House Passes Eshoo Provisions to Protect Consumers and Crack Down on Unfair Billing Practices

December 10, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the House passed the Television Viewer Protection Act, which includes key consumer protections based on Rep. Eshoo’s TRUE Fees Act and Modern Television Act. The TRUE Fees provisions provide Americans with pricing transparency when they sign up for cable and satellite TV, and the Modern Television Act provision protects small cable operators, enabling them to band together in negotiations for programming to lower costs for consumers.

“Cable companies pocket an estimated $28 billion a year from the American people by advertising one price to customers, but add other confusing charges to their bills,” Rep. Eshoo said. “With the House passing key consumer protections from my TRUE Fees Act and Modern Television Act, subscribers of cable and satellite TV will be protected. The legislation cuts the cord on hidden fees while also ensuring that the subscribers of small cable operators are not paying an unfair amount in programming costs because large broadcast companies refuse to negotiate fairly.”

On December 10, 2019, the House passed H.R. 5035, the Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019. Key provisions of H.R. 5035 based on the TRUE Fees Act require cable and satellite TV providers to disclose an all-in price to consumers, including fees and taxes, before consumers sign up for a service; send consumers a formal notice of fees and all-in prices within 24 hours of signing up for a service; and grant consumers 24 hours to cancel after receiving formal notice of fees, without penalty.

H.R. 5035 also includes a provision to extend “good faith” requirements to buying groups of small cable operators, based on Rep. Eshoo and Scalise’s bipartisan H.R. 3994, the Modern Television Act of 2019.

As a stand-alone bill, H.R. 1220, the TRUE Fees Act, has been endorsed by Consumer Reports; the National Association of Broadcasters; Public Knowledge; the Consumer Federation of America; New America’s Open Technology Institute; Truth in Advertising; and the National Consumer Law Center, on behalf of its low-income clients.