Good Question: Where Do Those ‘Fees’ Come From?

By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You sign up for a $50 cell phone plan, but the bill comes to more than $60. It’s the same story with your cable TV bill. So, what are all of those fees and where does the money actually go?

Charges, taxes and fees are where our cell phone and cable TV bills become very confusing.

Viewers like Nicole in Apple Valley asked, so we analyzed all those fees, like “The Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge,” which costs Jason DeRusha $1.25.

The phone company gets the money because they choose to charge us to cover the cost of FCC licenses and regulations. They also pass along the Federal Universal Service Charge.

The federal government requires phone companies to chip into a fund that helps get broadband and wireless access to schools, libraries and rural areas.

Next, taxes. The federal government charges 5 percent tax and Minnesota charges the regular sales tax at 6.875 percent. Plus, there is an 80-cent fee for a 911 fee each month.

In 2009, Minnesota collected $51.3 million in 911 fees. That pays to connect every new phone line to 911.

Let’s do the cable bill. There are the same state and local taxes. However, there is the Franchise Fee. DeRusha pays $4.20 a month. It goes to your local cites. Comcast pays to be the only company putting cable underground. Well, we pay.

Also, some of that money goes to broadcast city council meetings. There’s also a community TV fee, which, in the Northwest Suburbs, goes to Cable 12.

More from Jason DeRusha
  • Larry D. Wendlandt

    perhaps their should be legislation that requires advertising to include the total product cost not some fictitious amount.

  • Dan McKenzie

    This was one of the worst examples of “journalism” I have seen, on TV, for a long, long time. So, you read off the different fees and the charges for those fees. You provided little information on what those fees are for or what they do or what can be done to get rid of them. What good was this piece of trash? I don’t need anyone reading my phone or cable bill charges to me! I know what they are, and I would like to get rid of them! For goodness sake, you have the publics attention — don’t waste that incredible opportunity on garbage “reporting.”

  • It's a free market

    If you don’t like the fee’s don’t get the service, that’s the beauty of a free market. As long as my local municipality carves out a monopoly for Comcast, my money will gladly go to Dish network instead.

  • Global Enslavement

    It’s simple to figure out. The fees represent the politicians burning thirst (which can never be extinguished) to steal your money and give it to someone else who they think need it more than you.

    The politicians have to pay off the promises(bribes) that they gauranteed to the unions, elderly, military,illegals, etc. So, they invent these fees to “protect” you , but funnel the money to the zombie voters that voted for them, because hey, you got to look out for yourself, right?

    The voting sheeple in this country astounds me.

  • K. robinson

    I f this is all trash why do you even watch. let alone make time to comment.

  • Annette

    Yes, If you don’t like all the fees watch network TV for free and buy a prepaid cellphone instead.

  • bb

    I deeply despise comcast.

  • Barbara

    On my cell phone bill recently, I was charged over $3 for the 911 tax b/c I actually had to call 911 the month prior. So do you get charged extra if you actually use the service that you’ve been paying for even though you haven’t used it? That seems really backwards to me. Can you do any follow up on this Jason?

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