Baggage Fees

Baggage Fees 1/27/2013 7:00 PM Eastern

Occasionally, you will read about some new idea a company cooks up to charge consumers more for the same service.

Sometimes, in the case of fees to check a bag on an airline, the price fluctuates a bit after competing carriers react to the idea.

Other times, as with the $2 fee that Verizon Communications a year or so ago wanted to charge customers who pay their bill over the phone, the publicity alone will cause the company to back down.

And then there are times when consumers realize they are getting something worthwhile for that extra fee and are willing to pay it.

That seems to be the case with the monthly “surcharge” that pay TV companies have begun to tack onto monthly bills in response to the ridiculous growth of regional sports networks and their cost.

As Mike Reynolds points out in his story about Time Warner Cable’s expected deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers that will lead to yet another sports network in that region, the price tag to pay TV carriers that pick up all the available RSNs there will be around $15 per month.

Consumers have learned over the years that sports channels are expensive. That realization, I believe, is what made it possible for some cable companies to refuse to add the NFL Network for years before all the carriers caved in. I mean — this is the National Football League. Where was the massive outcry?

I haven’t seen a huge backlash against either DirecTV’s $3 surcharge or the new $2.42 fee Verizon FiOS TV will charge for regional sports networks. I think those fees will stick, and other TV providers will follow suit.

At the same time, carriers need to be creative in making packages that let consumers opt out of sports networks if they don’t want them, and thus avoid the charge. FiOS has done that.

I and many other sports fans are sick of the greed that leads to one-team networks that drive the cost TV bills sky-high. But I’m also willing to pay more so non-sports fans won’t have to.

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