Four Democratic Members of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee are asking the nation's leading wireless and wireline providers about recently reported billing practices indicating the companies are nickel-and-diming consumers to boost revenue. Often referred to as "below-the-line" fees, these administrative, recovery or service fees are being added to consumer bills and generating hundreds of millions of dollars for U.S. communications companies.
Communications and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) and her fellow Subcommittee Members Reps. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and Jim Matheson (D-Utah) are leading the inquiry.
"Consumers already pay substantial sums for their telephone and Internet service," Eshoo said. "My hope is that our inquiry will shed some light on billing practices and result in a fairer deal for consumers."
"When consumers sign up for phone service, they deserve transparency and a clear picture of the costs and the charges they will be responsible for each month," Luján said. "Adding additional fees that are not clearly disclosed harms a consumer's ability to make the best decision that meets their individual needs and hides the full price they will pay. Companies have a responsibility to provide consumers with a clear picture of the price of the service that they are signing up for."
The Members sent letters today to AT&T, AT&T Mobility, CenturyLink, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Communications, and Verizon Wireless. Each company received the same letter, and copies of those letters can be found below. The letters are accompanied with examples of a wireline and wireless provider adding "below-the-line" fees. Those documents can also be found below.