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Cable Company Charging for Burned Equipment

My apartment burned down and the only thing saved was my dog and the clothes I had on. The cable company is coming after me for the equipment I had in my apartment, but everything was destroyed. I had no rental insurance and they want me to pay $400.00 for the equipment. I have nothing; I lost my job and I am staying with friends. I have to start all over again. Is there someone who can help me or advise me about the cable company wanting me to pay for something I had no control over. It was burned in the fire. The cable is Comcast.

By Michelle R

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July 23, 20120 found this helpful

First let me say how glad I am that you were not harmed in the fire. Your story perfectly illustrates the need to have renter's/tenant's insurance. The cable company has every right to expect payment for their equipment. The circumstances causing you to no longer have the equipment really are not relevant. The same would be true for any other place, such as a furniture store, from which you had purchased something that was lost in the fire. I'm sorry you find yourself in such a difficult situation. The only thing you can really do is ask the cable company to work out some sort of payment plan with you.

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July 24, 20120 found this helpful

Sadly, this advice is spot on. I got a "free" converter box in Feb of '09 when everything went to digital. When I sold my little TV in a moving sale, I didn't think anything of sending it with the buyer who couldn't have used it without it anyway.

When I came back three years later, I found that my 50.00 charge was on the bill, and they charged me 100.00 deposit.

I too am glad you and your pet got out. And if the fire was caused by something that you can sue for damages for, perhaps that would be a way to get your things back and have the bill paid. It's something to look into.

Often older houses have faulty wiring, a fire started in another apt, etc. There is nothing I can say that will make you feel better, but also, don't let them bully you. Is there someone who can help till you get on your feet? Personally, I would look into who is responsible. It might be a fight for a while, but you could walk away on the better side.

I hope that helps. PBP

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July 24, 20120 found this helpful

Contact your local TV station, they usually have someone that would be "very interested" in doing a human interested story on your situation. No company likes to be portrayed in a "bad Light", or being the bad guy. If the cable company refuses to help you in any way, seek legal aid.

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July 24, 20120 found this helpful

Unfortunately, I agree. When you lease equipment, you take on the legal responsibility of keeping it safe. They can add interest and attach any income you have. It would be best to talk to a supervisor to see what could be worked out. Do whatever you need to do to get them off your back: collect scrap metal, aluminum cans, hold a yard sale with items collected from freecycle.org and donations, flip burgers for some extra cash, just whatever. I'm so sorry this happened. Life tends to be full of learning experiences.

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July 24, 20120 found this helpful

I don't know what type of equipment you're talking about but $400 seems pretty steep to me especially if it's only a digital converter box. I can understand that they want you to pay for their equipment but it sounds to me like they are ripping you off. Personally, I'd go higher up the corporate ladder or get the media involved. Good luck and glad you're safe.

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July 25, 20120 found this helpful

Being the fire was not your fault. I would ask the apartment complex if the insurance they have would cover it. You would think the cable companies would have a policy of their own. It would be a lot faster and cheaper than trying to collect from people individually. Go higher up.

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