Lawmakers seek assurance that FCC will enforce new consumer protection law


Washington (April 3, 2020) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) today wrote to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to urge it to vigorously enforce important, pro-consumer provisions in the Television Viewer Protection Act that will address the lack of transparency and unfairness of certain billing practices in the pay-TV market. Effective June 2020, the new law will require cable and satellite TV providers to disclose all fees before consumers sign up for service, allow cancellations within 24 hours without penalty, and charge consumers only for equipment that they actually use.


“Consumers deserve price transparency, a right to change their mind without exorbitant penalties, and the knowledge that they will only be charged for services and equipment they actually use,” write Senator Markey and Congresswoman Eshoo in their letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and members of the Commission. “Federal law now provides these assurances, and we appreciate the Commission executing the will of the U.S. Congress to promote this critical consumer protection statute.”


A copy of the letter can be found HERE.


In October 2019, a Consumer Reports study concluded that cable TV consumers are paying an extra $450 a year on average in company-imposed fees. Consumers are often not explicitly told at point of sale about the total charges they will face, and they have no right to cancel once they receive their bills.


Last year, Senator Markey and Congresswoman Eshoo co-authored the Truth-In-Billing, Remedies, and User Empowerment over (TRUE) Fees Act (S.510/H.R.1220), which was endorsed by Public Knowledge, Consumer Reports, the Consumer Federation of America, New America’s Open Technology Institute, Truth in Advertising, and the National Consumer Law Center. The TRUE Fees Act was the basis for the consumer protection provisions that were subsequently enacted in the Television Viewer Protection Act.