(WSVN) - Her house was filled with mold and she had to move out. Now a question for you: Do you still have to pay for the internet and cable or satellite TV for the months you are out of your home? It’s a problem one woman had, until she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
The dominoes started falling around Melissa, and not for her, it seemed. On her.
Melissa Quintana: “It was a huge domino effect. It was like, again, a can of worms that I cannot close. Every time I thought it was closing, more worms came out.”
It began with what Melissa thought was a small roof leak, followed by a leak in her air conditioner, and both created mold throughout her house.
Melissa Quintana: “At that point, we called a mold remediation company that told us we needed to be out of the house, that it wasn’t safe to live here.”
The dominoes continued to crash down as Melissa moved into a rental apartment and started paying to repair her house.
Melissa Quintana: “Where the mold started, it took it through the air ducts. There were walls that were knocked down. The kitchen had been torn down. Basically, my whole house is brand new.”
Melissa had to pay for the rebuilding, so she needed to cut her other expenses, like internet and TV at her empty house.
Melissa Quintana: “I called AT&T, which had my internet, and I called DirecTV. I sent them a lease agreement, along with an explanation why I wasn’t living at home.”
Fortunately, AT&T and DirecTV are owned by the same company. AT&T stopped billing her. DirecTV did not.
Melissa Quintana: “I didn’t know what to think, and then it made even less sense because, again, the two are the same company, and one gave me credit, and the other one is saying no.”
Unable to stop DirecTV from billing her, Melissa paid for the service for February and March, even though she was not living there, and at the same time kept trying to stop the bills for that TV service.
Melissa Quintana: “I was definitely following up every two weeks, three weeks, a month and saying, ‘Hey, what’s going on?'”
Weeks turned into months, and the charges kept piling up for a TV service no one was watching in an empty house.
Melissa Quintana: “They should not be charging me. There’s no way that they can say there was any usage of those services here.”
Well, Howard, you have a contract with any company. When is your house is uninhabitable, legally, can you suspend or cancel the service with that company?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “It depends on the contract you signed with them. If your contract does not mention the right to cancel or suspend if your house is uninhabitable, you have to keep paying. Melissa was luckier, though. Her contract gives her the right to cancel the TV service, but the company has a right to charge her a cancellation fee, and the amount depends on how long she has had the service.”
We contacted AT&T, which owns DirecTV. They moved quickly. Melissa got an email from the president’s office that said, “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this matter may have caused. We have zeroed out the DIRECTV account.”
Not only did they wipe out that $679 charge. They refunded Melissa for the bills she had paid in February and March.
A spokesperson wrote us: “We’ve been in touch with the customer and resolved this to her satisfaction.”
To say the least.
Melissa Quintana: “Very happy, very happy.”
Happy she is back in her home, happy she doesn’t have that satellite TV bill. Just happy.
Melissa Quintana: “I knew if I got in touch with you I would get a result, but I didn’t think it would be that quick, so I’m definitely appreciative, and I thank you guys so much.”
Glad we could help, and nice of DirecTV to resolve it so quickly as well. Now, if you want to suspend a service at your home until you can move back in, if they say yes, get it in writing. If they say no, you might be stuck — and time to call us.
Feel like the dominoes are not falling your way? Ready to suspend your string of bad luck? Turn to our channel. We don’t come to you via satellite. We come in person to help.
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