Cord cutter or cable keeper, we can use this help | Editorial

It’s been a while since Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, D-Gloucester, was praised here for proposing a bill that goes back to his roots as a former TV consumer reporter. Consider it done. New legislation just dropped by Moriarty involves TV, as well as consumerism. It would make New Jersey the first U.S. state to require that ads for cable TV service and other video subscription services display “all-in” charges — not misleading teaser prices that exclude a host of mandatory monthly fees. Loopholes in fine print have aggravated customers for years, with ads for cellphone service and car leases, too. But, as consumers increasingly weigh whether staying connected to cable, or subscribing to several streaming services and phone apps, buys the most desired “content” for their money, it’s a good time to make the providers come clean. You know the ad-copy drill:. For $79 or $89 a month, Comcast or Fios promise you the moon and the stars, if you’re willing to keep them around for a year or two. Dish and Direct TV satellite dealers do the same. Of course, it’s never just $79 or $89. Add local broadcast and sports channel fees that cost around another $20 a month. You can’t escape them, even ...

The one subscription trick all cord-cutters should know

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: There are too many subscription services—so many, in fact, that you might even forget that they’re silently siphoning away your funds. There are a lot of ways to deal with this problem, from maintaining and auditing a subscription list, to setting cancellation reminders. But here’s a better idea: Unless you’re certain about keeping a streaming video subscription for the long haul, just cancel it immediately after signing up. Not everyone realizes this, but once you’ve paid for a month of HBO Now, CBS All Access, or pretty much any other streaming TV service, you are entitled to that full month even after you’ve cancelled. These companies don’t do prorated refunds, which is unfortunate if you forget to cancel a free trial, but it’s great for avoiding automatic renewal in the first place. With so many new services offering their own exclusive shows, subscribing in one-month increments is a great way to keep your monthly TV bill in check. There is one caveat to this trick: If you sign up for a video service through a streaming TV device such as Roku, Fire TV, or Apple TV, chances are you won’t be able to cancel through that same device. Most...