Legal Question in Business Law in California

I have run a small and profitable business for the past 12 years. This past December 5th (which is the busiest time of the year since it is also year end for my business cycle), my business telephone lines, fax lines and internet all went down at the same time. Despite a myriad of my calls to the telephone company, they took over a week to come out and inspect the problem. They determined that the phone cable on their telephone pole which is connected to my business, short circuited and needed to be replaced. Yet, they took another week to come out and replace the telephone cable. All calls to my office received the following message,"The number you have dialed is disconnected or no longer in service." As a result of 16 days of downtime, I lost over $10,000 of business from staff payroll to daily operations and new client upcalls. I had no phones, internet or fax. I was forced to use my cell phone, go to Kinko's for my faxes and internet. Therefore, I filed a claim with the telephone company for a credit against my phone bill ($300 monthly) for just $100 per day or $1,600. They said they would investigate my claim with their management, but they told me to pay the $300 monthly bill in the meatime. I told them I would not pay the bill since I did not receive their phone, fax and internet service from which the $300 bill is derived. What are my rights against the telephone company?

Asked on 1/16/15, 1:03 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Keith E. Cooper Keith E. Cooper, Esq.

You definitely should not have to pay for days on which you didn't receive service, and the phone company should have offered that to you when you called. Usually, the customer service rep can see in their records there was an outage (or can refer to a repair rep who can), so I wonder why they would need to investigate it. If you are disputing a bill, you should do so in writing in order to protect your rights. You may also want to file a complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission.

As for a claim for lost business, you would need to consult privately with an attorney who can look at your specific situation and advise you on your options.

Read more
Answered on 1/30/15, 2:25 pm

Related Questions & Answers

More Business Law questions and answers in California