* Service disrupted after Hurricane Sandy
* Cablevision said to fail to offer required rebates
* Cablevision says lawsuit without merit
By Jonathan Stempel
Nov 14 Cablevision Systems Corp has been
accused in a $250 million lawsuit of continuing to bill and
failing to offer rebates to more than 1 million customers who
lost TV, Internet or phone service because of Hurricane Sandy.
The complaint, filed on Tuesday with the New York State
Supreme Court in Nassau County, said Cablevision had not met its
contractual obligation to offer credits to customers who lost
service for more than 24 hours.
It said the Bethpage, New York-based company instead offered
rebates only to its "most favored" customers on a discretionary
basis, and only after they requested them.
The lawsuit seeks class-action status, rebates, punitive
damages and a halt on future billing for periods where there are
lengthy service outages.
Cablevision spokesman Charlie Schueler said the complaint
"misstates the facts" and is without merit.
"Blanket or arbitrary credits for cable outages could
shortchange customers," he said. "Each case is different and our
policy covers the entire period of time when Cablevision service
was out, including when the service interruption was caused by
the loss of electrical power."
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of subscribers Irwin Bard,
a retired businessman from Oyster Bay, New York, and his son
Jeffery, a lawyer from Huntington, New York, their lawyer Hunter
He said the $250 million figure is based on the duration of
outages, the number of people affected, and the services lost.
"Most customers didn't complain because the company was
making public statements that it was doing its best to restore
service," Shkolnik said in a phone interview. "But that means if
you didn't call, you didn't know you could get a rebate."
Also on Tuesday, the Long Island Power Authority and
UK-based National Grid Plc were sued over alleged
negligence linked to power outages in Nassau and Suffolk
counties that followed the late-October storm.
In afternoon trading, Cablevision shares were down 2.1
percent to $13.94.
The case is Bard et al v. Cablevision Systems Corp et al,
New York State Supreme Court, Nassau County, No. 602291/2012.