What Happens if Your Cable Bill Is Late?

When financial times are tough, you may have to avoid paying certain bills to make sure that you have enough money to pay the important ones. Many people who find themselves in this situation decide to skip paying the cable bill, since cable service is not essential. When you make this decision, you will still face some potential consequences.

Late Fees and Calls

In the beginning, the consequences of not paying your cable bill will be relatively minor. When you are only a few days late, the cable company will typically call you to ask if you will be paying your bill. When you make your payment late, the cable company will also typically charge you a late fee. This late fee can vary depending on the provider, but it may be somewhere between $5 and $20.

Lose Cable

After a certain amount of time, the cable company will turn off your cable signal. The cable company usually gives you a grace period of several days after your due date before this occurs. If you do not make your payment before the grace period elapses, then the cable company will turn off your cable subscription. You will not be able to watch cable television again until you pay your bill and any applicable late fees that were charged.

Credit Score Damage

When you cannot afford to make your cable payment, the creditor will typically report it to the credit bureaus. When you miss a payment, the information will eventually make its way to the credit bureaus. Since 35 percent of your credit score is based on your payment history, this can significantly impact your score. It will usually take a few months before the information will find its way into your credit report and hurt your score.


When you do not pay a bill that you have agreed to pay, your creditor could potentially take you to court and try to get a judgment against you. When dealing with a cable bill, the amount that you owe will likely be relatively small. Because of this, the cable company may not pursue any legal action against you. If the cable company does file a lawsuit against you, it will usually be in small claims court. If a judgment is issued against you, this also will affect your credit score.