Q. I am thinking of subscribing to Charter Spectrum and I see on their web site that prices start at $44 a month for video service for the first year. But what do they charge after the first year? If I get it, will my prices go sky high after the first year promotional prices? Will I be stuck in a contract if they do? — Gene, Chincoteague, Virginia.
Gene, I hear you. Charter, the parent of Spectrum TV and Internet service, does not make it easy for a new customer to find out what he or she will pay after the first-year promotional price expires. The cable operator’s web site only mentions that ‘standard rates’ will apply in year two and beyond. But it doesn’t say on the Home Page, or any other easily found page, what those standard rates are. You have to dig deep to find the rate card.
But I found the standard rates after some searching on the site. Before I tell you what they are, let me explain how Charter Spectrum’s promotional prices work.
First, unlike DIRECTV, Dish and Comcast (and others), there are no contracts. So if you are unhappy after the first year — or even after a month or two — you can cancel without paying a penalty. (This might be a major reason why Spectrum is actually adding video subscribers while its rivals are losing them.)
Charter’s first-year promo plans begin with Select (125 channels) for $44.99 a month for 12 months. The Silver package, which comes with 175 channels, costs $74.99 a month for the first year, and the Gold plan (200 channels) goes for $94.99 a month.
If your first year is over, the Select package now costs $73.99 a month; the Silver package costs $103.99 a month; and the Gold package is $123.99 a month. Of course, those are current prices. If you subscribe now, chances are good that Charter will raise them before your second year begins. Satellite and cable operators normally raise rates at least once a year.
In addition, Charter Spectrum now charges a Broadcast TV fee up to $16.45 a month, and a receiver and remote fee of $6.99 a month. However, the cable service does not charge a regional sports fee, unlike Dish, DIRECTV and Comcast.
Final note: Charter also has a ‘Basic’ plan for $23.89 a month, which includes your local channels and several other channels that you could get with a good antenna. That is not a promotional price; it’s the standard rate at any time.
Gene, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann