Monday, December 19, 2011
Help Me Howard: Cable Change
In most areas, if you don't like your cable provider you can get a dish. But one landlord is bringing in a new company that not only costs more, but also is the only option. It's tonight's Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- It's not that unusual to hear someone complain about their cable TV, and in Kings Manor estates they are complaining.
Beth Jimenez, Upset with Cable Situation: "I was furious. I was ready to go through the roof. I have been with Comcast for years and years and years."
These Davie residents are upset. Not with Comcast. Upset that Comcast won't be their cable company.
Beth Jimenez: "The day after Thanksgiving we got a letter from Comcast saying they were no longer being allowed to provide us service."
The letter from Comcast said the mobile home park stopped them from providing service to the 314 residents.
Beth Jimenez: "I like Comcast. I have never had an issue."
At the same time, the owners of the park handed out brochures telling residents if they wanted to get TV, phones or Internet, they had 14 days to sign up with Primecast.
Beth Jimenez: "There is no options. You either go with this company and pay the obscene prices or go without. That's it."
And that's the key. If Primecast were dirt cheap, everyone would be happy. But according to the residents who have called the company, it's not.
Beth Jimenez: "I had to sign up with Primecast. My bill is gonna be almost double what I paid with Comcast and I get less service."
Kings Manor Estates owns the cable lines and the land. The residents own their mobile homes and then rent space. Needless to say like every else, they dont have the money to sign up with a new company.
Beth Jimenez: "Nobody really has that three weeks before christmas, when you have children."
You might be thinking, if you can't afford cable TV, a phone and the Internet, just do without. But it's not that simple.
Resident: "I have a handicapped grandchild and she depends on the television for entertainment and something to do."
Some residents told the mobile home park they would put go with dish TV on the side of their mobile homes to avoid paying the higher rates. Beth says they told her, "We won't allow you to get dish TV".
Beth Jimenez: "There are not giving us any options. It's this one or go without, or move."
The residents dont like what the park owners are doing to them, but Howard, is it legal?
Howard Finkelstein: "I believe it's illegal but the law hasn't been fully written on these types of cases. In addition, the mobile home owners signed an agreement when they moved in that says they have to be given 90 days notice of any changes and they weren't and any replacement of services has to be comparable, and thats not clear yet."
I first talked to Connexion Technologies which paid the mobile home park owner a fee to provide services to the residents. Connexion told me that they tried to get Comcast to stay, but they chose to stop service and did not give any notice they were withdrawing. Connexion told me they brought in which will provide some services that will be cheaper for residents than Comcast. I then checked with the FCC. If the residents are not happy with the new cable service, legally they have a right to put a dish on their mobile homes.
Howard Finkelstein: "If resident are not happy the best thing to do, which won't cost anything, is to file a complaint with the state's Division of Business and Professional Regulation. They can look into it."
Beth is not going with the cable company and is getting a dish. But like the other residents, she is not happy with the change and is blunt about it.
Beth Jimenez: "It sucks, but I guess you have to do what you have to do."
Patrick Fraser: "Comcast says they were thrown out. Connexion say they walked out, and technically they are both right. Connexion wanted Comcast to pay a fee, comcast said no, so they left. The one clear fact- the residents did not get 90 days notice as Howard said the law required. If the mobile home owners want to file a complaint with the state, the link is on our website."
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