FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2011
For More Information, contact:
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Alabama Attorney General
Suzanne Webb (334) 242-7351
Page 1 of 3
AG STRANGE ANNOUNCES POLICIES OF CABLE, SATELLITE SERVICE
PROVIDERS TO PROTECT CONSUMERS IN STORM-DAMAGED AREAS
(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Luther Strange announced policies of Bright
House, Comcast, Dish Network, DirecTV and Charter Communications, to protect consumers
who may have lost equipment and services during the recent storms that struck Alabama. The
Attorney General commended these companies and urged other such service providers to
adopt similar policies to serve the needs of customers in storm-damaged areas.
- I am pleased with the strong positive response by these companies to maintain
flexibility in their policies to alleviate further hardship to their customers who suffered from the
terrible storms that struck Alabama,* said Attorney General Strange. ?I appreciate the prompt
and thorough response to address consumers’ needs and concerns. We urge other service
providers also to take a responsible stand in resolving issues their customers face in the
aftermath of the storms.?
Karen Broach, regional vice president of operations for Bright House, commented on
that company’s policies to assist customers in its service areas, which include Elmore and
Jefferson counties and the surrounding region.
- The horrific storms that ravaged our state three weeks ago left an unforgiving path of
destruction and despair,* said Broach. ?We have all been deeply affected by the losses
sustained by our neighbors, family and friends. We at Bright House Networks have had many
of our team members who have had also had to deal with complete devastation to their homes
and properties. In this time of need and rebuilding, it is important for our customers to know
what we have done to lend a helping hand.* She provided the following details on Bright
Bright House Networks has proactively credited accounts of customers who experienced
a loss of service(s) due to the storms.
Bright House Networks took the initiative and completed a detailed walk out of the area
to identify all known destroyed homes and we suspended their billing.
This is important for two reasons, one is financial and the second is customer
convenience. For example, if a customer subscribes to Bright House Networks Home
Phone or High Speed Internet Service, this will preserve the customer’s phone number
and email address so they can transfer it to their new residence.
Suspended customer bills include suspension of equipment charges so customers can
make contact with us at a time convenient to them to address their individual needs.
Bright House Networks will not charge customers for equipment damaged or lost as a
result of the storm.
501 Washington Avenue Montgomery, AL 36104 (334) 242-7300
www.ago.state.al.us Page 2 of 3
Bright House Networks never charges a disconnect fee – no matter what the reason.
Consumers may contact Bright House by calling 1-866-876-1872.
- In addition to the proactive measures to suspend accounts and provide credits, we are
doing our part to help the overall community and our local employees,* stated Broach, noting a
$1 million donation made to the American Red Cross toward the disaster relief efforts from the
Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation on behalf of Bright House Networks and Advance Alabama
Publications, which includes the Birmingham News, Huntsville Times and Press-Register in
Mobile, al.com, the newspapers’ online affiliate, and the Birmingham Business Journal. The
company has set up an assistance fund for its employees in need, and employees from other
areas outside of Alabama are working together to collect immediate support to send to their
fellow team members and their families.
Comcast Area Vice President Terry Kennedy told about that company’s response.
- Comcast customers throughout the Tuscaloosa and Huntsville areas have suffered
considerably in the wake of these storms and rebounding from a major disaster like this is not
easy,* he said. ?At Comcast, our first priority always has been and continues to be our
customers. We are thankful to the Attorney General for this opportunity to further make the
public aware. To assure that customers are aware of policies around service and equipment,
Comcast has notified customers in the Tuscaloosa and Huntsville areas of the following
For consumers displaced from their homes due to the storms, their service may be
placed on a temporary six-month ?hold* status at no cost, which enables those with voice
and data services to save their telephone numbers and email addresses.
Equipment (such as converter boxes and cable modems) that was damaged by the storm
may be exchanged at the local Comcast offices at no charge. Consumers should notify
Comcast if equipment was lost in the storm and cannot be recovered. Although routine
policy requires that a police report or insurance claim be filed on lost equipment, that
requirement is waived for six months due to the extreme nature of the extensive storm
damage. Customers will not be charged for the exchange or replacement of equipment
under these circumstances.
Customers who lost service will be automatically credited for that period of time. It is
not necessary to notify Comcast for this credit, which will appear automatically on
customers’ next bills. Customers who still do not have service after their power was
restored should contact Comcast.
Consumers may contact Comcast by calling 1-800-COMCAST. The local Tuscaloosa
office is located at 1131 Whigham Place. In addition, a temporary office and communications
center has been set up at Belk Center, located at 2101 Bowers Park Drive, where local residents
may use free high-speed internet and make free local and long-distance calls. The Huntsville
office is located at 2047 Max Luther Drive.
DISH Network has similarly announced to provide free replacement equipment and free
technician calls, at no additional cost, for loss of service due to the storms. If it is necessary to
disconnect service, the company agreed to waive any fees. Consumers may contact DISH
Network by calling 1-800-333-3474.
Page 3 of 3
DISH Network provided the following statement about its response: ?Taking care of our
customers who have been impacted by any disaster, including tornadoes, is our top
priority. DISH Network has a disaster policy in place and works with affected customers on a
case-by-case basis to determine the best solution. We normally provide several no-cost options
for victims to suspend their satellite service, including a pause of service, with no equipment
Ellen Filipiak, Sr. Vice President for Customer Service at DIRECTV, stated, ?We join all
service providers in Alabama in a sincere expression of sympathy for the people of Alabama
who lost loved ones and homes in the terrible storms that hit the state last month. We are
working with both our customers and employees in Alabama to help them rebuild as well as
reconnect their TV services. And to ease the burden and worry for our customers who were
affected by the disaster, we have suspended accounts for those who were without power,
offered free service calls and have waived equipment replacement costs and all other fees. More
broadly we are also providing support to all victims of the storm through the Red Cross and
Habitat for Humanity.” Consumers may contact DirecTV by calling 1-800-531-5000.
A statement from Charter Communications comments about the storm crisis and its
response. ?The tenacity of the April 27 tornados in Alabama came unexpectedly for us all.
Charter customers throughout the state have suffered tremendous personal loss and property
damage as a result of the storm. Throughout this difficult time, Charter has stood by our
customers – and the state of Alabama – as we all work towards recovery,* said Kristina Hill,
Senior Director of Communications. Charter donated $50,000 to the American Red Cross in
Alabama and its staff has volunteered locally to assist, she said. ?Realizing that this is a
challenging time for our customers, we have waived fees for equipment that was lost, damaged,
or destroyed as a result of the tornado. Charter’s customer care team is standing by at 1-888-
438-2427 to answer questions and to schedule service calls. ?Charter employees live and work
throughout Alabama. This is our home, too. We stand by our customers and the state of
Alabama as we all work to restore, rebuild, and renew.?
Attorney General Strange said that consumers who have concerns or difficulties may
contact his Office of Consumer Protection by calling toll-free 1-800-392-5658 or by writing to 501
Washington Avenue, Alabama 36130. Consumers may file a complaint online at
Attorney General Strange commended the staff of his Consumer Protection Office,
noting in particular Assistant Attorney General Noel, chief of consumer protection, and Jeff
Sommer, constituent services officer for the Attorney General’s Office.