Michigan cable customers would get alert when promotion rate expires, bill proposes


A bill has been introduced in the state House to alert Michigan cable customers before a promotional rate ends and their cable bill increases.

The legislation was introduced by House Democratic Whip Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, and has 12 co-sponsors.

"The plan would keep customers from being caught unaware by price hikes and give them time to shop for better deals," said a Moss press release announcing the proposal.

"Many cable providers offer discounted promotional rates that are god for several months or years, but when that time is up, customers are often caught by surprise by a cable bill that's suddenly much larger," Moss said in the press release. "My bill would simply warn customers that the promotional period is about to end, and that their rates will soon increase."

House Bill 4465, which earned bipartisan co-sponsors in the Michigan House, would not require cable providers to offer certain promotional rates, or dictate how long promotional periods may last -- "it simply gives customers information they can use to make sound financial decisions," the press release said.

"Customers could then call the cable company to switch plans, negotiate for a better rate, or shop around to other cable or satellite television providers for a better deal," said the press release.

Consumer complaints against telecommunications, cable and satellite TV companies exceeded 700 in 2016, the second top complaint filed with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection team, the press release said.

"This legislation aims to protect consumers, especially those on fixed incomes, who do not anticipate the fee hike on their bill when the promotional period ends," Moss said in the press release. "Once they know their rate is about to change, they can take steps to either prepare for a larger bill or change their cable service."

Co-sponsors include Reps. Martin Howrykak, R-Troy; Kristy Pagan, D-Canton; Terry Sabo, D-Muskegon; Cara Clemente, D-Lincoln Park; Bill Sowerby, D-Clinton Township; Pam Faris, D-Clio; Sherry Gay-Degnogo, D-Detroit; Leslie Love, D-Detroit; Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids; Scott Dianda, D-Calumet; Peter Lucido, R-Washington Township, and Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor.

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Communications and Technology.