BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York Attorney General Letitia James is urging seven major cable and satellite television providers to cut fees during the COVID-19 pandemic, in part, because of the lack of live sports programming, a major selling point for tv channel packages.
According to the AG, fees have not been reduced to match the loss of live sports programming forced by the cancellation or postponement of live sporting events across the country. The Attorney General's Office estimates that subscribers pay up to $20 a month in extra fees to be able watch live sports channels and companies are not offering refunds or cancellations of services.
Letters requesting fee cuts were sent on Wednesday to Charter Communications (Spectrum's parent company), Altice USA, AT&T Inc., Comcast Cable, DISH Network, RCN Corporation and Verizon Communications.
“At a time when so many New Yorkers have lost their jobs and are struggling, it is grossly unfair that cable and satellite television providers would continue to charge fees for services they are not even providing,” said Attorney General James. “These companies must step up and immediately propose plans to cut charges and provide much needed financial relief. This crisis has brought new economic anxiety for all New Yorkers, and I will continue to protect the wallets of working people at every turn."
In the letter sent to companies, Attorney General James wants the cable and satellite providers to give the state a plan to provide, “appropriate refunds, discounts and reductions of charges and fees, payment deferrals, and waiver of termination fees, at least until live sports programming is resumed.”
Charter/Spectrum says their company is still being charged for the cost of live sports programming and will pass along any rebates they receive to their customers. According to a media spokesperson for Charter, "this is a decision for the leagues, teams and networks to resolve."
A representative for Verizon says their company has been in discussions with sports leagues and channel programmers to,"create a solution that provides relief to customers until live sports return to television."