AT&T Won't Charge Couple For Leaving Satellite Receiver Behind In Flaming House

AT&T wrote in to say they won’t be charging the family whose house burned down in the California wildfires for the satellite dish they left behind when fleeing for the lives

“This customer initially called AT&T to discuss other communications services. After she was transferred to Dish, the disaster policy Dish has in place was not followed. This customer will not be charged for service cancellation or equipment fees—-that is our policy, and the policy of Dish, in times of natural disasters. We have spoken with this customer to clarify our policy, and we are committed to taking care of all customers affected by the fires.”

PREVIOUSLY: AT&T Asks CA Wildfire Victims If They Remembered To Pick Up Satellite Receiver As They Fled Their Burning House


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  1. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    CYA anyone? BS on AT&T.

  2. mandarin says:

    They sure have dumb phone support…

  3. full.tang.halo says:

    back peddle much AT&T???

  4. IphtashuFitz says:

    $100 says that the “disaster policy Dish has in place” was put in place within the last 24 hours.

  5. Caprica Six says:

    well, duh…after they were outed they were needing to back pedal!

  6. bradriley says:

    Then do things right the first time! Saves from expensive re-work!!

  7. Bladefist says:

    I agree with all of you, but atleast they did it. They didn’t have to. They are big enough that it probably wouldn’t have mattered. Sure a few may have refused to do business with them, but to a company that big, thousands would have had to react.

  8. jmckee says:

    I guess I am the only person that doesn’t see any reason why AT&T should be doing this. I don’t see how AT&T should have any more obligation to forgive the debt than an auto loan company should because someone’s car burned up in the fire or a mortgage company should forgive the debt because someone’s house burned down. Perhaps credit card companies should issue refunds for any purchases that ended up burning in the fire.

    They handled it poorly, we’ve only heard one side of the story, but would there really be the same reaction if someone complained that that their leasing company is making them pay for their car that burned up in the fire?

    People are insured for this exact reason, I don’t see any reason why AT&T should be expected to eat this loss than any other provider of credit.

  9. homerjay says:

    Sorry AT&T but the pedals on YOUR bike don’t go backwards anymore. We’re not stupid enough to think you made a ‘mistake.’

  10. yoshi says:

    RTFP… This was Dish network, not AT&T’s fault.

    Get a grip Apple fanboys. You’re still mad cause you can’t use your iPhone on another wireless network.


  11. Myron says:

    “We have spoken with this customer to clarify our policy”

    It would be better to speak with your EMPLOYEES to clarify your policy.

  12. XTC46 says:

    @mandarin: not dumb, poorly trained. A phone person will only say what they are told to. if they were never told they could make this exception, then they will not make it. the phone person has no authority to grant a $300 credit so I dont blame them.

  13. I don’t see how AT&T should have any more obligation to forgive the debt than an auto loan company should because someone’s car burned up…

    @jmckee: They aren’t obligated to forgive the debt. Had they worked with the couple as far as paying for the dish this wouldn’t even have been news. But they didn’t want to wait for their insurance knowing that there was no way they’d be able to pay the $300 right away.

    …would there really be the same reaction if someone complained that that their leasing company is making them pay for their car that burned up in the fire?

    No, because most people with cars have someplace to live. Assuming you can still get to work, you can still make your car payments the same as before. These people lost everything. Where was the $300 supposed to come from? How were they going to pay for it before getting money from their insurance?

  14. homerjay says:

    @yoshi: Why would we want to RTFA? Putting the hate on AT&T is much more fun than Dish. Dish isn’t evil.

  15. Lattefun says:

    I had Dish network for 4 years, and found them to be very fair, and their customer support to be extremely helpful. I don’t know what they are like now, but when I was their customer, they helped me through a fair number of self inflicted technical issues as well as a lightning strike that took out every electronic device in my home and were very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful.
    One comment I would like to make about homeowners policies is that many don’t cover satellite receivers and related equipment under the “standard” policy.

  16. FijianTribe says:

    Even if AT&T did require their home owners insurance to pay, if you remember the initial video, she said they would not even delay the bill.

    I mean seriously, If you dont want to eat the loss AT&T at least be kind enough to wait till the people get the insurance money.

    Talk about arogance…

  17. royal72 says:

    dear at&t,
    fuck you once again you greedy cunt pumps. also, thank you for continually ensuring that i will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever use any of your services. even if you’re the last communications provider on earth. please feel free to die a painful and horrible death.
    thank you for your cooperation in this matter,

  18. JRuiz47 says:

    Question to Ben: Did AT&T tell you what their policies are in that case?

  19. Hawk07 says:

    That was fast. I knew it would be quick that AT&T would have a come to Jesus meeting and realize the errors of their ways.

    But the spin aspect was good. I didn’t expect them to play a “CSR was not following protocol”

  20. shadowless says:

    @ JMCKEE

    The customers weren’t asking for the whole thing to be forgiven. They just wanted more time because their HOUSE BURNED DOWN. It only logically follows that they shouldn’t be in a position to pay for anything until after they’ve collected on insurance. That is what the customer said. She’d pay once she collected insurance.

    Either you didn’t listen to the video, or you’re soulless.

  21. shadowless says:

    @xtc46: The supervisor DOES have the authority to, at the very least, delay the $300 payment. Espeically considering that this was all that was asked of them. They were still going to get paid.

    Besides, if I was just a random employee, if someone called saying their house just burned down I wouldn’t think to myself “Well, this sounds like one I should do by the books.” I’d think, “I’d better get my manager.”

  22. Phildawg says:

    wouldn’t the person’s insurance cover this? since their house burned down, does their credit card companies need to say they don’t owe them for the items that were burned up?

  23. davidc says:


    So … you going to stop using the internetZ? You might actually be sending packets on their network, which is generating them revenue.

    Well, good luck on getting my in life without the Net. Or did your convictions just dry up?

  24. kwsdurango says:

    @Phildawg: Agreed – Home owner’s insurance should cover it. ATT should have memo’d employees and / or made arrangements in this case (and all the pending cases where this is about to happen to other fire-victim-Dish-customers) to allow for delayed payments for lost equipment so that insurance could be properly filed without penalty to the customers. Surprising they don’t have that kind of language in their protocol for when natural disasters happen.

  25. pyloff says:

    Who recovers from their house burning down and decides zero day to cancel their AT&T service. Thats whats topps on my list…

  26. homerjay says:

    @royal72: Wow. Got some anger issues there, dude?

  27. LAGirl says:

    why does it take a public shaming for these companies to do the right thing???

  28. legotech says:

    @pyloff: Sometimes when something of this magnetude happens, people sort of try to find some sort of normalcy…and I guess calling and cancelling phone/cable/gas/electric whatever was the closest she could come to feeling like there was something that she had some measure of control over.

  29. Draconianspark says:

    I don’t doubt that she should be liable for the cost of the receiver, but for AT&T to refuse to defer the bill is what really struck me as e – v – i – l

  30. ShadowFalls says:

    No one wasn’t doubting the cost of the equipment wasn’t the leaser’s responsibility, not even the people who had lost their home. They just wanted some time, that was all they were asking for.

  31. TMurphy says:

    Looks like AT&T is taking a few pages from FEMA’s book on emergency response.

  32. Jesse in Japan says:

    What’s wrong with these people? In the event of a fire, first you get the satellite dish to safety, and then you get your kids out of there.

  33. hi says:

    They won’t charge for leaving the ‘satellite receiver’ behind. They will however charge a $500 fee for not having to charge for not receiving the said ‘satellite receiver’ which was left behind. With interest.

  34. @full.tang.halo: really though…

  35. erratapage says:

    Here’s what you do when you experience a disaster in your life (from personal experience):

    1. You call/email everyone you can to tell them the news (usually in the 3-4 hours);
    2. You sit staring out in space for some time (for an hour or two);
    3. You attempt to do something, anything productive (anywhere from 4 hours to 2 days);
    4. You crash and burn.

    It just makes sense to make the customer service calls before you crash.

  36. iamlost26 says:

    If anyone’s interested, I think Time Warner is taking a hint not to end up like AT&T:


    key items:
    -billing stopped as of 10/22
    -no charge for equipment lost or damaged
    -when you are ready to begin services, time warner will install you for free and will provide one month of free services