these networks can cost you around $15 per channel per month. Of course, the top tier Spectrum TV Gold plan contains all these channels as well as premium sports networks anyway.
Late Payment Penalty
If you’re using a bonafide service, you need to pay what is due. There are no two ways about it. Virtually all providers penalize you for paying your bill late or not paying it at all. Thankfully though, Spectrum allows or a generous grace period for you to pay what is owed. You will have to pay an additional $8.95 for each month you pay your bills late.
Hidden Costs for High-Speed Internet
Charter Spectrum offers one of the most widely available high-speed internet services in the country. Thanks to a simple internet service model, and an affordable price tag, Spectrum has seen a massive increase in internet subscribers over the last few years. The provider’s single internet plan comes with speeds starting at 100 Mbps, reaching 200 Mbps in certain markets. Moreover, the provider offers unlimited data with each plan, meaning you don’t have to worry about overages. Despite this, however, you may find that your monthly Spectrum internet service bill is a bit higher than you expected. This can be due to one or more of the following factors:
Internet Installation and Activation Costs
As in TV services, Spectrum allows you the choice between installing your internet equipment yourself or opting for a professional installation. In case you choose the second option, the provider will charge you $49.99 as a one-time installation fee at the end of the billing cycle. You don’t need to pay for the installation if you go for the self-installation kit. The provider will also charge you a one-time Wi-Fi service activation fee.
Wi-Fi Equipment Rentals
Unlike many providers, Charter Spectrum does not charge you a rental for your modem and other hardware. The price of your plan covers this cost. However, the provider will charge you a rental of $5 per month in exchange for using its in-home Wi-Fi service.
Late Payment Penalty
Paying your bill on time is important if you want uninterrupted internet service. Like almost every provider, Spectrum will award you a late payment penalty if you are late in paying your bill beyond the allowed grace period. This late payment fee amounts to $8.95 per month.
Spectrum will charge you a reconnection fee in certain cases. This is especially true if you’re a former customer returning back to Spectrum or a current customer getting services resumed after suspension. The provider will charge you $$4.99 in both the above cases.
How to Offset Hidden Costs?
Charter Spectrum is one of the biggest internet and cable TV providers in the United States. It currently has a coverage footprint spanning 44 states. With millions of active subscribers, it is one of the biggest players in the American industry. However, you may find that despite the affordable price tag, you end up paying for several hidden costs you weren’t aware of. It’s really hard to avoid most of these costs.
However, to get the best value for money to save and offset these additional costs, you should always opt for bundle plans. These plans come with great price tags and can help you save significantly on all your home services. That’s not to mention convenient billing from the same great provider.