If you don't get service, Fla. lawmaker says you shouldn't pay

Florida state Rep. Randy Fine said one of the biggest complaints he got after Hurricane Irma was people paying for basic services that weren't getting done -- specifically, garbage, telecommunications, internet and cable services.

Is it fair to pay for garbage pickup when they don't pick it up or cable when it's not working?

One Florida lawmaker says no way.

Florida state Rep. Randy Fine said one of the biggest complaints he got after Hurricane Irma was people paying for basic services that weren't getting done -- specifically, garbage, telecommunications, internet and cable services.

Fine filed House Bill 971 on Monday to solve the problem.

The bill goes by the catchy saying: “No service, no sale. No pickup, no pay.”
           
"Today in the state of Florida, if your phone is out for two weeks, or your cable is out for two weeks, they can still charge you for the service even though you don't get the product, and that's simply not right,” Fine said.

The bill does have a few exceptions. Garbage companies have three days to pick up your garbage before returning your money. On the internet and cable side, service needs to be out for at least 24 hours straight.

"I completely agree with this new bill because if we are not able to use services, we shouldn’t have to pay for it," said Samantha Terrell a resident of Plant City. "It’s common sense. If you go to the store and can’t pay for something, you don’t get it. Same logic,”

“The goal is to get better service, not to get more refunds,” Fine said.

If the bill does get passed and companies still don’t refund your money, according to Fine, the companies get fined 10 times the amount they should have returned, which adds up fast when dealing with hundreds of thousands of customers.

Fine hopes this bill gives customers a little more protection against monopoly services.

"You can’t complain to these companies right now. If you call them and complain about it they will cut it off, and if you don’t pay they will cut it off, so you’re stuck,” Terrell said.

If the Florida Legislature approves it and it's signed into law by the governor, the bill would take effect July 1, 2018. That's just in time for hurricane season.

© 2018 WTSP-TV


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