Demand Cable And Phone Companies Credit You For Outage, They Will Try To Resist

November 6, 2011
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While Cox Cable is providing rebates to Connecticut customers who contact the company telling it how many days they did not have service, Comcast is giving different answers to different people.

Mike D sent us a post this evening saying:

“I spoke with Comcast today, Nov 9. We were without cable/telephone/internet access from the afternoon of Sat. Oct 29 to the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 8, a total of ten plus days. ”

“The regular Comcast rep said we were not entitled to any adjustment, as we did not report the outage(!!!). A supervisor later offered us $25 – roughly 40% my calculation of the value of undelivered services. I declined and promptly filed an online complaint with the CT DPUC (DEEP). I would encourage anyone in a similar position to do the same.”

However, Gene, wrote me tonight that he did get a credit.

“I called Comcast this evening and spoke to a thoroughly professional and understanding account rep. I told her we had been without service from 10/29 through 11/4 – and then spotty service between 11/4 and today with cable going in and out for a few hours at a time. She credited us 1/3rd of our monthly bill and thanked me for my business and asked me to call back anytime the service goes out again.”

And Sen. Len Suzio send an email out this evening claiming that Comcast would give a rebate:

“Comcast and Cox Communications will issue credit to customers who lost service during the recent storm. Customers need to let the companies know how long they were without service. Contact Cox Communications at 860-436-4269 or NewEngland.Services@cox.com . Contact Comcast by calling 1-800-COMCAST (1-800-266-2278) .

But COMCAST Connecticut Spokeswoman Laura Brubacker insisted that the company isn’t giving refunds for all service outages due to the storm:

“In most cases, for customers who do not have cable service, it is a direct result of a commercial power outage.  We are working closely with the respective power companies and following their restoration efforts to ensure our customers services are working properly shortly after power is restored.”

In a small number of cases, customers might not have cable service even after power is restored due to more extensive damage caused by fallen trees and poles. In these cases, we will work directly with customers to issue credits on a case-by-case basis. For customers who have commercial power and still don’t have Comcast services, they should call 1-800-COMCAST.  This was an unprecedented storm that had an extraordinary impact.  Thanks to the tireless work of our employees, many of whom were personally affected by the storm, we’re making good progress in restoring cable service.  We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding, and will continue to work until service has been restored for all.”

Both the governor and attorney general have so far ducked answering questions on the Comcast issue. Despite daily promises from the AG’s office of a response, there has yet to be one as of 12:50 p.m. today.

Dan Lovallo, host of Talk of Connecticut several Connecticut radio station, brought the issue up Friday when I was a guest on his show on WDRC AM 1360 in Hartford, WSNG AM 610 in Torrington, WWCO AM 1240 in Waterbury, and WMMW AM 1470 in Meriden. He mentioned that a relative in Eastern Connecticut was able to secure a $31 cable refund.

Dan Lovallo

The first indication that Comcast was not going to play fair came from Laura Brubaker, Comcast Ct spokeswoman, who wrote to me Monday that:

“Credits will be handled on a case by case basis for customers whose services are not working after power is restored,” she wrote me. “Most issues are directly related to commercial power and services should be working for those customers as power is restored.”

Normally Ms. Brubaker is much clearer and has been helpful in solving customer complaints. This time she ducked the question about automatic credits so I guess we have to read between the lines. My reading is that Comcast, the largest cable provider in Connecticut, is hoping you will just let things slide. Don’t.

Her follow-up response was: “If customers don’t have cable service after their power is restored—yes—they should call.”

Nonsense, you should DEMAND a credit for EVERY DAY you did not receive their service.

I will post all responses I receive from other cable and telephone companies.

Cox however is prepared to give credit, a smart move that its customers should remember. 

“Cox will issue credits for lost service on an individual customer basis, but customers need to contact us to let us know how long they were without service,” Cox spokeswoman Amy Quinn wrote me this afternoon.

And while you are at it, its a good time to ask that you be given the same lower rate that new customers get. If they say no, ask to speak to the RETENTION representative and DEMAND the reduction and tell them you will switch to satellite TV or drop the landline if you don’t get it.

Meanwhile, you can hear me on the Dan Lovallo show every Tuesday at 4:30 (except for next week when Dan has jury duty that day and I will be on Wednesday).

Also, I will be in the Bloomfield studio with Dan the first Friday of every month from 4 to 5 p.m. to talk and listen to call-ins.

We had a fiery session Friday and scores of callers roasting CL&P, NU, elected officials and regulators. There were also some well-deserved thanks to linesmen and tree removal guys and gals who are working under dangerous conditions to get power back up.

 

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33 Responses to Demand Cable And Phone Companies Credit You For Outage, They Will Try To Resist

  1. Frank on November 5, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Why should a third-party company (Comcast) be responsible for no service due to a lack of electrical power? Do you ask for a credit on your taxes when the city or county does road construction and forces you to make a detour?

    • George Gombossy on November 5, 2011 at 1:25 pm

      Frank, thanks for posting your comment. Comcast is not a third party. Comcast owns its own cable lines that go into your home. If Comcast is unable to provide service, it should follow what Cox is doing and giving refunds.

  2. Joe on November 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    If the trees took down your power lines, then your cable lines went down with them. The cable companies are implying that their cable lines have been completely in tact throughout this ordeal, which is nonsense.

    • George Gombossy on November 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm

      Thanks for your comment Joe. I think it may be a little more complicated. You could lose your cable without losing electricity as they are on different wires and the cable companies were also without power in many areas. I understand that cable companies don’t want to give refunds or rebates, but too bad. NO SERVICE – NO MONEY.

  3. Candace on November 5, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Why is CHARTER COMMS not included in this list. We have power, yet Charter cannot give you ANY idea when they will restor stervice?

    • George Gombossy on November 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm

      true and my neighbor said Charter told her they had no service on our street – wrong, we got service back yesterday, and we are next door, I think some of these companies are just making up stuff

  4. Pete on November 6, 2011 at 9:56 am

    If you have no power that makes it so you have no cable or phone. Why should the Cable or phone companies issue a refund when you need the electricity to run those services? It’s not their fault!

    • George Gombossy on November 6, 2011 at 10:38 am

      Thanks for your comment Pete. The way I look at it is that CL&P isn’t responsible for a storm, but it can’t charge you for electricity you aren’t using. Same goes for cable and telephone. Why should cable and phone companies be the only ones that can charge you when they don’t deliver a service. Stores don’t make money when you don’t shop, newspapers don’t get paid if they don’t deliver your paper……

  5. Pete on November 6, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    If you have no power. Then you’re not getting charged for anything by CL&P. If your meter is not turning. You’re not getting charged. If the cable companies services are interrupted because of no power. Then it’s not their fault that the consumer doesn’t get their services. They are still providing the feed to your house. You just can’t get it because you have no power. Why should the cable company credit you anything for that?

  6. Suze on November 7, 2011 at 8:19 am

    In some areas, cable and phone lines are still lying in the road after almost nine days. In my town, most people have their power back, but many still don’t have phone or cable. It’s a sin that these companies want to charge the full monthly fee. Perhaps the Attorney General should look into that.

    Frank and Pete, I think you need to try to understand that ALL THE LINES were ripped off the poles, not just the power lines.

  7. CT_TO_FL on November 7, 2011 at 9:24 am

    You can ask for refunds all you want … Your still going to pay for it in the long-run when your bill goes up.

    Wake up CT residents! Your not the only state to have a weather event like this. Nobody in CT is properly prepared for any type of windstorm. (nevermind the aftermath) Customers will be paying for the clean up in the form of increased rates.

  8. Ridgefielder on November 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Remember you pay your cable bill in advance of services rendered. Basically you are pre-paying for services. You paid for something you never received, they should issue some sort of credit.

  9. mike on November 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I filed a complaint with DPUC against Cox.
    Cox got back to me real fast and told me I will be credited all the time my connection was down.

  10. Gary on November 7, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    THANKS George. I just got a $53.66 credit by calling Cox. I couldn’t get a lower rate though as I’m locked into my pricing until Jan ’12.

    • George Gombossy on November 7, 2011 at 5:57 pm

      Make sure to call them on Jan. 2 🙂

  11. George Gombossy on November 8, 2011 at 9:16 am

    From Marilyn in Farmington

    I listened to you on WTIC w/John Rowland on Monday afternoon, and heard your discussion on receiving credit(s) on our cable bills, etc. I just got off the phone with Comcast and just told them that we did not lose power and that I’d like a credit for 8 days that we had no cable TV and internet access. No questions asked.

    I was totally surprised as she gave us the credits without a “fight”, and she was most curtious, and I did thank her for that! We will be receiving credits totaling $26.56…at least it’s going in the right direction !!!!

    Thank you so much,

    Marilyn
    Farmington

  12. George Gombossy on November 8, 2011 at 9:34 am

    FROM A COX Customer
    Hi George, I just called Cox Communications (we have our cable, phone and internet with them) to request a credit for the loss of service due to the storm. We were without power for 8 days. Cox would not give me credit b/c the loss of service was due to CL&P and not b/c Cox wires were down…the woman said I would need to request credit from CL&P. Should I pursue this further with CL&P? Please advice when you have time. Thank you.

    Laurie

  13. George Gombossy on November 8, 2011 at 9:45 am

    AND COXZ’s QUICK and GOOD RESPONSE FROM AMY QUINN

    George – the rep is inaccurate. I will pursue as that is not our policy whatsoever. Nowhere have we told our reps that customers need to pursue CL&P for credits. I’ll have someone contact Ms. Spruill ASAP.

  14. Rob on November 8, 2011 at 10:31 am

    We’ve had no service in my area of Meriden since Saturday 10/29 and Cox tech support can not (or will not) provide any estimate of when service might be restored.

    I wonder if this disruption of service is enough to cancel accounts that might be under contract without incurring a termination fee? I appreciate the offer of credit from Cox, but sooner or later I’m going to be forced to give up waiting and go with any number of services who really seem to want my phone, cable and internet business.

  15. Tim Devlin on November 8, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    As a footnote on requesting credit from Comcast (cable, internet and phone) due to outages. I spoke with a service agent today and reported my ongoing outages thanks to your article. If you don’t report any outage you won’t get credit, so customers must report.

    Also, beyond the reporting issues the agent told me to call back and request my credit. I was a little surprised that they didn’t offer to make any adjustment while I was on the phone. Now I have time to think about all the outages I have had over the past few months. Retrospectively I believe even here along the shore we are looking at over 2 weeks ongoing without services since Irene.

    My question albeit odd is “why do we continue to lose service even when the area I live in has not been affected by weather?” And ongoing what can we do about it as customers?

  16. Joan Ellis on November 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Today is Nov. 8th 2:30 pm received power. I called COX re: credit and was told they will not be giving credit. This is inconsistent. I persisted and spoke with a supervisor who also said there will be no credits. I am looking at 9 days without service. George, your assistance in this matter is appreciated. J

  17. Amy Quinn on November 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Joan – I apologize for the discrepancy. A Quality Solutions representative will be reaching out to you directly. Thanks, Amy Quinn

  18. Gene on November 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    George this is great advice. We contract with, in my case at least, Comcast for phone, internet and cable television service. We lost everything in Simsbury on Saturday the 29th at 4pm and didn’t get electricity back until Wednesday the 2nd of November at 4am. Cable and related services didn’t return until Thursday the 4th of November and since then it has been up and down. Cable and related services went down again this morning, the 8th, at 7am.

    Comcast doesn’t mind sending me the bill for almost $200 in services that I could not use and that they could not deliver, something they most assuredly must know – so some accommodation on the bill should be in order. Most would call that just decent human behavior and good customer relations.

  19. Mike D. on November 9, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I spoke with Comcast today, Nov 9. We were without cable/telephone/internet access from the afternoon of Sat. Oct 29 to the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 8, a total of ten plus days. The regular Comcast rep said we were not entitled to any adjustment, as we did not report the outage(!!!). A supervisor later offered us $25 – roughly 40% my calculation of the value of undelivered services. I declined and promptly filed an online complaint with the CT DPUC (DEEP). I would encourage anyone in a similar position to do the same.

  20. Gene on November 9, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    George,

    I called Comcast this evening and spoke to a thoroughly professional and understanding account rep. I told her we had been without service from 10/29 through 11/4 – and then spotty service between 11/4 and today with cable going in and out for a few hours at a time. She credited us 1/3rd of our monthly bill and thanked me for my business and asked me to call back anytime the service goes out again.

  21. Ron M on November 9, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Comcast was very accomodating. They offered a $42 credit but I figured it should have been $52 and they came back with a $62 credit. Service Rep was pleasant. I expected a battle but they were nothing but pleasant!

  22. Mike D. on November 10, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Here is the legal back-up under Connecticut law…

    (b) outages more than 24 hours: A cable system must credit or refund an amount that represents the proportionate share of premium or basic service not received in a billing period for an interruption of service for more than twenty-four continuous hours. (Conn. Gen. Stat. §16-333e(a)(1))

    The full statute can be found here:

    http://www.lawserver.com/law/state/connecticut/ct-laws/connecticut_statutes_16-333e

    • George Gombossy on November 10, 2011 at 9:05 am

      Thank you Mike

  23. Mike M on November 10, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Comcast must have had an atitude change for the worst. My wire went down in the strom so I scheduled an appointment. They missed the window by more than a day. I contacted customer service & asked for the $20 credit they been promising on TV if they are late.
    They said no because they tried to call. I wasn’t even asking for outage credit.

  24. Dave M on November 10, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Hi, I beleive AT&T announced they are providing a $5 daily credit to customers with bundled services who lost service during the recent storm. I have an AT&T tv/Internet/telephone U-verse account and lost all services early in the day on October 29th with partial restoration overnight on November 6th/7th and the balance of services (telephone) on November 7th. I called AT&T and the customer service rep (located in the Phillipines) transferred my call where the second “customer service technician” said I was entitled to a 10 day credit, which he calculated to be $50. BUT, he then explained the AT&T computer system does not permit a credit greater than $30. His Supervisor told me the same thing. A third person reviewed the bulletins (updates) sent to them from the United States and confirmed AT&T (USA) had provided no “authorization” enabling them to issue credits exceeding 6 days for the outages we experienced in CT. This one inquiry required me to stay on the phone for almost 2 hours while AT&T kept transferring my call around. Is there a number in CT where I can discuss and resolve issues affecting my service and billing? I have “lost” all AT&T services approximately 19 days in the past 4+ months. How do I obtain my remaining $20 credit ($50-$30)? Thank you in advance for your assistance.

  25. Sherry B on November 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    I still do not have phone service or Internet. I have contacted AT&T so many time but they keep saying that they do not know when they will get dial tone to the phones. I live in West Hartford and have an elderly relative who lives with us, having phone service is critical.

    Does anyone know how to get AT&T to help us with this issue? Do you think I need to file a complaint with the CT DPUC? This is so frustrating and totally unacceptable service.

  26. George Gombossy on November 10, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    From Mary, a Comcast customer

    I heard about you from WDRC radio station.
    I’m really discouraged with Comcast Cable TV/Telephone service.
    This is the second time in about two months I have lost cable, and got the run around when I call Comcast.
    This time I lost service for 12 days with promise that today they would be out to fix everything. I’m not holding my breath from experience I know that can be a lie, or they will send the wrong person out.
    By that I mean they will send out someone for an inside job when you have told them that it was an outside line man that was need. After about 20 years with Comcast I’m thing about switching my service. I know I’m not the only one that is having problems with Comcast.

  27. Steve Smith on November 10, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I have Comcast and I STILL don’t have service. I’ve called or e-mailed everyone from Dept of Public Utilities, all my State Reps and all of my Federal Reps. Some of them e-mailed me or called me back but it hasn’t done any good as of yet.

    No phone, nothing.





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