Internet providers can no longer charge you fees to rent modems, routers you actually own

New federal law stops phantom rental fees after six-month delay

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Jacob van Cleef
Consumer Watchdog, Associate

Author: Jacob van Cleef

Consumer Watchdog, Associate

Started on staff: 2020
B.A. Villanova University

Jacob works to advance U.S. PIRG’s Consumer Watchdog campaign Jacob lives in Philadelphia where he enjoys soccer, listening to podcasts and cooking.

Have you looked at a bill and noticed random fees that you weren’t expecting? You probably have. These random fees are so common that it may be more difficult to think of a bill that doesn’t have them. They can be found anywhere from airline flights to food delivery to plumbing repairs. While some of those fees make enough sense to begrudgingly accept them, some fees make no sense and seem to only arbitrarily cost customers more money. 

Thankfully, one of the more arbitrary fees is no more.

Internet service providers can no longer charge a fee for customers using their own modems or routers instead of renting them. In case you didn’t know that was allowed, yes, a company used to be able to charge you a fee for not renting its equipment for your internet service. That is a victory for those consumers wanting transparent billing and increased control over their possessions. Companies should not make additional money for providing no additional service, and that is what fees like that do. This fee became illegal on Dec 20.

It now becomes more advisable that consumers buy their own modems and routers. There is obviously an upfront cost when buying them, but after a year or two, the cost will be less than if you had rented. In addition, consumers can buy better equipment than would be rented to them.

If you use your own equipment, check your bill for any inaccurate fees. If fees still appear for using your own equipment, call your internet provider to request those fees be removed immediately. Moving forward, we hope more of these random fees will be eliminated from bills in the different industries in which they are rampant. Transparent billing is important for consumers so they can properly compare different companies’ services and have full knowledge and control over their own finances.

Jacob van Cleef
Consumer Watchdog, Associate

Author: Jacob van Cleef

Consumer Watchdog, Associate

Started on staff: 2020
B.A. Villanova University

Jacob works to advance U.S. PIRG’s Consumer Watchdog campaign Jacob lives in Philadelphia where he enjoys soccer, listening to podcasts and cooking.