Are You Owed Money by your Company for their Internet Service Outages?

Are You Owed Money by your Company for their Internet Service Outages?
Regulations Technology

You spend a decent chunk of your monthly budget ensuring that when you need them, home utilities such as Cable, internet, and home phone are up and running. But what happens when an outage lasts longer than just a couple of minutes? If you've been without it for over a day, are you really supposed to pay for a full month's service?

Discounted service fee after an internet service outage.

The response will depend primarily on who your provider is and how long the outage might have taken place. Just a handful of providers explain how the bill would be impacted by outages and most are vague as to what clients may do to tackle the problem.

Like Cox, they don't have adjustments to a bill but:

“Cox will not be liable for any delay, interruption of Service, failure of performance of Cox or Customer Equipment, or any loss, liability or damage directly or indirectly caused by circumstances beyond our control, including but not limited to acts of God, flood, explosion or other catastrophes, causes attributable to you, Your Equipment or your property, acts of third parties, national emergencies, acts of terrorism, insurrections, riots, wars, unavailability of rights-of-way, loss of use of poles or other utility facilities, material shortages, power outages or reductions, failure of any cable signal at the transmitter, failure of a satellite, strikes, lockouts, or work stoppages, or any law, order, regulation, or request of the federal, state or local governments having jurisdiction over Cox. The use and restoration of Services in emergencies will in all cases be subject to the priority system specified by federal regulations. ”

A comparable approach is taken by DISH, Frontier, Mediacom, and Verizon Fios, sometimes arguing that the company is not responsible for service disputes outside and often within their influence. The Limited Liability part of Verizon Fios contained in the terms of the agreement signed by customers reads as follows:

“In no event, shall Verizon, its affiliated companies, their employees, agents, and contractors, have any liability for special, indirect, incidental or consequential damages resulting from the provision of or failure to provide the service, or from any fault, failure, defect or deficiency in any labor, material, work or product furnished in connection with the service (such as but not limited to, service outages and any loss of use of wiring, jacks or equipment beyond the jack, and any damages resulting therefrom).

These limitations of and exclusions from liability shall apply regardless of whether a claim or remedy is sought in contract, tort (including negligence and strict liability), or otherwise, even if Verizon has been advised of the possibility of such claim or damages. Further Verizon’s liability to you, whether, based in contract, tort, negligence or otherwise will be limited to the charges paid by you for the service within a twelve-month period preceding the accrual of your claim.”

In their terms of use, providers such as AT&T, DIRECTV, and Spectrum claim that in the case of a service interruption, consumers may obtain credit, although they do not specifically state what conditions may qualify anyone for a refund. Let us take a peek at the fine print in the consumer agreement with Spectrum.

“All Services are provided on an “AS IS” and “AS AVAILABLE” basis. In no event shall Spectrum be liable for any failure or interruption of Service, including without limitation those failures and interruptions resulting in part or entirely from circumstances beyond Spectrum’s reasonable control. Subject to applicable law, Spectrum may give credit with respect to Subscriber’s recurring monthly subscription fee for qualifying outages of Services.”

Currently, Xfinity is one of the few major providers to specify the period of time (24 hours) that an outage must take place before any loan is considered. Your appeal is only valid within 120 days of the outage, so be sure to follow up shortly afterward. The value of the credit given is at Xfinity's discretion, but because you will obtain a pro-rata loan for the period affected, it won't be more than the cost of your monthly bill.

How to claim internet service outage credit

Call customer service support

Even if your company claims that they are not responsible for a television or internet blackout and will not credit you in the case of one, call anyway! By simply giving their provider a call and talking about the issue, several clients have acknowledged their popularity on user forums.

Let the agent know which programs you are already subscribed to and how long they have not been available for your use. If the duration is significant, it is more than likely that for the amount of time your facilities were out, you would earn credit.

One consumer recommends that you do some easy math of your monthly expense relative to the length of time your services were down before you called. You will call in for a refund of less than a dollar if the blackout lasted less than 24 hours.

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