Charter expands broadcast TV surcharge

Charter
Both of Charter’s 2016 acquisitions, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, already included the additional surcharge on customer bills.

Charter Communications has expanded its controversial broadcast TV surcharge, with Massachusetts customers reporting a new $4.47-a-month line item on their bills. 

According to local paper The Republican, residents in and around Worcester received a notice in their bill, highlighting the inclusion of the new charge. 

"We've begun breaking out the broadcast TV surcharge as a specific line on customer statements, as we do in other Charter systems, to reflect the cost of local broadcast TV stations," Heidi Vandenbrouck, Charter's Worcester-based senior communications manager, told The Republican. 

FierceCable sent an email to Charter headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, to find out how proliferated its broadcast surcharge is across its footprint. Representatives from the company have not yet responded.

Both of Charter’s 2016 acquisitions, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, already included these line items on customer bills.

RELATED: Charter responds to billing suit: ‘We want customers to understand what they’re paying for’

In November, a San Diego state court sued Charter for false advertising and breach of contract, with the complaint claiming that the MSO was improperly charging fees, such as broadcast and sports TV surcharges, not included in the advertised price.

Charter “and its wholly owned subsidiary Time Warner Cable, Inc. (TWC) is engaging in a massive illegal scheme of falsely advertising and promising its cable television service plans for much lower prices than it actually charges,” said the suit (PDF).

“The reality is that Charter invented these surcharges in order to deceive its customers by advertising and promising a lower price while actually charging a higher price," the lawsuit added.

The suit followed a similar class action complaint levied against Comcast last month.

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