If you don’t read the fine print, particularly in ads from cable companies, you could get snookered.
Cox advertised high speed Internet for only $19.99 per month for two years.
When you clickthrough, you realize that you have to buy cable TV service for an unstated price, but if you only want Internet service, it is $10 higher — $29.99 but only for three months.
Why couldn’t Cox simply advertise in the first place: “Buy cable TV service, get high speed Internet for only $19.99/mo for two years” ?
The promotion of triple plays (TV, Internet, and telephone) is common among cable companies so one always seems to try to outdo the other. Here’s a deal from Charter: HDTV, Internet and Phone for only $29.99 a month. Wow, sign me up.
If you look carefully, in tiny print, you can see the word “each.” So the real price is $89.97 a month. Word has it that Comcast in the recent past had a similar ad that conveyed the impression to some people that you got all three services for only $29.99 a month.
It is common to see triple plays advertised for $99, but during special promotions you can sometimes find even lower prices. Just last week, Verizon FiOS advertised a really low price — $69.95 for all three services.
When MrConsumer clicked through, he discovered there was no such price.
The lowest price shown was $79.99, and the $69.99 was nowhere to be found. Now it is possible that the $69 price was only for certain parts of the country, but there was no fine print in the original ad suggesting that.
The bottom line is that these companies should play it straight. Tell the consumer what the real offer is upfront, without having to resort to fine print or trickery.
Disclosure: MrConsumer is a member of Verizon’s Consumer Advisory Board.