fighting the Cable Company?

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  #1  
Old 07-21-14, 09:06 AM
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fighting the Cable Company?

My neighbor is having an issue with Time Warner Cable. he signed up for their home monitoring plan. purchased some hardware and had it installed etc. when he signed up they told him the rate would be $109/month. On the phone call He asked if that was an introductory/promotional rate, and they told him it was not. When the installer finished installing the system, he asked him to sign a paper and said that all he was signing for was that he did his job. So he signed it without reading. Turns out he was signing something saying that the $109 was introductory and after a few months the rate went up to $190. He's gone back and forth with them and his town commisioner as well as the FCC. They both say he is out of luck because he signed the paper. Now he's getting bills from TW for something like $1800 for early termination. He's just refusing to pay. I'm worried about his credit, but he doesnt care. (He's an old timer).

Would he have any chance in Small Claims court on something like this? He claims that they recorded the phone call where they said it was not a promotional rate. what are the chances that he would be able to get them to produce that recording?
would he still be out of luck since he signed the paperwork? seems like the installer missled him when asking him to sign. He's an old timer, but not dillusional.

I feel bad for the guy and I'm worried about him.
Thoughts?
 
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  #2  
Old 07-21-14, 10:02 AM
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It is a shame because he's elderly. However, not reading a contract and then signing it, is unfortunately, not an excuse of the law, so he will get no where in small claims court. They'd send a high paid lawyer (if it even got there) and he wouldn't have a chance.
Actually, he may have misunderstood them that it wasn't a promotional price because they all give a promotional rate for a certain time period. Nothing new.

His only chance would be that someone could call for him, explain, and hope they take pity on him.

He should care about those termination fee bills, even if not for his credit, but if he owns a house, they can put a lien on it.

I guess he has no children that could help with this?
 
  #3  
Old 07-21-14, 10:05 AM
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I'm getting images of the Humancentipad....

You have to read things before you sign them. I think your neighbor should try some groveling because I think he's on the hook.
 
  #4  
Old 07-21-14, 10:36 AM
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He's told them to go pound sand.
I told him I thought he'd be better off paying the $190/month for the term of the contract (I don't know how long that is)
Now he's being charged something like $1800 for early termination and has no cable or internet or even phone, yet he says they are still charging him the monthly fee as well. so those bills are adding up.

I think he's making a bad situation even worse. I thought taking them to small claims court in NH might make them both compromise or at least settle it. he's going to ruin his credit rating.

thanks for your thoughts. I'll pass them on.
 
  #5  
Old 07-21-14, 10:41 AM
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He won't get a smaller amount to pay (and definitely won't win) if he takes them to court. On top of that, he'll have to pay the court fees (loser pays).
He's probably better at this point to call them and ask for a lower fee along with monthly payments. Unless he begs, it's not going to get better.
This may be a case of pride, which older people are often guilty of.
 
  #6  
Old 07-21-14, 02:17 PM
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I wonder if there is a local organization that goes to bat for senior citizens when they unwittingly get their self in a fix ?? Maybe contact a local TV news reporter. I'm sure he won't get off scott free but companies don't like bad press and maybe they can be persuaded to work with him and lower the amount he owes.
 
  #7  
Old 07-21-14, 07:44 PM
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Some states, like here in California, protect the elderly with elder abuse laws from in-home contract signing. Regardless, an $1800 early termination fee sounds a bit far-fetched. If the contract actually states that, your neighbor may have a shot of having the entire contract thrown out for being unconscionable. Also, you might have a variety of other breach of contract options. You can almost always pursue something if they want to be so difficult.

I don't know the laws of your state so I can't really say much else.

Please note: Nothing in this post constitutes legal advice, an offer to provide any legal service, or establishment of any attorney-client relationship.
 
  #8  
Old 07-22-14, 11:48 AM
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I'd make two phone calls,

First, to the local senior citizen's task force - see if they have any suggestions about this.

Second, to the local state/county bar association, they generally have a referral service for these sorts of issues.

I see lots of issues, the 'this conversation is being recorded for quality assurance" being the first,
then "parole evidence" about whether the contract is controlled by what the installer said,
then question about whether the installer's statement was misleading etc.

I'd start in the local small claims court, challenge the change in the terms of the contract there.
Next step would be to either get
(a) a pro-bono legal aid attorney who is looking for a david vs. goliath case,
or
(b) get a class action firm who works on a contingency fee basis.

Hal


disclosure - I'm an attorney, but I'm not YOUR attorney.
 
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