Be Alert To Extra Costs

Comcast, Frontier and almost all telecommunications companies have marketing strategies that emphasize customers’ initial cost of service. But customers soon find out that their first bill is higher than they anticipated – and sometimes they get a big surprise six months or a year later.

Watch for three things when ordering new or upgraded services:

1. Equipment costs
2. The price for the same services after the introductory cost
3. Fees and taxes

Click Here to see two charts that show the initial cost of recent Comcast and Frontier offers for a package of three popular services – video (cable), telephone and Internet service.

Neither company includes required equipment costs in the highlighted price of service (although attentive customers will see a reference to these and other costs in small print). For Comcast, equipment costs start at least at $3 per month. Digital cable prices require a converter box for each television; costs vary. For Frontier, the cost per television is at least $3.99 per month for equipment.

The charts also show the full retail price of the packages – which can rise 29% to 38% – after the introductory rate offer expires.

Both companies also pass through to their customers franchise fees and other taxes the companies are responsible for paying. Fees and taxes total about $4 per month on the average cable bill and add up quickly for telephone service.

Installation costs (sometimes waived for new customers) can also affect your initial cost.

Click here for two charts that show the initial cost of recent Comcast and Frontier offers for a package of three popular services -- video (cable), telephone and Internet service.