This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Why Consumers Fight Some Fees, Forgive Others

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Fees are the unpleasant little bumps that shake loose extra revenue in our increasingly high-speed consumer economy, but can we please get some national consensus on which fees are pebbles and which are potholes?

Consumers spent half a year spewing vitriol and lobbing insults at Netflix (NFLX), which separated its DVD mail service from its streaming video offerings in July and effectively doubled the $7.99 fee it once charged for both. Meanwhile, Comcast (CMCSA) has raised the average monthly cable bill in Boston from $58 in 2009 to $69 this year while increasing costs in Florida and Minnesota by an average of 5.8% -- and the impact scarcely registered.

Bank of America felt consumer wrath for its fee hikes last year, just like Netflix and Verizon, but some bigger increases stir less outrage.

Think it was any better for customers of telecom service providers? AT&T (T) U-Verse has increased the price of its base cable package by $3 a month and its base broadband offering by more than $5 a month. A 4% rate hike by DirecTV (DTV) this year spread the pain to satellite producers as well. Netflix, however, has two traits that several of those providers lack: a nationwide presence and a high profile that puts it in league with companies such as Bank of America (BAC) and Verizon (VZ).

"At the basic level, any fees that these companies put in place are going to hurt a lot more people and generate more interest and more controversy, so it's natural that people were upset about that," says John Breyault, vice president of public policy for consumer advocacy group the National Consumers League. "The cable bills, ATM fees and things like that tend to affect smaller chunks of consumers because not as many people are subscribers of Time Warner Cable (TWC) as they are of Verizon, for example."





Though New York City and Knicks fans suffer when Time Warner blacks out the MSG (MSG) Network in the middle of Jeremy Lin's star turn as point guard, Verizon heard boos much louder than those generated by the Madison Square Garden faithful when it tried to slap a $2 fee on its bill payers in December. Its "convenience fee" for one-time payments over the phone or online proved so unpopular in social media circles and among online petitioners that the fee was eliminated a day after it went public.

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,828.68 -83.43 -0.49%
S&P 500 1,967.34 -2.61 -0.13%
NASDAQ 4,452.5420 +9.8440 0.22%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs