Conn. AG commends providers for storm credits

Bryan Cohen Nov. 23, 2011, 3:42pm


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Attorney General George Jepsen commended cable, satellite television and telecommunications companies Tuesday that have provided storm-related credits to Connecticut customers that, in many cases, exceed what the law and their service contracts required.

The companies responded to letters that Jepsen sent on Nov. 10 encouraging them to provide full, pro-rata credit to Connecticut customers who were unable to access their services because they had no electricity or their service was interrupted. Jepsen also asked that the credits be given without the need for individual requests by customers.

"After determining that their Connecticut customers lost service, these companies put their customers first," Jepsen said. "They recognized the real hardships many people across the state experienced from an extended loss of power following the Oct. 29 snowstorm. The companies should be recognized and commended for doing the right thing."

Most of the companies said that they were willing to provide those credits to customers, but in some cases were unable to accurately track which customers were had lost service and for how long. The companies said customers should call to report the period they were without service and credits would be issued accordingly.

"Now that power has been restored, I urge Connecticut consumers who lost services to contact their service providers to make sure they receive the credits now being offered," Jepsen said.

The companies providing positive responses and their policies include AT&T, Cablevision, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, Dish Network and Metrocast Communications of Connecticut.

"We will give U-Verse TV customers in Connecticut who experience a service outage for longer than 24 hours a pro-rated credit," AT&T said. "In addition, we will voluntarily give similar credits for U-verse Voice and U-verse High Speed Internet service customers who experienced a service outage for longer than 24 hours. Customers are not required to take any action: the credits will be applied automatically on the customer bill for impacted customers within the next several billing cycles."

Cablevision went above and beyond Connecticut law by providing consumer credits for qualifying outages for more than cable service alone.

"While Connecticut law provides for consumer credits for qualifying outages for cable service only...Cablevision has been providing a credit to customers on an individualized basis for all their services," Cablevision said. "Customers will be credited when they notify us that they had a service outage. We are extending our normal period to request refunds to 45 days from the date of the storm."

Charter Communications said that customers are the focus of their business and that all customers need to do is call or visit their office to request credit.

"We are providing credit to customers for the entire time they were without service, from the time they lost power to the time their Charter services were fully restored, and we are providing credit for all services," Charter said.

Comcast has opted to assess credit requests on a case-by-case basis because each customer's situation during the storm was different.

"In order to receive a credit, a customer must contact Comcast and identify the time period during which they did not have access to Comcast services," Comcast said.

Cox Communications also required that customers contact them for appropriate service credits.

"We need our customers to call us after their service is restored to report that they were without Cox services, and for how long," Cox said. "We then credit their accounts from the time of the service outage until service was actually restored."

DISH Network has not only granted credits for customers but has also waived service and equipment fees for consumers who need their equipment realigned, reinstalled or repaired due to the storm.

"DISH subscribers who indicated that they were without service due to the storm were provided a credit for their time without service," DISH said. "In addition, DISH subscribers who needed to suspend their service due to storm damage were allowed to do so at no charge."

MetroCast Communications of Connecticut said it will provide customers with a refund on their next invoice after contacting the company.

"The credit equals a prorated amount of the affected customer's monthly charges for all MetroCast services, calculated based on the number of days during which such services were interrupted, and are included in the customer's next invoice," MetroCast said.

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