There are very many ISPs out there, who advertise attractive deals to catch your eye and reel you in towards a subscription. However, many people who sign up for internet service later find internet service providers tend to throw in extra charges in the bill they send in at the end of the month. You may be shocked by the extra $20 charge for something you did not even know you were getting in the first place.
As a consumer, you can protest hidden internet fees should you ever encounter them. However, we find internet service providers generally list out the charges you can incur, either on their plan details page, or in their terms and conditions. Some are crafty enough to bury this vital information in some obscure cranny on their website, so that most consumers remain unaware of it and stay likely to sign up. While miscellaneous fees are bad, it is the relatively hidden typical fees, which you should be most aware of.
Introductory Price and Normal Price
First off, these two are not the same. You may find internet service providers offering a connection for insane prices, sign up for one, and see a steep rise in the bill amount after a year is up. The problem here is that you did not pay attention to the wording of the introductory deal. May ISPs offer remarkably low-priced connections whose fees stay the same for a limited period. You need to watch how long that is, because after you exceed it, the monthly rate rises to what the provider offers as standard. They may also this the “prevailing monthly rate”.
Places to Look for the Standard Internet Rates
- Offer details page: When going through plan options offered by different providers, you are bound to see some text under the plan price you are interested in, usually something like “pricing info” or “see offer details”. Click on this and you will likely be taken to a page that has complete details regarding the pricing and validity of different deals. Nine times out of ten, this information will be displayed in a format that is hard to sit and read through, but that is exactly what you should do.
- Page footer: If there is an asterisk next to a promotion you are interested in, you can scroll down until you find the same thing at the bottom, next to the information you are looking for. This will be tiny-print text giving out details on the current offer, as well as regular pricing it will default to once the promotional period is up. Language like “Limited time offer” and “One year offer” should be attended to, because that tells you how long you can enjoy the advertised perks. Furthermore, you will find internet service providers are not required to mention what exactly the “standard” rates are, which means you would have to check that out as well.
- Online shopping cart: One place to look for the normal pricing is the online purchase page. Most ISPs would tell you the typical rates as you choose options.
Perks of Promotional Pricing
- If you find internet service providers offering attractive promotions, and sign up for one, there is a guarantee that you will be paying a relatively low bill amount for a fixed duration, which can be year, or the length of the contract.
- While being treated to internet service at a low price, you have the option to find and line up other options to witch to once the contract is up. This does not work if you have subscribed to a lifetime deal, or even a normal one where you pay month-to-month.
You find internet service providers that charge extra for renting out a modem, router, or both. This is not much of a “hidden” fee, especially when signing up initially. However, many people tend to overlook it, much to their financial detriment.
Renting is easy, but most ISPs charge inordinately, often to the tune of $10-15 a month. That said, owning a modem or router that is compatible with your service choice can be a good thing in the long term, but the upfront cost will no doubt seem steep. You may be able to get the money back after a year or so, and buy and start using a branded and compatible wireless router.
When buying your own equipment, you need to ensure it works with the services you are getting. Double check with the provider to see if there will be connectivity issues after you set it up, and if there is, ask them if they can sell you a modem router combo that is guaranteed to work.
Finding Rental Fee Information
You generally find internet service providers to be upfront about the need for renting equipment. The only problem is, almost every provider puts this information in a different place on their website. There are many possible stops, you can make online for said information, such as the following.
- The provider’s equipment page
- The provider’s plan details and options page
- Their service support page
- A page listing “authorized devices”
- A page listing the terms of service
If you have equipment you can use, then see if the provider has a site dedicated to information regarding its compatibility. Some of the bigger Telcos have pages where you have the option to order compliant internet accessories right off the bat. The catch with some ISPs is that they may require you to use solely their equipment as part of the requirement for service guarantee, so you should be aware if this is the case. If none of this goes anywhere, them up and ask how you can get the needed equipment.
Data Limit Fees
The average internet user does a variety of things online, such as stream videos, look through social media pages, pay bills, etc. All this usage still leaves them on the safe side of the data limit. However, many users burn through data a lot faster than this, which is why they need a proportionally high data allowance per month, which of course would cost more. The data caps and fees would vary based on the provider you chose to go with, although extra data is usually charged at around $10 for 50 GB.
Figuring Out your Data Limit Fees
Clicking on stuff like “See offer details” can get you information that includes details on your intended plan’s monthly data allowance. This will likely be accompanied by a way to purchase additional data each month, or even purchase unlimited data. Triple play package providers would also list out the pricing benefits of combining services, one of these often being unlimited internet data.
If you have questions on data usage, you should check out the support page on the provider’s website. It will have FAQs, as well as the topical articles covering every aspect of the deals they are offering. Sometimes, you find internet service providers like XFINITY® who help subscribers stay within the data cap by alerting them they have consumed a high percentage of monthly allowed data.
Late Payment Fees
Defaulting on your internet bill payment almost always invites a late fee, no matter which ISP you are getting service from. This is one area, where they tend not to budge, and the late fee for a month can range between $5 and $25. This is why setting up an automatic draft is a good idea. If you decide not to do that for some reason, at least set yourself a reminder that alerts you when the payment date is near. Additionally, some ISPs charge a return check fee in cases where the payment does not clear, and this applies to card payments as well.
Finding Information on Late Payment Fees
The first place to look for information on late payment fees, is the Support page on the provider’s website. After that, you should also check out the “billing terms and conditions”, because that is bound to cover returned payments, late payments, and reactivation costs resulting from the provider cutting off service because you did not pay for a long while.
Dropping, Moving, and Cancelling Fees
You would normally find internet service providers do not mandate service contracts, at least not the good ones. Everyone offers the contact option though, and once you sign, you have to keep paying until it expires, or be charged an early termination fee. Often in the case of large providers, this fee is prorated based on the duration of service you have already paid for. That means if you are just a month shy of contract expiry, you would have to pay lower early termination fee than if you had, say, half a year left to go.
Certain providers also need you to get a contract extension whenever you change your address. This lets you steer clear of an early termination fee, but your contract length may get extended as a result. Just be sure to read the terms and conditions thoroughly. If you cancel a single service component of a service bundle before the promotion you availed ends, you may well lose all of the reduced rates on the individual services.
Setup Fees and Costs
When subscribing to cheap internet service from a provider, you would normally be given the option to establish your own modem router in the home. Most ISPs set it up for customers at no extra charge. If you want this done by a professional technician, the ISP would tell you how much that would cost. Just be sure you do not miss out on any free installation offers, particularly if you are dealing with unique equipment, such as in the case of satellite or fiber internet. Even ISPs that normally have charge in place for this may offer it gratis, as part of a promotion.
Finding Out about Internet Setup Fees
Information regarding fees for internet setup can be found alongside the list of equipment you need to begin using the service. This may mean that what you are looking for is on the “Terms of Service” page. If the provider likes to be open with such information, they may even put it up on a plan pricing page. This is even more probable if they are waiving the installation fee as part of a promotion.
Other Places to Go for Fee and Charge Information
When you try to uncover any hidden internet fees from a provider’s side, and their main pages have nothing of use to you, then it is best to head on to their community forum. Such forums always have employees monitoring them, which mean, at any time of day, you can ask them about the costs, as well as why your bill is so high. Some forums even have discussions between employees and subscribers, where the former is able to remove any mischarges the latter has been subjected to.
If even that does not work, then up their customer service team. If you are lucky, you may find someone to help you out at understanding whatever is bothering you.
It is common to find internet service providers who wish to sell you the three main entertainment service as a bundle – TV, internet, and phone. Clumping them together not only makes payments simpler, it also lets you get off paying a discounted price. When there are two services in a bundle, it is called a double play package, and when there are three services being clumped, it is called a triple play package. Following are some of the benefits of bundling.
- A single bill: This carries the overall monthly fees you need to pay for getting internet, phone, and TV service in your home. It saves you time and minimizes risk of late payment.
- Sign-on Bonuses: Many people find internet service providers that offer huge incentives to people willing to drop their old provider and come over. On top of that, if you order more than one service, your incentives get bigger as well. Many companies have been known to give gift cards worth over $ to new customers who bought a triple play bundle. Based on the package of choice, there may even be an option to get free service for the first several months.
- Faster internet: A cable provider may upgrade your internet speed because you chose to bundle your cable and internet services together. You may also stand to receive special features, products, and other incentives.
- Membership Rewards: Customers who bundle may get entered into a rewards program which lets them earn points that can later be cashed in for merchandise.