CableOne Tells Fire Victims To Pay For Incinerated Cable Gear

The fire raged through 62 units of the Galleria apartment homes in Fargo, ND. Flames shot out windows and black smoke billowed across the sky. No one was hurt but 150 residents are without homes. A now, their cable company wants them to pay for the equipment damaged in the blaze, between $500 to $1,000.

“We’ve been hurt too,” CableOne’s General Manager told the TODAY show.

Customer Rick says they shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for his check. He won’t be paying them. “No. On principle, I’m not.”

In the contract customers signed, it says that they have a responsibility to maintain the equipment. However, in previous instances, like during California wildfires, cable companies have waived this requirement after being embarrassed by negative press.

CableOne said they would be working with customers on a case by case basis.

Here is a video of the fire taken by a bystander:

CableOne Fire Victims [TODAY] (Thanks to Zac!)

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  1. GMFish says:

    And this is exactly why they sell renters and fire insurance.

    • JonathanR says:

      bingo!

    • GoodBytes says:

      this is why I buy the unit in question instead of renting.

      • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

        This is why I hire actors to act out the shows I watch. They have their own insurance and can run away from fire!

      • GLaDOS says:

        You and I can buy units from the Cable Cos? First, color me surprised.

        Second, the $1000 for the equipment the Cable Co wants to charge the man in the article for his equipment is outrageous! Earlier this week, I could have bought a refurbished, cutting-edge Tivo Premiere DVR for $169.99.

    • GLaDOS says:

      If there was a moderation system and I could moderate your comment as Insightful, I would. This is a good example of what a fire victim could have insurance pay for instead of paying out of pocket.

      Furthermore, if those homes are condos or townhomes, the premiums shouldn’t be more than $12 to $17 per month. Less than $20 a month in premiums to cover costs for replacing things in a fire sounds reasonable to me.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      …which won’t cover the boxes because they don’t belong to the renters.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        Yet another obnoxious loophole. What’s the point of getting insurance if it doesn’t cover your stuff?

        • guroth says:

          I pay $17/mo and it covers everything I own, including electronics. It even covers my stuff if it is stolen from my car. It is only up to $40k in personal belongings though.

          • mobiuschic42 says:

            You must live in a pretty safe place! I’m getting a good deal at $23/mo for $20,000 coverage + $10,000 electronics in one of the safer immediate Boston suburbs.

            • ChuckECheese says:

              I have good credit and no claims history and the cheapest policy I could find was $15 a month, $500 deductible, $10K coverage, no electronics, no flood, depreciated value. More coverage meant significantly more money. My favorite policy was the $5,000 policy with a $5,000 deductible for $150/year. I wish I could remember who was offering that.

              • GearheadGeek says:

                Seriously? Some state’s insurance commission allows the sale of a policy that covers $5k but has a $5k deductible? Was it Louisiana? (When I was in grad school in Louisiana, a couple of the recent insurance commissioners were in prison, so it seems to fit the kinds of insurance games they play there.)

                • kewpie says:

                  Some of you must live in really unsafe places. We pay $23 a month for $51,000 property damage coverage and $100,000 personal liability coverage. $500 deductible. The policy covers everything, including all our electronics. It even covers my kids’ stuff in their dorms at college and our stuff while we are traveling.

                  • baquwards says:

                    I paid $80 per year, that covered $30,000 personal items, including electronics, and $100,000 for the building (in case I was responsible for starting a fire). This was required insurance. The company that the apartment complex recommended was around $120 a year.

              • sprybuzzard says:

                Wow! What a great deal! You pay $5000 to cover $5000 worth of stuff. I guess I am lucky with my insurance company, a policy like that is completely ridiculous.

      • Gulliver says:

        Yes it will. Renters insurance will cover items which are rent to own, or you are leasing for your use only. They will not cover your girlfriends sex toy or a friends $50k fur coat you were “storing” for them.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Except that many renter policies don’t cover electronic equipment of any kind unless you purchase a rider that doubles the cost of said policy. Which, along with deductibles and the hassle of claims, means it is easy to decide not to have said overpriced nearly useless coverage. I am required as a condition of my lease to have a renter policy. It is underwritten by a large national insurer, and it is a joke. It won’t even cover damage caused by a leaky pipe or overflowing toilet. For that, I am required to purchase a flood insurance supplement.

      Regarding CableOne, they should be charging owners actual, even depreciated cost, not some pie-in-the-sky made up price.

      • winnabago says:

        Slightly off topic, but the reason apartment owners require renters insurance is because of injury liability (someone visiting you and slipping on the snow, a fight happening in your apartment, domestic violence, etc.). The master insurance policy covers damage in case of leak, etc.

        Oh, and kickbacks.

        • mobiuschic42 says:

          Actually, that’s not true, unless by apartment owners, you do *not* mean lessees (it’s a little confusing from your wording).
          The people that own the building and property are liable for slip and fall, etc, not the lessees. If you’re just renting, all you need is coverage for property damage.

          • AustinTXProgrammer says:

            I have seen leases that require renters insurance, but they seem to be rare (I only added coverage about 2 years before I purchased a home after going 6 without.

      • coffeeculture says:

        i shop around for renter’s insurance…3/4 of the value of my items are electronics (TV, computers, etc…)

      • The Porkchop Express says:

        I wouldn’t worry about that deductible for this one. sounds like the places are all destroyed and they would get the policy limits or close to anyhow.

      • BirdieBlue says:

        Oh, bull. I have a rider on my State Farm that covers over 10k worth of electronics. It is an extra $5 a month. Hardly “doubling the cost” of my renter’s insurance.

    • RxDude says:

      If the cable co doesn’t have some insurance or disaster loss built into its business model, it’s their own damn fault.

      • Griking says:

        So you’re suggesting that cable companies raise all of our rates so that we all get fire insurance included in our plans that would cover the cost of their equipment? Um, no thank you, my cable bills are high enough as it is. Most customers should already have home and fire insurance which should reimburse them for this expense.

        • c152driver says:

          Yes–cable companies are in the business of providing cable service, not cable boxes. If I need a box to get service and it is destroyed through no fault of my own, they darn well better replace it with a smile–especially if they want me to keep paying them for service.

          • bar_foo says:

            Why? You are renting the box from the cable company. If you rent a tv and it’s destroyed in a fire, whether the fire is your fault or not you’re on the hook for it. Why would the cable box be any different?

    • greggen says:

      Sure, the cable company has a right to the value of the equipment, but $500-1000 for their POS receivers is highway robbery! Age of equipment, ACTUAL VALUE need to be determining factors.

  2. hosehead says:

    What’s the problem here? Is CableOne supposed to just eat the cost?

    If your car goes up in flames too, is the financing company expected to just walk away?

    Hopefully these people were smart enough to have insurance. It should be covered.

    • kc2idf says:

      If the financing company doesn’t require you to have appropriate insurance, then they are fools. I think the same principle applies here.

    • sagodjur says:

      “Is CableOne supposed to just eat the cost?”

      Yes, CableOne should eat the cost. That’s why company’s have insurance.

      • ndonahue says:

        if you expect companies to carry insurance, why isn’t it logical to expect people to carry insurance? Unless the individual who is responsible for the asset maintains the insurance, then a moral hazard is created.

        • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

          Um. The people owning the asset (CableOne) RENT the boxes to their customers. But you knew that.

          As an aside: I see you using the term “moral hazard”. I do not think that phrase means what you think it means.

      • Griking says:

        Actually it’s why people have insurance.

    • Megalomania says:

      that’s a completely inaccurate analogy. It would be accurate if the people owned the apartments and had mortgages with CableOne, but that’s so far out of left field that it’s not even the same game

      • Griking says:

        How about this example. What if I rented a vehicle from Hertz or some other company and chose not to pay for the additional insurance. I then parked the car in my garage which burned to the ground over night totalling the car.

        Who’s responsible for the damages to the car?

        • Extractor says:

          If you used the proper credit card, then the vehicle is covered by the card’s 0 deductible auto insurance policy. When I rent, all I care about is possibly getting dinged for the gasoline.

    • e065702 says:

      Cable one should pursue their claim against the party that is legally responsible for the fire, not whomever is least able to defend themselves against litigation.

      Geez corporations are soulless. I wish our laws impaired their rights to sue individuals and not the other way around.

      • ovalseven says:

        If you have my equipment, I hold you responsible for it. If you neighbor sets it on fire, why should it become my problem? You pay me, then you can go after the person that damaged equipment you were responsible for.

        What if they had a stack of movies from Netflix? Should Netflix just say “Don’t worry about paying for them”?

        • Pax says:

          Netflix has their own insurance on those disks.

          Why doesn’t the cable company have insurance on the boxes/etc they’re renting out?

          If you’re renting ANYthing out, you’d have to be a Grade A idiot not to insure the things you’re offering for rental!

    • JamesBE says:

      Yes, it’s called being fucking human.

      • shanelee24 says:

        No. Its not. Expecting companies to eat charges any and every time misfortune or disaster falls on someone is unreasonable. There are ways to protect oneself from these sorts of incidents, and it dosent fall on the company to take that hit. If they decide to help, thats awesome. And it would be great for the customers if they did, and I hope they do. But to expect it, and be indignent at the same time is entirely unreasonable.

  3. NashuaConsumerist says:

    Does the cable companies have insurance on their gear? Worst cast scenario the IF the customers were forced to pay it should be at COST only. They may value their gear at $1000 but there’s no way a cable modem costs them more than $10 or a DVR cable box $80 at most….

    • Robert Nagel says:

      The cable company has a right to be made whole. Not to make a profit. If the equipment costs them $100.00 then that is their damage and that is all they owe.

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        ‘Made whole’? I’m sorry — was it their house that burned down? No? Then I doubt they’re the ones needing to worry about being ‘made whole’!

    • Dover says:

      Don’t forget the depreciation and rental fees. The cable company should charge at most the value of the equipment, though a fairer value would subtract rental fees collected as well.

    • Kodai says:

      Not fire insurance when they are in a customer’s home. The customer assumes responsibility for the equipment. They have to pay if the equipment is damaged. The homeowner them claims the damages on their insurance.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      If you know how to get a cable modem for $10, or a DVR box for $80, call Comcast. You’d have the job as their head of purchasing on Monday.

  4. chipslave says:

    Just for a bit of clarification its Fargo, ND. :) Also, screw Cable One. They have a monopoly on the cable in Fargo. But yes, they should be able to recoup some expenses on their equipment.

    • SexCpotatoes says:

      I’ve never seen a place in America where there is NOT a cable monopoly. Not DSL, not FIOS, not SATTELLITE, cable, two (may exist) or three (doesn’t exist) cable companies fighting for your money, actual competition.

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        Norwood, MA has their own municipal cable and internet company. In addition, residents are free to get cable from Comcast as well.

        http://www.norwoodlight.com/

      • mobiuschic42 says:

        Um, I can choose between RCN and Comcast…that’s not a monopoly.

        • ChuckECheese says:

          those are called “duopolies,” and they are not much less evil than a monopoly.

          • SexCpotatoes says:

            Yeah, mobiuschic42, ever hear of “price collusion” look it up. Almost impossible to prove, but competing companies have been known to make secret deals to keep prices much higher than they should be if there were actual competition.

      • Garbanzo says:

        For a decade I lived in a city that had cable competition. Then I moved to a monopoly area controlled by one of the national cable companies whose customer horrors are always showing up on Consumerist. I didn’t want to deal with them so we’ve switched to antenna + Netflix.

  5. The cake is a lie! says:

    Yeah, case by case means they will pursue those who had fire insurance and let the rest slide. They will write off the ones without insurance as a loss and reap the benefit on their taxes. The rest will be billed to the insurance company at an inflated price to cover their losses. It is legalized insurance scamming if you ask me…

    • Robert Nagel says:

      There is no extra benefit on their taxes. The only impact is the lessened taxes based on less profit caused by the loss.

      • Dover says:

        If they counted the cable boxes as assets, wouldn’t they get to write them off as a loss? I don’t know much about this, genuinely curious.

        • NeverLetMeDown says:

          Sure, you can write them off, but that only means that you get an extra loss. Say a company has a piece of equipment that’s worth $1000. It burns up in a fire, and they don’t get any insurance money, and the customer doesn’t pay for it, so it’s just a loss. The company gets to reduce its taxable income by $1000. At a 35% tax rate, that means it pays $350 less in taxes. So, it’s still out $650.

          In other words, the loss is a deduction, like the one you take if you donate to charity. It reduces your taxable INCOME, not your taxes.

  6. ThomFabian says:

    Why should we expect the company to write off the equipment?

    Don’t get me wrong, I am truly sorry they lost their home in a fire, but it is precisely this sort of incident which underlines the importance of carrying renter’s insurance.

    • Rena says:

      I know if I rented or lended something out to someone, and it got destroyed because their home burned down, I wouldn’t even think of asking them to replace it. But then, I still have a heart.

      One thing if they break it or something falls on it or whatever, but when it’s lost in a tragic accident, you’d be a total jerk not to just write it off.

  7. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this standard until the cable company receives a copy of a report or something which “proves” the equipment is lost/damaged beyond repair, like has happened in almost every other case like this previously?
    http://consumerist.com/2010/05/comcast-would-like-you-to-return-the-cable-boxes-destroyed-when-your-home-burned-down.html

    • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

      OR…until the local new gets hold of the story and then the cable companies are willing to help out.

  8. iParadox{InLove} says:

    This is why I have insurance on all my boxes and stuff from my Satellite Provider.

  9. dragonfire81 says:

    “we’ve been hurt too.”

    Why because a metal box with some circuits in it that cost you practically nothing burned up in a fire? That’s a pretty stupid thing to say, trying to make it seem like the company is a victim too.

    • SexCpotatoes says:

      Do they have to refund the victims’ monthly charges? I mean they can’t watch the cable they are paying for to their burned up/down house, can’t use internet/phone either. So why are they complaining?

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      I think they mean emotionally.

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      Technically, those people also only lost “stuff”. sure the company didn’t experiance the same emotional loss and they aren’t out of a home, but they did in fact get “hurt” in that they lost something in the incident.

      Sure the guy should have used different words, maybe something that says “our stuff got ruined too, we know it isn’t as bad as the true victims but….”

  10. lindseyg says:

    “South Fargo, MN” should be “south Fargo, ND.”

    Apparently folks with renters insurance are saying their insurance won’t cover the equipment because it belongs to CableOne, not the renters. Hence CableOne’s insurance should pay.

    • ShruggingGalt says:

      Makes no sense. Does this mean you don’t have to get auto insurance on a car that you lease? It’s the same thing, only that the renters insurance is playing hardball. I’d say have the cable company sue me and then tender defense to the insurance company for non-payment. It would probably be paid ASAP.

      If property is under your custody, then it’s your responsibility, sorry. Another analogy: You have a friend’s {redacted expensive item} that he left with you while he/she went on a trip. While you’re gone, your place is broken into and the item is stolen. Under the current belief, your insurance doesn’t have to pay because the item didn’t belong to you, when in fact, it was under your custody….the renters insurance should pay and then subrogate to whomever caused the fire, if it wasn’t accidental.

      • lindseyg says:

        Of course it doesn’t make sense. We’ve got a cable company battling insurance companies in a Who Can Be A Bigger Asshole contest.

      • GearheadGeek says:

        While I agree that it doesn’t make sense, I don’t think your analogy is accurate. A car is real property on which you obtain a specific sort of insurance policy, it’s never covered under your homeowner’s policy. In the case of a leased car, the title holder is listed on the policy, etc.

        It’s been a decade or so since I had a renter’s policy. I believe that my homeowner’s policy covers such items (subject to applicable deductibles, of course.)

  11. raybury says:

    Hmm, so something I rent is the owners’ responsibility, not mine? That wouldn’t have any unintended consequences, no perverse incentives, right?

    I mean, no renter would order an apartment full of new rental furniture and A/V equipment and computers delivered to their apartment two weeks before moving out, then ask the rental company to take the loss when their old place mysteriously burns down, right?

    Because people don’t respond to incentives, right?

  12. Mr. Spy says:

    Isn’t a contract… A contract. They signed a contract saying that in the event of fire, they would have to pay for lost equipment. Whats the question here? That it’s tactless? You bet. Absolutely. But then trying to cheat your way out of a contract doesn’t make you a saint.

    • grithfang says:

      A contract is a contract unless you can afford to hire and pay a (some) lawyer(s). The a contract becomes a document that you have to decide if it is worth the money to defend. This isn’t a contract discussion really, its a power vacuum. Corporations have it, consumers usually don’t.

  13. perfectly_cromulent says:

    It’s sad that this is the story that makes my city make Consumerist! My best friend and her boyfriend lived there, they lost so much…it just is terrible that cable one is doing this. It’s too bad they have a monopoly over most the city, hopefully mid-continent will move across the city soon!

    • chipslave says:

      I just gave Cable One the boot this week. I got Midco now. Love it. But I am in N. Moorhead. Don’t expect Midco in Fargo anytime soon with the current monopoly they have.

      • Unclaoshi says:

        Cableone exclusive franchise agreement or whatever it is expired Sep of this year hopefully it wont be renewed and Midco will move in sooner or later

    • Unclaoshi says:

      I live in Fargo to! Midco says they dont plan on rolling out any new lines until late 2011 or early 2012 :/ I wish I could get Midco my friends in S. Moorhead have it and love it, a lot cheaper and faster. Im probably switching to Ideaone

      • perfectly_cromulent says:

        If you can switch, I recommend it :) cable one treated us like crap, so we told them we were switching. The very snooty rep said ,”fine, but don’t expect to ever get any good deals from us ever again!” I wanted to laugh and let him know he just cemented my resolve to get everyone I know to switch!

        • Unclaoshi says:

          Yeah that sounds about right for the cableone rep. They were rude to me too when I told them I was canceling cable for dish.

    • Hoss says:

      How did that fire get so out of control? Did they not call enough responders?

      • perfectly_cromulent says:

        Last I knew, the blaze traveled up from a 1st floor balcony and when it hit the attic and roof, it spread too quickly. It grew so fast that it was hours before it was contained, then another day making sure all the hotspots were out. I helped my friends clean out the items they wanted to salvage, and it was just terrible to see.

  14. Arimer says:

    Shoot for the prices cable one charges (at least in my area) They should be sending these people new free boxes and hoping to heck they don’t realize how badly they are getting screwed.

    • Zeke_D says:

      We know exactly how much we are getting screwed, but cableone is the only game in town. I pay $43 a month for 5MB service, and they are always throttling me to 2.5MB after I watch a few Netflix movies.

  15. Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

    “case by case basis” meaning: if you don’t care or make a big stink about us trying to charge you we will charge you and add late fees on top of it….oh, and have a nice day.

  16. twiggr says:

    Those boxes cost the cable company a fraction of those prices.

  17. Sparty999 says:

    you can’t single out the cable company for wanting to not lose a bunch of their equipment and not get something. Renters insurance would cover this… not necessarily fire insurance,

  18. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    “”We’ve been hurt too,” CableOne’s General Manager told the TODAY show.”

    This is just insulting. Seeking repayment for destroyed equipment is one thing, but this is tantamount to the BP CEO who said that he couldn’t wait for the spill to be over because it was cutting into his free time.

  19. B* says:

    Dangerous to charge people so much, especially up to $1000, when equipment is destroyed due to fire. Someone might get it into their head one day that they should risk fire to save the equipment and avoid the charge. Yes, only a numskull would do so, but still. Outside of moral consideration, it could open the company up to a lawsuit if someone was hurt or killed.

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      How so? How would it be different than back into a fire to save a $1,000 ring, or a coin collection?

      • B* says:

        Because if you own it, you can only sue yourself. If the cable company owns it, there’s someone to sue. And when it comes to filing lawsuits, if there’s a way, there’s a will.

      • B* says:

        Because if you own it, you can only sue yourself. If the cable company owns it, there’s someone to sue. And when it comes to filing lawsuits, if there’s a way, there’s a will.

    • msbask says:

      I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous.

  20. duxup says:

    “We’ve been hurt too,” CableOne’s General Manager told the TODAY show.

    What idiot let this dude go on TV?

  21. MrEvil says:

    You mean there are apartments out there that don’t require renters’ insurance?

    Nearly every complex in Austin TX requires renters’ insurance. My policy I got through AAA is $10/mo and covers every item in my apartment up to $30,000 that’s not provided by the complex (since that’s covered under a separate part of the policy).

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      I didn’t need renter’s insurance when I leased an apartment in Massachusetts. The rental documentation was VERY clear that I should get my own insurance, as the owner’s insurance would not cover my possessions.

  22. Unclaoshi says:

    Cableone actually started calling people the day after the fire thats what the big deal was, most people hadnt been staying at a place besides a tent the Red cross set up and before residents were even allowed back in to see the amount of damage done to their place. I live in Fargo and this was a big deal mainly because they didnt even wait 24 hours before calling. Its also sad because it was a pet friendly building and not everyone got their pets out :(

  23. JoeTheDragon says:

    What is a real cost of the cable box?
    I’m talking about the bluk cost that cable one pays.

    • ShadowFalls says:

      Not that much for sure. The cable boxes aren’t exactly what you would call an expensive and Hi-tech electronic. Most of these boxes were even probably old and on their way out anyways.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      About $75-80 for a regular cable box, about $200 for a DVR, about $30-40 for a cable modem.

  24. StrangeEmily says:

    That is really horrible news, I’m in an area where my provider has a monopoly on the cable in my area. We’ve gone through 5 or 6 HD-DVR’s this week alone and have yet to get a brand new working one yet. These companies are horrible when they have no-one to compete with, they’re fantastic but only if nothing goes wrong, because when it does… oh you are so alone.

  25. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Damn, that’s scary – I’m kind of glad that I don’t live in apartments any more. They should find the asshat who started it and make *him* pay for all the cable equipment.

  26. vastrightwing says:

    I sure hope the word gets out that CableOne will do this to all their customers and that the remaining customers return all their equipment to them at once! Since the equipment is so valuable to cableOne. I would not want to be on the hook for up to $1,000 of outdated electronic gear that depreciates to almost zero within a year or two. I suggest the rest of CableOne’s customers return their gear before a fire breaks out to avoid this situation from happening again!

  27. evilpete says:

    The customers should complain about their cable service being down….

  28. APCO25guy says:

    I cannot understand the logic here. If one can afford cable TV, one can afford RENTER’S INSURANCE. Renter’s insurance is cheap, and will pay for more than just burnt up cable boxes, like everything one owns that is damaged or destroyed by a fire or theft.

    “Customer Rick says they shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for his check. He won’t be paying them. “No. On principle, I’m not.”

    So what principle is this Rick? You were in control of someone else’s property that got damaged or destroyed, so why should you not be accountable for it? Why don’t YOU spend money on a decent renter’s insurance policy instead of beer, cigarettes and Wii’s and then you would be working on replacing all the stuff lost in the fire including the cable boxes instead of whining about “principles”.

    People please take some responsibility here.

  29. Holybalheadedchrist! says:

    Did it really take 73 comments before some said FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA?

    Wake up sheeple!

  30. dilbert69 says:

    I’m curious as to what “principle” “customer Rick” is invoking to avoid paying. If I leave something in your house with your consent, and you destroy that thing, whether purposely or not, wouldn’t compensating me for its replacement be reasonable? I suspect insurance would cover it.

  31. c152driver says:

    Legally, CableOne may be entitled to go after the renters, but, from a PR perspective, if they were smart they wouldn’t.

    Plus, the boxes are provided so that their customers can pay them for cable service. If they want to keep these people as customers, they should provide new cable boxes at no charge with a smile–it’s a cost of doing business.

  32. samonela says:

    You stay classy Cable One.

  33. JamesBE says:

    Everyone here who is taking the cable company’s side is an inhuman monster.

    It’s a fire, Cable One should maybe, oh I don’t know, show some sympathy and help out people who just lost everything?

  34. yurei avalon says:

    Am I a horrible person for thinking that the cable company has probably long made their money back off of these boxes via the monthly rental fee? I mean, unless the person’s only been a customer for a few months, surely they’ve ore than made back the cost of what the box would take to replace.

    If the house I live in burns down tomorrow and Fairpoint calls up to try and get my modem/router and Fios box back from me, I’ll be happy to show ‘em where we’re keeping the charred lumps. Just be sure you all wipe your feet coming in, ok now? Have a nice day Fairpoint, your equipment is junk anyway. Pretty sure that $60/mo for almost 3 years has more than repaid my equipment costs.

  35. FrankReality says:

    Certainly CableOne had property damaged, leased to the occupants of the apartments in the buildings, so they are due just compensation. There is likely some other equipment that was not-apartment specific such as patch boxes, cabling, etc.

    But, imagine if you will, the complexities of the situation. You have the building’s owners involved, their insurance companies, fire agencies attempting to determine cause, which also may end up caused by a single occupant or even an arsonist passing by. You’re dealing with the renter’s/occupant’s insurance – assuming they have it.

    There’s also an urgency component – those whose units and property were destroyed, have much higher priorities – like finding a place to stay, clothes to wear and gather enough things to be able to move on. Paying for cable boxes are not high on their list.

    Every insured unit – those totalled and those merely damaged will have to be inventoried and adjusted – after the tenants have been resettled.

    For all involved, these become a legal and administrative bucket of worms which has to be unraveled one worm at a time. In general most people involved in this process are reasonable, capable and are able to determine the true damages even when there are some attempting to scam them. But it eventually gets settled and closed out, and more often than not without serious lawsuits.

    It appears that the cable company is trying to grossly over-recover their losses (I’m being polite here), but the insurance companies know how to deal with that.

    The uninsured should keep in touch with their insured former neighbors, to understand how much the insurance settlement for a cable box is. If the insurance companies settle for $20 for a box, then the cable company shouldn’t be trying to collect $500 per box from the non-insured.

  36. SctVlk says:

    So, the contract didn’t say fire, it said damaged and I didn’t damage it. The equipment wasn’t new when I got it, I had it for years, and they wanted to charge me $500. Plus, they told me to sue someone to recoup the money I owe them. Yeah, and this is Fargo, what does that have to do with anything?

  37. Jane_Gage says:

    Eh, Penn-DOT just sent a young woman a four figure bill for the guardrail that tore her leg off during an icy crash: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/home_region/20101021_Amputee_billed_by_PennDot_for_guardrail.html?viewAll=Y&text=

  38. sqeelar says:

    Profiting from arson is probably a felony, even in Fargo. Who’s to say that fauty cable wiring didn’t cause the fire!

  39. r586 says:

    so we can’t buy our own equipment, these people probably have paid 3 times what the value was worth…yeah that’s fair, I wish our government would quit being a pansy and enforce our laws, and force the introduction of cablecard’s to eliminate these ridiculous and worthless cable boxes

  40. sendbillmoney says:

    If this contract clause favored the consumer, we’d be up in arms if CableOne didn’t abide by it because parties should abide by their contracts.

    This clause favors CableOne. The principle cuts both ways.

  41. Extractor says:

    When my boxes fail, I just swap them at the cable companys office. I would just bring the burned up ones and try to exchange them. They worked the other day but for some reason they dont work now.

  42. GarretN says:

    You guys fixed the story, but you should probably fix the tags too. MINNESOTA should really be NORTH DAKOTA.

  43. Jimmy37 says:

    Why is this being made a left-wing, feel-good, human-interest, sob story??

    The cable company didn’t start the fire and it wasn’t an act of G-d. It’s reasonable to expect, either the apartment complex or the person who’s apartment started it, to pay. There’s no blame, per se, just legal responsibility.

  44. The Porkchop Express says:

    for all the people saying they should have insurance on the things….they may have insurance but I bet they have a deductible that none of us would have and I haven’t read my contract with my provider but I’m sure there is something in there about being responsible for the box that you are using.

    Should they eat the cost? I don’t know really. good PR would be to eat it (not that this would have been reported because people expect it). Good business would be to not eat it (at least not all of it).

    Best would be to go against those who have coverage under renters insurance and maybe make a deal with or eat the cost of those who don’t. Plus, they should never get full value for the box unless they dropped it off the day before the fire. not only has some cost been covered by the rental payments, but the thing is a piece of electronics and those depreciate faster than damn near anything else.

  45. pot_roast says:

    Wow. Looks like the building had one common attic space and no firewalls or sprinklers in the attic space. That’s a recipe for disaster, as we can see.

  46. stevekuze says:
  47. swingerhead says:

    The renters insurance may pay for the damage but they are going to want a copy of the agreement saying that the insured is responsible for the property. And then, it depends on the policy if they are responsible for rented or leased items.

    Also depending on the policy, its going to pay actual cost, not replacement cost. That means how much is the box worth after depreciation for age and condition pre loss.

    For these kind of losses an insurance company is going to send out a contents specialist due to the size of the loss. In the end, the insurance company is going to go after whoever cause the fire to get their money back anyway. Subro baby!

  48. SkreanAme says:

    “We’ve been hurt too,” CableOne’s General Manager told the TODAY show.

    In the annals of stupid inappropriate things to say at the wrong time, this pretty much owns it. Sure, you have lost your home and earthly possessions, but we’re out a poorly made box that we require you to rent that we treat as a commodity (I used to work for Comcast, trust me, those boxes are all cheap crap).