Home Consumer A look at your changing insurance, cable and smartphone costs

A look at your changing insurance, cable and smartphone costs

By Al Sunshine, SouthFloridaReporter.com, Consumer Investigator, Sept 2, 2015 – Does Flo need more money? Progressive apparently thinks so in order to pay for all her commercials. I got just a $150 a year price hike for my coverage with NO CLAIMS the last year. “Progressive” emailed me saying it was all approved by the Florida Insurance Commissioner’s Office and was needed to cover rising costs. Still cheaper than the badly inflated premiums I had from “Allstate” for years before wising up.

A recent study in the August Issue of “Consumer Reports” found Progressive to have some of the highest rates in the country. It suggested consumers can save money by shopping around. It’s easy to find cheaper coverage. But you also have to make sure you’ve got a good enough policy to keep your car on the road after an accident, get it repaired right, and cover you for other incidental expenses IF you get hit by somebody without any insurance at all. You can also cut costs and beat the price hikes by adjusting your coverage limits and deductibles.

And if you have Comcast Cable guess what? They’re now going to meter your broadband usage and charge extra if you go over their standard usage.

Bless Big Business figuring new ways to monopolize their competition and charge whatever they want.

Faith Based Events

Don’t want Cable TV, trying to cut the cord for Internet TV?

Simple, Comcast just makes up the difference by jacking up your rates there too. For everyone who’s on Internet TV using Comcast Broadband, get ready to dig deeper into your pockets to pay for it if you go over the monthly allowance Think this’ll be the end of it? HA! Are they just setting you up for even higher broadband rates over the coming years as they get you hooked on more and more “Crack Cocaine” digital products?

“An important update about your XFINITY Internet service

We’re writing to let you know that we will be trialing a new XFINITY Internet data plan in your area. Starting October 1, 2015, your monthly data plan will include 300 GB. We will also trial a new “Unlimited Data” option that will give you the choice to purchase unlimited data for $30 per month in addition to your monthly Internet service fee.”

Comcast explains:

If you don’t want a 300 GB data plan, the new Unlimited Data option is an alternative that provides additional choice and flexibility, especially for customers who use lots of data. You can choose to enroll in the Unlimited Data option at any time for an additional fee of $30 a month, regardless of how much data you use. Enrollment in this option goes into effect on the first day of the subsequent calendar month.

Here are a few tools for you to easily track and manage your usage:

  • Usage meter – Track how much data you have used each month with our usage meter.
  • Data Usage Calculator – Estimate your data usage with our
  • calculator tool. Simply enter information on how often and how much you typically use the Internet, and the calculator will estimate your monthly data usage.
  • Notifications – If you are on the 300 GB plan, we will send you a courtesy “in-browser” notice and an email letting you know when you reach 90%, 100%, 110%, and 125% of your monthly data usage plan amount. You can also elect to receive notifications at additional thresholds as well as set up mobile text notifications. Learn more about notifications here. Notices will not be sent to customers who enroll in the unlimited data option.

If you have any additional questions about the new data usage plan, please see our FAQs. 

And that’s not the only “Stealth Price Hike” out there.

Suddenly I’m seeing smaller wine and liquor bottles on store shelves. It’s a common price hike in the food and beverage business: Rather than raising prices,  just offer smaller servings for the same price. Think you’re getting a great deal at those “Boutique Supermarkets”?

Sure the packages look great, nicely decorated and just about the exact same size as regular store brands. But open up the box and you’ll find a plastic bag of contents that may only fill the bottom third of the box. All the empty space is there to make you think you’re buying the same product for much less money than the bigger brands. Compare the price to the actual content weight and you may find it’s actually the very same price, or even more.

But they don’t tell you, do they?

Want to upgrade your Smart Phone to the latest model? Get ready for a shock if you do. The biggest Cell Phone Providers have “De-Bundled” their latest plans and are now advertising “Get the latest Smart Phones for just $30 a month!”

To bad the fine print shows THAT’S JUST FOR THE PHONE and the monthly data/text/voice plans are EXTRA. And if you do the math, you’re paying FULL PRICE for the Phone, and even though you may have a 2 year service plan, it may take you 3 years to pay it off even though you don’t have their service anymore!

Why’s that happening?

I’m hearing Apple and other manufacturers don’t like the idea of selling their products at discounts to the cellular providers, so they want to cut them out. Guess who’s the loser in these deals?

And funny how these latest “Stealth Price Hikes” are not being fully disclosed at all during the latest round of cell phone, cable and internet service ads.

Or from Flo.

Al Sunshine is a South Florida-based Broadcast and Digital Journalist whose career has spanned more than 40 years at the local and national levels. His award-winning investigations have triggered more than a dozen state and local consumer protection laws and his work’s been cited in Congressional Testimony before the U-S House of Representatives. He is best known for his “Shame On You” features for CBS Miami which sought to expose businesses, agencies and individuals defrauding or deceiving consumers, as well as endangering the safety and welfare of the general public. In 2013 Al retired from CBS Miami to set up his own Digital News Business, “Sunshine News, LLC” and Al continues to blog for the Radio, Television, Digital News Association, sponsors of the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Awards”. An avid environmentalist, Al is one of the founding members of the “Miami Pine Rocklands Coalition”. The Florida Non-Profit is fighting to save and restore the last 2% of Pine Rocklands found only in South Florida and nowhere else in the continental United States. Al was recently elected its President.