Tuesday, 21 November 2017 09:51

Cable refunds during outage covered by Maine law Featured

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STATEWIDE (WGME) - The wind storm last month knocked out power and cable to hundreds of thousands of Mainers.

If you aren't using power, you don't pay for it, making many wonder if it's the same for cable.


A change to state law 10 years ago gives consumers the right to get a credit when cable service is interrupted. But don't expect to just see that credit on your bill, unless you ask for it.


With the TV on in the background, Terry Kirk is used to fixing things at his car repair shop in Durham. "The 'Price is Right' I leave it on." he said.


But when his power and cable went out last month, there wasn't anything he could do but wait. Kirk said "It wasn't for an hour or so, it was for days; you know the length of time, power was out all of this stuff was out."


Now he wants to know why he's on the hook for his cable bill when he wasn't using it. He stated "I think it's unfair; very unfair."


It's a question the WGME  I-Team keeps hearing. "It's a service that's being provided and you're paying for the service; you're not getting a service so why are you paying for it." said Kirk.


According to Maine law, upon request, if your cable service is interrupted for six more more hours in a 30 day period, the cable company has to give you a pro rated credit or rebate.


Public advocate, Barry Hobbins stated "It's really not well known that this law exists." Hobbins was in the legislature on the energy, utilities, and technology committee when the law passed in 2007. He said the cable companies have assured him they will review each customer outage on a case by case basis.


Both Spectrum-Time Warner and Comcast told the I-Team the same thing. Customers can call them directly and credits will be issued.


Hobbins said "It's appropriate for them to say case by case basis because not all the facts are in on each case - however most cases, there was an interruption of service and I'm hoping they will honor that regard."


Still, customers like Terry Kirk are frustrated they'll have to call to get their credit. He said "I feel that you shouldn't have to call; it should be automatic and it's serious money."


While not specifically covered by Maine law, the cable companies told us they will also consider credits for internet outages again on a case by case basis.