This Day On The Street
Continue to site
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

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 - Get Report), 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 - Get Report) and Verizon (VZ - Get Report).

"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

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

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
Stocks Under $10

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

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

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
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
BAC $14.80 -1.50%
NFLX $90.26 -0.86%
VZ $51.02 -1.30%
AAPL $95.03 -2.90%
FB $116.73 7.20%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,830.76 -210.79 -1.17%
S&P 500 2,075.81 -19.34 -0.92%
NASDAQ 4,805.2910 -57.85 -1.19%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs