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Optimum raises prices on internet and TV subscriptions and hardly warns customers

Optimum has raised the prices of its internet and TV plans this month, and many customers have found out thanks to the arrival of surprisingly high bills.

TV packages increased as much as $ 30 a month, according to Consumer reports. Internet prices are also going up, with the basic service “Optimum Online” which is at least $ 25 a month.

Existing subscribers will not see such dramatic walks. An Altice spokesperson, who runs Optimum, says The edge that monthly invoices from existing subscribers increase by no more than $ 14.50 a month, regardless of what’s in their package. The much higher rates are only given to new customers.

Optimum is small in the US, only available in certain areas of different states, including New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. But it has a large presence in New York City, where for many (like in my own apartment building until recently) it is the only available option.

The price increases were announced last month, but many customers now notice this when the February bills arrive.

Optimum informed customers that the interest rate rise was coming, but it was easy to miss. The warning was tucked away in January’s monthly bill from subscribers, under the heading “Optimal updates” and preceded by a message about how the company is trying to provide “the most advanced services and entertainment in the nation.” And customers may not have looked completely on their bill – if you choose to receive digital statements, you must make every effort to download and view the PDF bill with the message in it.

An Altice spokesperson said the company has notified customers of the change through their billing statement and has covered the increases to “ensure that no customer is overly affected.” Pay TV prices are industry wide, “the spokesman said.

Altice has repeatedly found ways to eliminate price increases since the Optimum bought in 2015. In 2017, it started charging a modem rental – $ 5 per month for existing subscribers, $ 10 for new subscribers – while Optimum originally had no rental fee. Last year it introduced a “Network Enhancement Fee”, which in fact is only a price increase of $ 2.50 per month that the company claims to be a necessary service fee. For new customers, the rate seems to be $ 3.50 per month.

These price increases are particularly problematic because cable operators so often have monopolies over the regions in which they operate. In my own apartment, Optimum was the only option until about a year ago, when Verizon finally became available. For customers without a second choice, accepting the higher rates is virtually their only option.