Billed For No Service

(WSVN) - She cancelled cable and internet but then found out eight months later she was still being billed for it. Can she get back her money? It’s tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Maria is a very independent woman.

Justo Soler, helping mother: “Sometimes, she sends the caretaker home early because she wants her privacy.”

One thing she likes to do: watch her favorite TV station.

Maria Arguelles: “Oh, Channel 7, the number one, the number one.”

Since she can get Channel 7 with her antenna, last year, Maria decided to save money and cancelled her cable and internet.

Justo Soler: “She was paying $251.87 a month debited from her account, so that’s the reason my mother cancelled. She was not using all the features.”

Justo says he returned the cable equipment in December. Then, recently, after checking his mother’s bills, his antenna went up.

Justo Soler: “She’s being debited for a service of internet, telephone and TV.”

Justo contacted the company, and he says they confirmed the equipment was returned eight months ago, but when he asked for the money Maria had paid for those eight months, he got another surprise.

Justo Soler: “And they told me that their system could only give us a credit back two months.”

Now, the 88-year-old Maria was irritated.

Maria Arguelles: “If I don’t receive a service, I don’t think it’s fair that they’re charging me for something they’re not providing.”

You often hear people say it’s not about the money. In this case, it’s about the money.

Justo Soler: “She can buy a lot of medicine with this credit.”

Maria Arguelles: “It’s a lot of money. It’s my money!”

Well, Maria was billed for a service she didn’t get. Howard, does she get her money back?

Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “As long as you return all of the equipment and have proof of that, they have to give you all your money back. They can argue you also have to cancel after you return the equipment, but the return of the equipment is basically the cancellation since you can’t get the service without the equipment.”

A viewer said a coworker was out for a few days with COVID, but the company kept it a secret. When the fellow came back, they believe he infected another employee. Can they sue the coworker or the company?

Howard Finkelstein: “The company doesn’t have to tell you if a coworker tests positive, but if he or she comes back to work with the virus and you contract it, you could sue the company or your coworker, or you might not be able to sue either one. That’s because you have to prove they knew, that they were negligent and you got it from the coworker. As a lawsuit, it’s a long shot.”

Some viewers qualified for rental assistance but didn’t get it because their landlord refused to provide the necessary documents. Does a landlord have to cooperate?

Howard Finkelstein: “No, the landlord does not have to fill out the forms, and then, they don’t get that money for rent. Why would a landlord do that? Because the rental assistance is reported to the federal government, and the landlord has to pay taxes on it, some landlords collect cash for rent and don’t report it to the government to avoid paying federal taxes.”

After we contacted the cable company, they got in touch with Justo, and he says they told him not only did a customer have to return the equipment, after that they had to cancel the service, but they did agree to return three more months of payments, giving Maria about $1,000 back, leaving a happy mother and son.

Justo Soler: “I cannot thank Channel 7 and the staff enough for helping my mother get her money back.”

Maria Arguelles: “God bless all the family in Channel 7.”

Awwww, that’s so sweet of you, Maria. Glad we could help.

When you return equipment, whether it’s a car or a cable box, get proof in writing you returned it, and everything is fine. Justo didn’t have the receipt, which complicated things, but we were able to help.

Contracted a problem that’s left you powerless? Don’t be remote? Turn to us, and let us channel some of our solutions to you.

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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