Does your provider owe you money for their service outages?

Taylor Gadsden

Nov 26, 2019 — 4 min read

Does your provider owe you money when your service goes down? Find out which providers are liable for service outages and will credit your bill in the event of an interruption.

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You spend a good chunk of your monthly budget making sure home services like TV, internet and home phone are up and running when you need them. But what happens when there’s an outage lasting more than a few minutes? Are you still expected to pay for a full month’s service?

We break down the policies of major providers and how you can go about negotiating your final monthly bill.

Can I get discounted home services after an internet outage?

The answer will largely depend on who your provider is and how long the TV or internet outage may have occurred. Only a handful of providers outline how outages will affect your bill and most are ambiguous as to what customers can do to address the issue. 

Providers like Cox, for example, don’t address adjustments to your bill. However, they do state:

“Cox will not be liable for any delay, interruption of Service, failure of performance of Cox or Customer Equipment, or any loss, liability or damage directly or indirectly caused by circumstances beyond our control, including but not limited to acts of God, flood, explosion or other catastrophes, causes attributable to you, Your Equipment or your property, acts of third parties, national emergencies, acts of terrorism, insurrections, riots, wars, unavailability of rights-of-way, loss of use of poles or other utility facilities, material shortages, power outages or reductions, failure of any cable signal at the transmitter, failure of a satellite, strikes, lockouts, or work stoppages, or any law, order, regulation, or request of the federal, state or local governments having jurisdiction over Cox. ”

DISH, Verizon Fios, Frontier and Mediacom take a similar approach, often stating that the provider is not liable to service conflicts beyond and sometimes within their control. 

Providers like AT&T, DIRECTV, and Spectrum do state in their terms of use that customers may receive a credit in the event of a service outage, but they don’t explicitly state what factors would qualify someone for a refund. Let’s take a look at the fine print in Spectrum’s customer agreement.

“All Services are provided on an “AS IS” and “AS AVAILABLE” basis. In no event shall Spectrum be liable for any failure or interruption of Service, including without limitation those failures and interruptions resulting in part or entirely from circumstances beyond Spectrum’s reasonable control. Subject to applicable law, Spectrum may give credit with respect to Subscriber’s recurring monthly subscription fee for qualifying outages of Services.”

Xfinity is currently one of the only major providers that define the length of time (24 hours) that an outage must occur before any credit is considered. The amount of this credit is at the discretion of Xfinity.

First step: Call customer service

Even if your provider states they aren’t liable for a TV or internet outage and won’t be crediting you in the event of one, call anyway! Many customers have noted their success on user forums by simply giving their provider a call and talking through the issue. 

Let the representative know which services you currently subscribe to and for how long they were unavailable for your use. If the time is substantial, it’s more than likely you’ll receive a credit for the length of time your services were out. One user suggests doing some simple math of your monthly cost versus the amount of time your services were down before calling. If the outage lasted less than 24 hours, you may be calling in for a refund amount of less than a dollar. 

If you’ve experienced a service outage, locate your provider’s customer service number from the directory below and explain your situation sooner rather than later.

Second step: Try the Trim app

If you’re looking to skip the call to customer service, it turns out there’s an app for that! The Trim app is your personal financial assistant and can help with everything from cutting the extra fat from your monthly bills to flagging and canceling dormant subscriptions linked to your bank account. Trim also allows you to negotiate with your service provider in the event of an outage. Bill negotiation through the app is currently compatible with Cox, DIRECTV, Spectrum, Verizon and Xfinity providers. 

Simply sign up for free and sync any existing accounts that are linked to your bank accounts. In the event of an outage, report it through the app and let Trim do all the negotiating for you via chatbot. One important thing to note: Trim will take 33% of any yearly savings you earn, but if you’re a novice to bill negotiation the fee could be well worth it.

Service outages can be a major pain, but if you know the proper steps to take, you may be able to save some money for the inconvenience of your TV or internet outage. Find more home service tips from our experts on Facebook or Twitter