Do I have to pay for my roommate's HD-TV add-ons for the cable bill?
December 27, 2007 11:17 AM   Subscribe

Do I have to pay for my roommate's HD-TV add-ons for the cable bill?

My roommate/friend wants three of us to split the cable/internet bill. That's fine, but I didn't know it included $50+ HD-TV channels until I looked at the bill that was on the table earlier this month (I also notice the bill was up to $700 which I didn't think was possible)

I don't want to pay for this, considering I do not have an HD-TV nor do I watch anything other than basic cable.

I brought this up last month and he became upset and told me he let me know what the bills would be when I moved in (August). I told him I assumed it was for cable (with movie channels -which I can also do without) and internet connection.

In fact, when I moved in, there wasn't even a TV in the living room. A month later, he went and bought an HD-TV and set it up in the living room.

To boot, neither I nor the other roommate watch the television in there because he is CONSTANTLY watching television.

I brought the situation up once again today
He is now upset, acting like a two year old and says I am being rude.
I told him just to move his HD-TV into his room.
(that way, maybe I can actually hang out in the living room, too)

I understand it is in his name and I really don't have to pay him for this stuff... but what I'm looking to do, is to somehow show him that I am paying for something I don't use. He is also a close friend and I don't want to cause any trouble.
Am I really obligated to pay for this?
posted by KogeLiz to Human Relations (57 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Am I really obligated to pay for this?

Not really, because it's not like rent, where you can talk to the landlord and easily lower the rent to accomodate others. You're not really screwing him out of money if he can lower the cable bill with a phone call. Of course, there is an offhand chance that he signed some contract based on your promise that sticks him with the same bill every month for the next year or two. In this case, tough call.

On a sidenote, how is the bill $700? Is it just several unpaid bills stacked up? Is he taking your money and not paying the bill? He sounds awfully sensitive about the whole thing.
posted by poppo at 11:26 AM on December 27, 2007


In fact, when I moved in, there wasn't even a TV in the living room. A month later, he went and bought an HD-TV and set it up in the living room.

The conditions upon which you moved in certainly don't include HDTV channels. "Cable", I suppose meant whatever he wanted to him and a totally different thing to you. I guess you both didn't clarify this, but if you're honestly not using any of these premium services, I don't think you're responsible for sharing the bill. He's going to have to make a choice to pare down what he orders or suck it up, because right now, he's just taking advantage of you.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:28 AM on December 27, 2007


Have you seen why it is costing $700? The only thing I can think of that would bring it up that high for a month would pay per view purchases.
posted by drezdn at 11:30 AM on December 27, 2007


no, you do not have to pay for this - you are not using the channels and you are not even watching that new HD TV. It is quite rude of him to expect you to split the bill when he is alone in enjoying the tv's benefits.
posted by seawallrunner at 11:36 AM on December 27, 2007


If you don't watch HDTV content, don't want to pay for it and want to prove it to your roomie it ought to be pretty simple. For example, "I don't watch HDTV, you can go ahead and cancel it. If you don't then you'll be the one paying for it. I will only pay my share of the basic cable fee."

Seriously, I can't see how he can force you or even expect you to pay anything.
posted by splice at 11:39 AM on December 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Apparently he hasn't been paying the bill.
I saw a $25.00 credit and a $10.00 credit listed as paid.
I really have no idea why they haven't shut it off, to be honest.
posted by KogeLiz at 11:39 AM on December 27, 2007


Before you make any decisions you need to figure out what the hell is costing $700. Seriously. I have a dual-tuner high definition DVR hooked up to 2 televisions, both HDTV, with every available channel (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Stars, etc) and I'm paying like $110 a month.

So that bill is for like 6 months or he is watching hours and hours of pay-per-view porn every single day, or he is ripping you off. Find out which.
posted by Justinian at 11:42 AM on December 27, 2007


Ah. Well, if he hasn't been paying the bill why should you? He'd probably just pocket the money and continue not paying the bill.
posted by Justinian at 11:42 AM on December 27, 2007


Apparently he hasn't been paying the bill.

THAT'S why he's upset at the idea of you not paying. It makes the inevitable consequences of his irresponsibility loom all the darker.
posted by hermitosis at 11:45 AM on December 27, 2007


I brought this up last month and he became upset and told me he let me know what the bills would be when I moved in (August).

Could you elaborate on this? When you moved in, did he say that bill would be X/month, and it hasn't changed since? And did you agree to pay this amount back in August without inquiring what it was you were paying for?

Because if you agreed to pay a certain amount per month without asking what you were paying for, it seems like the decent thing to do is to keep paying what you agreed to. It doesn't sound like he purposefully misled you, although it's possible there was some confusion about what "cable" meant. I don't see that confusion as being reason enough for you to withhold money you had promised, especially if he is under a contract he can't get out of.
posted by davidstandaford at 11:45 AM on December 27, 2007


When you moved in, and he told you what the bill was going to be, did either one of you discuss a dollar amount, or the specific items ('packages,' my cable company calls them) that your household would be buying?
posted by box at 11:46 AM on December 27, 2007


I guess I should amend my above comment to note the 700 dollar thing is a whole other issue that might make me reconsider my point if I knew where exactly that high of a bill came from and what shenanigans your roommate is up to...
posted by davidstandaford at 11:47 AM on December 27, 2007


And did you agree to pay this amount back in August without inquiring what it was you were paying for?

He said it included internet and cable with movie channels.
HD was not mentioned because there wasn't an HDTV.
I found out recently, the guys that lived with him before had their own HDTV and were apparently paying extra for that. But they took the TV with them.
A month later, he bought one and put it in the living room.
posted by KogeLiz at 11:50 AM on December 27, 2007


Apparently he hasn't been paying the bill.

He is also a close friend and I don't want to cause any trouble.

If he's pocketing your money, it is time to think about this statement.
posted by poppo at 11:51 AM on December 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


The HD package is generally, oh, $5-10/mo more than basic cable in and of itself. If you've got 3 or 4 people splitting it, you're quibbling over a few dollars per person. As for payment of the bill as above, that's another issue entirely.
posted by kcm at 11:51 AM on December 27, 2007


So HD was included in every bill (even when you didn't have an HDTV) and the original amount he quoted to you included paying for those HDTV channels?
posted by davidstandaford at 11:52 AM on December 27, 2007


I would ask to see the monthly bill's for every month since you've been living together. If there was a jump in price after he bought the HDTV (presumably because he started subscribing to HD channels) then I would only offer to pay for the fair third share of the original monthly cost sans HD.
posted by utsutsu at 11:52 AM on December 27, 2007


When you agreed to pay for it, back in August, did you know the specific dollar amount you were agreeing to pay? Has that number changed in the meantime?
posted by box at 11:53 AM on December 27, 2007


If there was no hdtv there when you moved in, there was no call for a reasonable person to think there were hdtv charges on the bill. If he knew the cable had hdtv charges, but didn't say anything, then he knows he withheld that information, and he should hold the bill back from you accordingly.

From what you said above, this is an additional $50 a month, correct? No way you should pay that. What's the status of what you owe to him? Is this a situation going back months - meaning do you owe him past amounts, and he is just behind on paying, or if you said "i'm not paying for those hd charges from this point forward" would you owe him nothing (for the hd charges)?
posted by cashman at 11:56 AM on December 27, 2007


"The HD package is generally, oh, $5-10/mo more than basic cable in and of itself. If you've got 3 or 4 people splitting it, you're quibbling over a few dollars per person. As for payment of the bill as above, that's another issue entirely."

I live in Boston and we have RCN. On the bill, it is an additional $50-something dollars. Also an additional montly cost for the HD converter.
posted by KogeLiz at 11:59 AM on December 27, 2007


From what you said above, this is an additional $50 a month, correct? No way you should pay that. What's the status of what you owe to him? Is this a situation going back months - meaning do you owe him past amounts, and he is just behind on paying, or if you said "i'm not paying for those hd charges from this point forward" would you owe him nothing (for the hd charges)?

I am up-to-date on paying him my part of the bill.
I just wanted to let him know that I no longer want to pay an even $50 each if only he wants the HDTV extras.
posted by KogeLiz at 12:01 PM on December 27, 2007


Yeah, as per usual we really don't have enough info to judge this situation.
posted by Justinian at 12:01 PM on December 27, 2007


Yeah, as per usual we really don't have enough info to judge this situation.

What more information would you like?
posted by KogeLiz at 12:04 PM on December 27, 2007


Cable does not equal HDTV.
What does the other roomie have to say about this?
So the short, emotional outburst of an answer is No, you shouldn't have to pay.

Here is the long drawn-out, logical "non-answer":

Perhaps he had an expectation that you also would buy an HDTV considering that his old roomies had one of their own.

Maybe he is not being as greedy or sneaky as we are painting him to be, but rather, there seems to have been a misunderstanding - a lot of problems among friends and strangers seem to arise this way.

I remember offering a friend tickets to a Bryan Adams concert, which I could no longer attend. My friend excitedly said yes. I thought he was going to pay me. He thought the tickets were free. At the end, no one went to the concert (and no one got paid anything, and there are two less friends in the world... sigh).

In retrospect, it wasn't his fault at all - it is just that the money issue was never discussed. Should I have brought up the money? Shoud he? Now I know to cover all my bases so that there are no surprises.

If you decide that there indeed was a misunderstanding, and this guy truly is a good guy and a good friend, then perhaps you should sit down and figure things out. Come to a compromise. And in the future, never assume anything - always cover your bases!
posted by bitteroldman at 12:04 PM on December 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


KogeLiz - what, exactly, did you agree to when you moved in? A fixed dollar amount? Certain services? That's the key question.
posted by Justinian at 12:05 PM on December 27, 2007


What more information would you like?

When you moved in, and he told you what the bill was going to be, did either one of you discuss a dollar amount, or the specific items ('packages,' my cable company calls them) that your household would be buying?

When you agreed to pay for it, back in August, did you know the specific dollar amount you were agreeing to pay? Has that number changed since then?
posted by box at 12:07 PM on December 27, 2007


Are you really just saying you don't want to pay your share of the $50 HD cost, though? 'Cos that's like $16.50/month. Which, admittedly, is $200/year, but might be worth not making a stink over, depending on your financial situation and how much you value peace of mind. It's not right that he expect it of you, but there you go.

His childish insistence that you owe him what he says you owe him because because because you mean rude person is a sign that this isn't a groovy co-housing situation to be in, however. For your happiness, and potentially the friendship, I'd DTMFA and find new digs.

If you can't DTMFA, then you should sit down and go through the bills together. If he think's that is rude of you, he really doesn't understand the obligations of being guy-who-is-charging-you-money.
posted by mumkin at 12:19 PM on December 27, 2007


The $700 amount makes me suspect that the previous room mates took their DVR / HD decoder with them. His bill may include a one-off payment for that. If it does he should have got prior approval from you.
posted by NailsTheCat at 12:20 PM on December 27, 2007


Jeez, just pay 1/3 of the cable bill. How much more is it per month, $5, $10, $16.66 dollars? It sounds like you agreed up front to pay your portion of "the cable bill" without finding out the details. Seriously, do you never watch any HD cable? Do you quickly skip all through the HD channels when channel surfing, making sure you don't accidentally watch any HD content?

Anyway, the larger issue here is roommate harmony. If you do micro-bookkeeping on the cable bill, it opens the door for them to micro-bookkeep your comsumption of heat, air conditioning, community beer, etc., and that can only lead to unhappiness for everyone.

If you consume alot less than your roommates on all fronts, yet it bothers you to pay 1/3, then find a new living situation.
posted by ldenneau at 12:22 PM on December 27, 2007


I think ldenneau's got the right idea here.

However, if it looks like he's not actually paying the bill, you should just pay the cable company directly with your portion.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:24 PM on December 27, 2007


I feel like you're obligated to pay for what you use -- and maybe more if there was a belief that splitting the bill three ways meant "divided by 3, no matter who uses what."

As has been said above, without all the information, I don't think we can play Judge Wapner and issue a final judgment for the plaintiff or the defendant on this particular episode of The Internet's People's Court.

what I'm looking to do, is to somehow show him that I am paying for something I don't use. He is also a close friend and I don't want to cause any trouble. Am I really obligated to pay for this?


Three tips for what to do with a close friend in this situation to avoid trouble:

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Since it seems you haven't been able to sit down with the bill and figure out what you may or may not owe monthly in either the pre-existing situation or some future situation where you don't pay for cable you don't use, it seems like you might not have all the facts either. So get the bill and figure it out. Not only do you deserve to see it as a roommate who is paying a bill, but you also owe it to your friend to know exactly what's up.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:33 PM on December 27, 2007


I think we need to know what the $700 is. If it's him taking you and other roomies cut of the cable money and just not paying the bill, then I wouldn't give him another dollar. (I would also be careful about paying the cable company directly, because they might "accidentally" add you to the account and start sending collections after you.)
posted by happyturtle at 12:39 PM on December 27, 2007


Jeez, just pay 1/3 of the cable bill. How much more is it per month, $5, $10, $16.66 dollars? It sounds like you agreed up front to pay your portion of "the cable bill" without finding out the details. Seriously, do you never watch any HD cable? Do you quickly skip all through the HD channels when channel surfing, making sure you don't accidentally watch any HD content?

I don't have an HDTV and never have. The TV in the living room is an HDTV, but he's in there about 4-5 hours a night after work watching television... so I never use the TV. I do remember once I was watching a show and he came in and asked me why I wasn't watching it in HD and I told him I didn't really care to. Then he flipped the channels up to like 700 or something where apparently all the HD channels are.
So, no even if I watch TV in the living room, no, i am never scanning in the 700s.

And as someone on a tight budget, I really just don't want to be paying extra for anything - especially something I don't use or have access to.
posted by KogeLiz at 12:45 PM on December 27, 2007


I haven't brought up the $700 owed because the service is still on.
That's his own problem if he let it get that deep.
If it was shut off, then yes, I would probably be pissed that I paid him money that went to whatever he felt like spending it on.
posted by KogeLiz at 12:47 PM on December 27, 2007


KogeLiz, here's the $64,000 question: what, exactly, did you agree to when you moved in?
posted by box at 12:47 PM on December 27, 2007


KogeLiz, here's the $64,000 question: what, exactly, did you agree to when you moved in?

He told me cable would be $50 for three of us.
Yes, I agreed and have been paying $50 a month since I moved in 4 months ago.
So, great.
But, I didn't know I was paying for HD and additional stuff.
He said it was for internet and cable.

"He said it included internet and cable with movie channels.
HD was not mentioned because there wasn't an HDTV.
I found out recently, the guys that lived with him before had their own HDTV and were apparently paying extra for that. But they took the TV with them.
A month later, he bought one and put it in the living room."

So, it's a weird situation, because apparently, i think he was planning on buying his own HDTV after these guys moved out and took theirs -- and therefore keeping the HD fees and stuff on the bill.
posted by KogeLiz at 12:55 PM on December 27, 2007


New question:
Is it rude to just ask him to move his HDTV into his room?
I really don't want to be bothered with paying for the additional costs nor do I want to be bothered with not being able to use the living room.
posted by KogeLiz at 12:58 PM on December 27, 2007


Wait, I'm confused. You agreed to pay $50 for your share of the cable bill. You subsequently realized that this amount included HD charges, and you'd prefer to have a lower overall cable bill? Is that right?

How much is the difference between basic and HD per month? Because if it's minimal, it may not be worth the fight, especially if you don't relish getting into a bitchy fight over whether or not you have ever watched the HD-TV over his shoulder without shelling out a few bucks.

It seems to me that you had different ideas of what "the cable bill" meant. You both assumed you were on the same page, and you were both wrong. Compromise.

To boot, neither I nor the other roommate watch the television in there because he is CONSTANTLY watching television.

Like the $700 bucks, this is a whole 'nother cohabitation issue. If you had time to watch what you wanted in the living room, would you not mind paying extra for HD quite so much? Which is more annoying, the knowledge that your cable bill could be lower, or that you don't get enough personal time in the shared space? Don't make it a fight over money if that's not really the true problem unless you want a future of back-and-forth sniping over how both of you choose to spend money every time you don't agree on some otherwise solvable issue.
posted by desuetude at 1:03 PM on December 27, 2007


He told me cable would be $50 for three of us.
Yes, I agreed and have been paying $50 a month since I moved in 4 months ago.
So, great.
But, I didn't know I was paying for HD and additional stuff.
He said it was for internet and cable.


That's tricky. You agreed to pay an amount and now you don't want to The tricky part is that if he misled you about what the payment was for you might be in the right. You also might have a point if the rate had gone up but it hasn't. From what little I can read of your situation you probably on the wrong side of this argument.

And yes, asking him to move his HDTV in the context of this disagreement would be rude. You might want to settle the bill thing before you address the living room usage.
posted by rdr at 1:18 PM on December 27, 2007


If you had time to watch what you wanted in the living room, would you not mind paying extra for HD quite so much?

no. I have never watched an HD channel. I have no idea why people are obsessed with it.
I have no interest in this.
posted by KogeLiz at 1:21 PM on December 27, 2007


If it was shut off, then yes, I would probably be pissed that I paid him money that went to whatever he felt like spending it on.

I think you should be thinking along the lines of when it will be shut off.

There is simply no residential cable company in North America that allows customers to have a $700 balance as a matter of course. That bill, therefore, is screaming to be paid, and it likely won't be long before the services start to get cut off. If the internet is through the cable company, how are you going to come back to us and ask what to do then?

But, to your original question: You have an onus to pay the agreed-upon $50 because you agreed to it without doing your due diligence and you created an expectation by paying it for months already. If your friend is a good friend, he'll listen to your concerns and try and help you pay a more realistic share. You can help him do so by having some suggestions ready. Try checking the cable company's website for info about packages, etc... It won't hurt you to know their prices, since you can't really judge their value (or even 1/3 of their value) to you unless you do.

And the TV placement issue is just an iteration of the classic 'shared spaces' issue; if any room-mate is monopolizing a shared area of the house, unless they pay the lion's share of rent, should be politely asked to take their activities to another room once in a while.

I'd like to close by saying that if you can't talk to one another about the living arrangements, you can't live together. If it's really the case that you're the one looking to talk and he's acting like a two-year old and dodging things, then you need to just be firm, make and explain your decision, and stick to it until he comes to you prepared to talk.
posted by chudmonkey at 1:29 PM on December 27, 2007


And geez, try not to be so scornful of HDTV. For one thing, Luddites have never been particularly fun or popular people. Secondly, if you give your room-mate the impression that he's making a stupid or frivolous decision, his likely defensiveness won't aid your conversation.
posted by chudmonkey at 1:36 PM on December 27, 2007


Seconding chudmonkey and myself...talk to him about this. You did agree to pay the $50 and anything involving you not paying it involves a re-negotiation of the roommate agreement, whether or not you feel this is fair or not.

Also, though IANYCP *, like you, my household pays around $150 a month for internet/cable, and this includes premium movie channels (which it sounds like you agreed to pay for even though you may now find you don't want to do so/aren't using them). In my case, HD channels are not an extra fee as they are included as part of this package in any case, so the anti-HD argument may be a moot point and really hurt your argument if this is the case in your situation as well.

* - I Am Not Your Cable Provider
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:47 PM on December 27, 2007


I wouldn't give him an effin nickel for hdtv. He's already skated by, using 100% of the services while paying 33%. If he wants to hold your money, fine, but I think you're well within your bounds to refuse to pay for something he misled you about.

IANAL but I recall there needed to be a "meeting of the minds" for this sort of thing. A regular person isn't going to ask about hdtv if there's no hdtv in the house. That's just stupid. That's like saying you'll pay for the gas used, and then a month later he goes out and buys an SUV and insists that "gas" meant that too. Bullshit.

Wrap this up while you can, how you can, and while it's a cable bill. Your "friend" sounds shady as hell if he doesn't even acknowledge the obviousness that a regular person would have no reason to believe hdtv was involved when they agreed to pay for a portion of the cable. Instead he's playing stupid little gotcha! semantic games.

Good luck.
posted by cashman at 1:48 PM on December 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


no. I have never watched an HD channel. I have no idea why people are obsessed with it.
I have no interest in this.


I don't get it either. My brother-in-law was excitedly showing us the HD thing when we visited, and having witnessed it, I give it a big meh. But then again, I don't subscribe to cable at all, so I'm in a minority when it comes to TV-watching habits.

That said, I stick to my earlier advice. If you want to stay friends, compromise. You agreed to pay a third of "the cable bill" without either of you realizing that you guys did not agree on what that meant. You can see his side, right? He said a third was $50, you said fine, and now you want to back out? Perhaps he can see your side as well -- you're watching your pennies and cable is obviously not your priority.

Possible compromises: You pony up for the extra $ but he agrees to, say, keep the living room spotless, since he spends more time there. Or he removes the cost of the HD from your share, but you pay for...something of the household that you love more than he does. If you approach it without having to be The One Who Is Right, he may be very happy to move the TV into his room to remove any doubt as to who the HD belongs to. But acknowledge the misunderstanding, quit pointing fingers, and figure out how you can both be happy and non-resentful.

The alternative is that you and your buddy are seriously for real going to fight over television, of all things.
posted by desuetude at 1:55 PM on December 27, 2007


Is there a convertor or HD PVR box? Did he rent it, or simply have the cost of it added to the bill (which could explain a several hundred dollar increase).
posted by jkaczor at 2:10 PM on December 27, 2007


Let's take 'em in a row.

#1: There is a past due amount of $700 on the cable bill, predating your arrival, and your individual contribution is a suspiciously round number.

If he ran up this past due amount before you arrived, and you didn't verbally agree to help him pay it off, then this $700 isn't on your plate to help him repay. At the same time, I find it hard to believe your monthly bill is always within $5 or so of $150 per month; that $50 is a bit too pat.

For both of these reasons, you have the right to see the amount on the bill and have your individual contributions adjusted accordingly for the actual flat recurring monthly fees*. Of course, he might have been rounding your contributions down (whch is the upstanding thing to do, and indicative of a good friend) so if this reveals your contribution should actually be more, be prepared to accept that additional expense with good grace. It's only fair. But if it reveals you're subsidizing his past due amount by more than 10% ($5), he's not being a good friend to either of you. Anything less than 10% in either direction isn't worth bothering about, in the name of friendship and good roommate energy.

#2: Your roommate is monopolizing a common area for exclusive use.

You say he's always watching television, so you cannot watch it, and he's doing so in a common area? Well, that's a very bad (and very common) roommate problem; he's turned a common area into "his" area (with "his" television, that he can kick you off of), and you can't very well bring in your own television and put it alongside his, can you?

One of two things needs to happen here, or you'll end up resenting each other and not communicating:

a) he moves his big 'ol television to his own room, and you two get your own televisions, and everyone agrees that there is no television in the common area; or

b) you start keeping a schedule that grants each of you certain times you get to use the television as you wish, so that a minimum number of weekly hours are available for you to share this not-really-common-resource in a very-much-common-area.

Anything else is likely FAIL.

#3: He's charging you an equal share of the flat rate services, but he's the only one benefiting from the premium portion of that flat rate.

He's the only one with an HD TV, but you're all paying for it. Is the impact less than 10% ($5) each? Don't sweat it. Anything more, however, and he's taking advantage of you.

Of course you can watch the HD channels too -- but you don't have an HD set, and since he's not sharing his with you (#2 above) you're not using those services. It is absolutely fair to get a reduction in your monthly contribution so that you're not subsidizing his premium services.

And the day he either starts sharing his TV (see #2 option B) or you purchase an HD-capable television, your contribution goes back up.

#4: Your "good friend" is taking a simple, straightforward mathematical issue and complicating it with emotions and noise, for apparently selfish reasons.

To be good roommates, you must communicate, and everything must be transparent. There's no reason for bills to be hidden, if everyone is contributing to them; there's no reason for you to be called "rude" or otherwise have the waters be muddied by tangents whenever you try to discuss these things.

He's being a bad roommate. The only acceptable behavior in this situation is for him to pull out the bills, illustrate how your individual contributions are appropriate, and explicitly take responsibility for his past due and premium service charges (or past due, if you all decide to go with #2 option B.) And, if he turns out to be completely on the up-and-up and agreeable about the whole thing, the only acceptable thing for you to do is be pleasant and agreeable back. Certainly, no matter what, don't antagonize him by calling him a two-year-old, even if he is behaving like one.

Good luck
posted by davejay at 2:10 PM on December 27, 2007


Ignore everything after "Good luck", as I left some draft garbage there.

Also, the * is:

* Pay per view and similar one-off charges are the responsibility of the person incurring the charge.
posted by davejay at 2:12 PM on December 27, 2007


Oh, one more thing: if he's unwilling to share his television with you, and you don't have one of your own, you don't owe money for the television portion of the bill no matter what you agreed to, because you agreed in good faith that you'd get to utilize the service fairly.

Of course, if it's at that point, you're probably better off moving out.
posted by davejay at 2:14 PM on December 27, 2007


Having the internet on your side in an argument with your roommate is worth nothing. I'm not sure why you posted this question here... you seem to have favorited the answers that agreed with the position you held already.
posted by smackfu at 4:05 PM on December 27, 2007


Having the internet on your side in an argument with your roommate is worth nothing. I'm not sure why you posted this question here... you seem to have favorited the answers that agreed with the position you held already.

i favored the ones that didn't have one sentence replies... and ones that told me that i needed to talk with my roommate and look over the bill with him.
I also favored some that said I should have looked into exactly what he meant by "cable"


also, thanks for your advice.
posted by KogeLiz at 4:57 PM on December 27, 2007


The HD package is generally, oh, $5-10/mo more than basic cable in and of itself. If you've got 3 or 4 people splitting it, you're quibbling over a few dollars per person. As for payment of the bill as above, that's another issue entirely.

also, apparently they charge extra for HD HBO and the like.
posted by KogeLiz at 5:00 PM on December 27, 2007


Tell him this: It's like the landline phone bill. Everyone splits the bill for the basic phone service, because everyone theoretically gets the benefit of having a phone. Everyone gets the benefit of having basic cable. Now, if I rang my grandmother in the UK and spent an hour and a half on the phone to her, would you expect me to pay for that long-distance call? That's why I want you to pay for the HDTV shows that only you watch.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:16 PM on December 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


also, apparently they charge extra for HD HBO and the like.

In addition to what you've been advised already, I suggest you confirm for yourself the cost of all of this stuff and not take anybody's word for it. Because from the pricing structure you're describing, you're either getting jacked by your roommate or by the cable company. The latter wouldn't surprise me at all, but you should make sure that's the case.
posted by Justinian at 6:00 PM on December 27, 2007


Your friend is not acting in good faith. Call up the cable company and find out how much cable, Internet and premium channels are at regular rate (include the HD lineup because, as others have stated, this is a marginal charge and not worth arguing about). Your charge should be around $50 a month, perhaps a bit less, but you should not pay for his negligence or past cable bills. That's ridiculous.
posted by geoff. at 8:54 PM on December 27, 2007


For the sake of knowing... I assume that your name is not on the cable bill (as you are not freaking out about the 700 dollars that is past due)? Are there any other bills that you share that he takes care of? Any that have you both listed as responsibly parties? What is the situation with rent? Is he the one that pays it? Does he pay it on time? Are fees incurred if he is late that he passing along to you and the other roommate? Also, if they disconnect the cable for non-payment, they will probably charge you guys a reconnect fee when you bring the bill current... Let him know that HE will be covering that cost if it comes to that.

Incidentally, if you really don't care about the HD then tell him that you're fine with canceling that part of it... and that you don't want to incur the extra cost for something you don't use or care about. If he wants it, he pays for it. Insist on seeing ALL the bills that you are paying on... If he has an issue with that, he's being unreasonable.

Finally, to weigh in on the HD discussion, I honestly didn't see the big freaking deal until I watched sports on HD. The detail is amazing, and when you notice it there, you begin to notice it everywhere. :o) That is all.
posted by Mookbear at 3:28 AM on December 28, 2007


First off, you agreed to pay $50 a month toward cable and internet. You should pay it, as that was the agreement, unless, of course, the cable gets shut off, in which case you're under no obligation to continue to pay. It's not as if he's asking you to pay $230 to keep the cable on.

FWIW, I checked. RCN does not charge extra for HD channels, although the converter price is a few dollars more. The HD premiums come as part of the price for the premium channel. In other words, you've decided you don't have enough money and you're welching on a previously agreed upon deal.

In my experience, $150 is not at all unreasonable for digital cable and all the premium channels and Internet service. I'm paying more than that, about $180 after taxes and everything and my cable company isn't particularly expensive. I have basic, expanded basic, the various digital packages, the premium channels, an HD-DVR, and a couple of CableCARDs. That part is about $120 with taxes. Add on the 12/1 Internet and it's up to $180. In my case, as in yours, there is no particular HD 'package,' and the premiums along with the various non-premium movie channels cost about $40.

As an aside, I don't see how you can't see the benefit of HD unless you have bad vision. Watching old shows that were shot on film like The Equalizer in HD is just awesome. Movies are ten times better, IMO, if for no other reason than their being presented much closer to their orignal aspect ratio.
posted by wierdo at 9:03 PM on December 28, 2007


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