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5 Overlooked Digital Charges to Eliminate and Save $500 Print E-mail
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House - Utilities
Written by Omie Ismail   
Wednesday, 07 April 2010 03:28
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5 Overlooked Digital Charges to Eliminate and Save $500
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The big things that cost you a bundle are easy to spot and get a handle on. But what about all those little pesky charges that you seldom notice - do they add up to more than a hill of beans? Take your Phonecommunication and entertainment charges - if you overlook these five little beans, it could end up costing you $500 or more each year. If you want to cut your cable bill or phone bill read on.

Cable Box and Modem Rental Fees:

Even if you’ve already negotiated the best possible cable deal with your provider, there’s one charge that you probably missed: the cable box fee or the cable modem fee. If your cable service is provided by Charter Communications or another big operator, they’ll charge you a whopping $5 to $6.95 a month for each of these boxes. $10 - $12 a month for both of these works out to over $120 a year. If you’re stuck to cable, you can purchase a digital cable box in good condition online for about $30 and the cable modem will cost you another $25. Some carriers won't let you buy the box, so check with them first.  Work to negotiate the monthly cost down if they won't or threaten to go to satellite.  It will take all of 6 months to recoup the cost. Ditch the rental and if you want to save more, dump your cable altogether.

Annual Fee Savings: $130


Federal Subscriber Line Charge

Many traditional phone companies responded to the VOIP threat from Skype and Vonage by offering a “free” bundled phone line. To get a slice of the VOIP business, cable operators got on the bandwagon and made similar offers for no cost telephone lines. I decided to take advantage of my cable operator’s generosity so that I could have a free dedicated fax line for 12 months. No biggie I thought, I can always cancel after a year or re-up the free deal. The problem was that I never paid attention to the fees, which definitely were not free.

The biggest catch was a peculiar charge - the “End User Common Line Primary”– at least that’s how my cable operator referred to this non-governmental fee. It’s also known as Federal Subscriber Line Charge. No matter what they call it, what’s it for? It turns out that the FCC allows them to charge up to $6.50 per primary line even though their cost is far lower. The rationale is that it’s a way to level the playing field with local phone companies. Your provider will be glad to take your $6.50 and the end result is that the ‘free line’ that you might use for all of 30 minutes a month ends up costing you about $78 a year.


You can always eliminate this charge by getting rid of the ‘free line’ that ain't so free; or you can try calling your telecom provider and tell them that you know that this charge bears no resemblance to their true cost and that you are going to drop them if they don’t remove it. It’s nothing more than a profit maximizer posturing as a government ordained fee. And it tells you everything you need to know about why telcos love giving away “free” lines.

Annual Fee Savings: $78


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