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Old 12-22-2016, 10:02 AM
 
9,068 posts, read 9,225,623 times
Reputation: 4665

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There are six line items on my cable billed labelled State Tax or State Surcharge. I live in Pennsylvania.

Internet
$0.12 State Sales Tax Internet

Cable TV
$1.51 State Sales Tax

Telephone
$0.13 State Sales Tax
$1.50 State Gross Receipts Tax
$0.08 State Telecom Relay Surcharge

For the life of me I can't figure out what percentage these taxes are on what amount.
For instance the $0.12 could be 0.5% of $24.

The cable company's FAQ web page provides no help as to how these values are calculated except they seem to imply that the Gross Receipts tax is not a percentage, but a fixed amount.
  • State Sales Tax: A tax levied by a state government on the sale of tangible personal property and/or certain services such as telephone or cable.
  • State Gross Receipts Tax: A tax levied by a state government on all intrastate telephone services.
  • State Telecom Relay Surcharge: A state surcharge on telephone access lines to support the telephone relay service designed for persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired.

There is a state web site, but it doesn't explain any percentages
http://www.puc.state.pa.us/consumer_...hone_bill.aspx


Is there any way to know how these taxes are calculated?
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Old 12-23-2016, 08:10 AM
 
214 posts, read 311,813 times
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yeah it's all junk fees. Better off subscribing to a streaming TV service where they don't charge any of this garbage.
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Old 12-23-2016, 01:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel350z View Post
yeah it's all junk fees. Better off subscribing to a streaming TV service where they don't charge any of this garbage.
The cable company charges $59.99 for basic cable TV for the first 12 months, but now the Broadcast TV, Sports Programming , and Entertainment Networks Surcharge is going up to $24 in January. I feel that surcharges should be for options, not required fees. It's just a way to advertise an artificially low rate. I am surprised that the government is allowing companies to pull off this sham.

SLing TV has a $25 streaming package for up to three devices at one time. This option does not include Disney owned channels like ESPN, no local broadcast, and no Fox News.

But specifically, I have no idea how these taxes are calculated. I changed my bill so it went down 5%, but State Tax went up 2%.
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Old 12-23-2016, 04:49 PM
 
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
11,416 posts, read 13,961,436 times
Reputation: 10929
Cable TV providers and telcos are notorious for the "bait and switch" in pricing.
What they do should be a criminal offense. I'm on U Verse and they provide a verbal quote on the phone, but when I receive the bill, it's always 8-10% higher than what is quoted. You cannot do a thing once the bill arrives because you are already locked into a contract. Crooks.
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Old 12-24-2016, 10:03 AM
 
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These fees and taxes are for cable television on my bill

$2.97 Franchise Fee: A fee paid to a municipality to allow use of the public streets and rights-of-way and operate a cable television system within that municipality. This is a contractual agreement with the town/city ans is normally assessed on all cable revenue.

$0.06 Regulatory Fee: This fee is an annual assessment imposed by the FCC pursuant to Public Law 103-66, Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993. The FCC uses these monies to offset costs associated with its enforcement, public service, international and policy and rulemaking activities.

$1.51 State Sales Tax: A tax levied by a state government on the sale of tangible personal property and/or certain services such as telephone or cable.

$7.78 Broadcast TV Surcharge
$5.57 Sports Programming Surcharge
$4.60 Entertainment Networks Surcharge
$18.67 - To be increased by another $6 next month

While the first three are passed through to government agencies, the last three represent costs of doing business with suppliers of entertainment. They are in addition to the $59.99 for the cable TV and the cost of renting the set top boxes and DVRs.

The advertised rate of $59.99 (good for only 12 months) really should be $84.65 + $2 for minimum required single set top box for one television. These surcharges are not optional.

But the entire service industry is overwhelming consumers with below the line pricing. Hotels, resorts, taxis, cable TV, telcos, etc. are all flooding people with below the line surcharges.
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Old 12-24-2016, 12:53 PM
 
Location: Phoenix-Valley of the Sun
2,462 posts, read 1,203,437 times
Reputation: 3047
and they want to know why people are cutting the cord.
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Old 12-27-2016, 08:19 AM
 
3,272 posts, read 1,944,916 times
Reputation: 6284
We just called Comcast yesterday to dump the TV part of our TV/internet bill (we only had Basic TV, their lowest level). I had read all the new rates and fees that were going into effect at the beginning of the year. As soon as you say the word, "Cancel", they start wheeling and dealing. They said if we kept the TV part, they would lower our total bill enough to cover all the new rates and fees and actually be a bit cheaper than we are paying right now (before the rate increase). It's funny, because we don't even own a TV and we always had to buy the Basic TV/internet bundle to get the cheapest rate for internet. But Comcast wants to tell its advertisers that they have as many TV subscribers as possible, so they make deals to keep you as a TV customer. Of course, we will have to call again when that "special" rate expires.

My BIL's cable company has something called the "Retention Department" (probably all the cable companies do). The people in that department are authorized to make good deals to people threatening to cancel. He now has the direct phone number for the Retention Department and I am sure he will call them regularly!

It's ridiculous that we have to go through this, but the cable companies keep creeping up the rates and fees. And when you have TV on your bill, you get additional fees and taxes (which is why we wanted to cancel it).

The phone call to Comcast prompted by this article, which also made me read my most recent bill carefully, as it had all the changes in rates and fees: Why is your pay-TV bill rising? 'Free' TV now socks consumers with billions in fees
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Old 12-28-2016, 06:20 PM
 
1,080 posts, read 730,194 times
Reputation: 626
and they wonder why people are cutting the cord with all of these taxes and bogus fees.. not to mention price increases
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Old 01-18-2017, 05:03 AM
 
9,068 posts, read 9,225,623 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ground_pounder View Post
and they wonder why people are cutting the cord with all of these taxes and bogus fees.. not to mention price increases
My cable company charges $60 for cable TV, but the surcharges for broadcast, entertainment and sports are now $24 (or 40%). It would seem to me that it would be a lot fairer if the bill said $40 for providing the pipe, and $44 for the fees to the networks (as a guess as to actual costs). They could even provide on their website a detailed list of what they pay to each network. That way the consumer could actually see what each channel costs.

I have said repeatedly that most people understand that half the price of the movie ticket at the theater goes to the studio, and half is retained by the cinema circuit for the operations of the movie theater. Profits and general and administrative expenses come entirely from concession sales.

Then comes equipment rental. The policy of most cable companies is that equipment to watch TV on the first set is charged at a nominal rate ($2 or $3 per month) and then at a much higher rate for additional televisions.

I have one old set top box (Motorola DCT700) that has been around long enough that the cost is fairly well known. They were all manufactured in 2005 and 2006 According to FCC regulations cable companies had to install them by July 1 2007 and then they could be rented out as long as they lasted, but no new boxes could be installed after that date. They cost the cable company $80 at the time. These boxes do not provide HD video, but I find them useful for little used rooms, or to transmit music to stereo equipment. You cannot buy these boxes retail. I inquired about getting another one of these set top boxes, and I was told they leased for $72 a year. My friend pays $240 a year for three of these set top boxes.

Obviously these boxes that only costs $80 a decade ago, and is still generating those kind of lease fees is a pretty impressive ROI by the cable company. So once again the lease fee is not in question, but it should be tied to the price and age of the equipment. Once the cable company has collected 3X the price of the equipment, they should either retire it, or rent it for a nominal fee.

Cell phones can be the exemplar here. I was looking at a cell phone that costs $129 at Best Buy. The cellular company charged $240 payable over 24 monthly payment of $10 apiece. Although that is a hefty markup, the consumer shouldn't have to pay forever unless he wants a new phone.
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