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Mediacom Demands $300 For Melted Cable Modem Lost in Devastating Condo Fire

Phillip Dampier March 2, 2020 Consumer News, Mediacom, Video 1 Comment

(Image: WPMI-TV)

An Alabama woman who lost everything in a condo fire has been hit with a $300 charge because she couldn’t return a cable modem that literally melted in the fire.

Mediacom representatives were adamant that if she did not pay her final bill, including a $300 non-returned equipment charge for a cable modem that costs considerably less, her account would be turned over to a collection agency.

Barbara Rose told WPMI-TV she “was shocked” by how Mediacom treated her, and the ongoing battle with the cable operator was adding to her stress. The company said she could always claim the damaged modem on her insurance, something Rose neglected to get for her leased condo. Attempts to negotiate the amount of her final bill with Mediacom went nowhere.

The cable modem/router in question, manufactured by Technicolor, is estimated to have cost Mediacom less than half the amount they were asking. In fact, customers typically pay the cable company more than $12 a month in modem rental fees, but Mediacom showed no willingness to pro-rate the damaged modem and sought ‘more than’ full payment. When Rose refused, “they turned me over to collections,” Rose told the station.

When WPMI contacted Mediacom, the company’s intransigence disappeared immediately.

“We have a longstanding policy to waive equipment return charges for customers who have been displaced by disasters like a fire,” a Mediacom representative told the TV station. “The person this customer spoke to must not have been aware of the policy.”

Rose said she contacted at least five Mediacom employees, including a supervisor, and none were apparently familiar with this policy.

Still, Rose is delighted Mediacom has now waived the modem fee and the cost of her final month of service.

It is just another example of public relations working in favor of customers. When a reporter shows up threatening to make a dispute public on the evening news, most companies buckle in favor of customers they may have refused to help for weeks or months earlier.

Charging for unreturned cable equipment after a fire or other disaster is very common, despite most cable companies claiming to waive fees in the event of such personal disasters. Most instruct victims to pay the charges and seek compensation through an insurance claim. But in most cases, customers need not pay anything at all if they inform the company of its own policies regarding unreturned equipment damaged in fires, floods, or other tragedies.

At the same time, every renter should purchase renter’s insurance to protect the value of their personal property. It is inexpensive and the only way to recoup losses in the event your property is damaged or destroyed.

WPMI-TV in Mobile covers another dispute between a cable company and customer over unreturned cable equipment destroyed in a fire. (2:31)

West Virginia’s Public Service Commission Documents Over 4,000 Complaints About Frontier Communications

Today we present a roundup of videos from diverse news outlets around the country documenting ongoing, serious lapses in service at Frontier Communications.

MetroNews talks with West Virginia Public Service Commission chair Charlotte Lane about the thousands of service complaints on file regarding Frontier Communications. (4:39)

Special Investigation Reveals Scores of Frontier Customers in Wisconsin Enduring 911 Outages

At least “dozens of people” in Wisconsin found they could not reach 911 because of Frontier’s repeated network failures. WSAW in Wausau reports in a special investigation that Frontier’s ongoing problems may be putting the elderly at risk. (6:02)

In this follow-up story, WSAW reports that local officials in Marathon County, Wis. need a long-term solution to Frontier’s growing service problems that often leave local customers without service “for weeks.” (1:25)

Rural California Communities Suffer With Extended Frontier Service Outages

KRCR-TV in Redding, Calif., covers the increasing number of phone and internet failures afflicting area Frontier customers, leaving many in cell signal-challenged areas with no way to reach friends, family, or 911. (2:14)

Passing the Buck in Ohio: Taxpayers Pay to Maintain Safety Around Frontier’s Overgrown Utility Poles

In Steubenville, Ohio some residents fear Frontier’s alleged neglect of their utility poles is putting people’s safety in jeopardy. WTOV reports that Frontier is attempting to “pass the buck” to Ohio taxpayers to keep trees and brush clear from their poles. (2:45)

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