ISPs may provide a valuable service to billions of people all over the world, but that doesn’t mean every business is exactly honest in its practices. ISPs, at the end of the day, are out to make money, and sometimes these companies will participate in deceptive practices to do just that. That’s not to say all ISPs are bad, for that certainly isn’t the case, but there are certain things to watch out for. Here are three things internet service providers don’t want you to ask about, from buying modems to price and everything in between. Ask these questions to gain further insight into the company’s policies and pricing so you can get the best deal.

1. Buying a Modem Instead of Renting Theirs

Did you know that you don’t actually have to pay that extra few dollars per month to rent a modem from your ISP? That $30-$40 modem you rent for three years can end up costing you hundreds of dollars after it’s all said and done! This cheap piece of equipment may be a necessary component to your connection, but it’s not something you must rent from the internet provider. You can buy modems online on Amazon, at Best Buy, and other stores for far less than the cost of renting one for a few years.

Internet providers make quite a bit of money from renting their equipment, which is why they’re so determined to get you to do so. Think about the benefits of renting a modem out at $7 per month for three years; that’s an extra $252 over the lifetime of the contract. Combine that with late fees, service fees, installment fees, and other hidden costs, and suddenly, your internet service becomes one of the most costly monthly expenses.

When you ask your ISP about buying a modem, they’ll likely tell you that it’s impossible to use another modem with their services. A simple internet search may be able to tell you exactly what model you need to make the service work, and then you can just purchase it outright rather than renting it for hundreds of dollars per year. Save yourself the hassle and cost of renting a modem, and instead search for the model you need! You’ll thank yourself later!

2. Their Pricing Structures

When you’re new to your ISP, they don’t want you asking too many questions about the pricing of their services. Hidden fees are a favorite practice in the industry, as are setup fees and maintenance fees among others. Often, you’ll get access to an introductory price, which can convince you to sign up for a more expensive package due to this cheaper intro cost. Once the trial period is up, however, your bill could potentially double in cost. Don’t miss a payment, though! Your service will be shut off quicker than a leaking faucet.

Don’t be afraid to ask for information on how the company’s services are priced, and if the representative is hesitant or doesn’t know, don’t be afraid to keep pushing. You’ll likely be referred to a manager, but the more you understand the pricing structure, the better you’ll feel about paying that $100 per month for your internet. You’ll also be able to compare those prices with that of the competition, and thus, make a more informed decision about which internet package to sign up for.

If you’re having trouble finding the right ISP in your area, use to find internet service providers by zip code. You’ll be able to compare and contrast different ISPs based on pricing, service, and locality easily on the website.

3. Changes to Your Bill

If you’ve ever experienced a sudden change to your internet bill, you probably remember the lengthy and frustrating conversation you had over the phone with the customer service reputation. If you did finally get transferred to the right department, you probably waited on hold just to be told there was nothing to be done for it. ISPs don’t want you to ask questions about your bill, because they expect you to pay whatever they tell you to; regardless of whether or not you find it fair.

Keep a close eye on your monthly bill and any email or physical mail correspondence from your ISP to stay updated with any coming changes. Surprise changes are a favorite tactic of certain ISPs, and often, those changes are mandatory for the customers and involved higher prices.


ISPs don’t exactly have a reputation for excellence, but there are some great services to choose from. Keep these three things in mind when you’re dealing with a new ISP, and remember not to be afraid to ask questions. Don’t let your ISP pressure or bully you into a service you don’t want or can’t afford.

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