Optimum service restored to Charleston woman after WSAZ inquiry

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 8:06 PM EDT
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - LeaVada Canaday said the death of her husband, Paul, before their 50th anniversary this summer shook her world.

“A couple of months ago we found out he had lung cancer, and it was stage four by that time, and there wasn’t anything we could do,” she said. “We were part of each other, you know, what I knew he knew and vice versa, you know?”

Days after Paul’s passing in August, a windstorm ripped through her neighborhood. She said a tree branch knocked down a cable line and took her Optimum cable, internet and phone service with it.

“We still had cable for about a day or so and then it just faded completely out, so naturally, we called the cable company,” she said. “And they [said] they would be right up here, to check it out, after you’ve been told, I couldn’t tell you the number of times, ‘it’ll be 24 hours to 48 hours’, ‘we’ll have someone up there to check it out’, that 48 hours sure has stretched a long ways’.”

LeaVada said in early September, one worker came to set up the new cable line but never hooked up service. She said she was not the only one affected by the lack of service.

“The kids can’t do their homework, they have these little pads that they have to bring home to do their homework they can’t do that, they have to make time at school,” she said. “They’re getting behind, because there’s so much of it and they can’t watch TV, they can’t play their games.”

She learned one Optimum service that had not stopped was her monthly bill. She received two bills since her service stopped, totaling more than $600, and only received a $43 credit.

She reached out to WSAZ to get back what she could get service restored.

“I feel like if you don’t have any service period, you shouldn’t pay any money period until you get said service replaced, am I wrong?”

West Virginia Del. Daniel Linville, who is the Chairman of the West Virginia House Committee on Technology and Infrastructure said LeaVada situation is a violation of the Broadband Expansion Act of 2021.

“If your service is out for 24 hours or more, you are - upon request - to do a proportional bill credit for the time in which your service is out so long as no fault of the customer,” he explained. “It sounds like in this situation, certainly not her fault that there was some difficult storm damage.”

WSAZ reached out to Optimum asking what the provider had been doing to restore all of LeaVada’s services, why she had been charged and mentioned Linville’s concerns.

Hours after WSAZ’s initial email inquiry, a spokesperson for Optimum replied saying:

“A technical crew is on their way to the customer’s residence now to address the issue and get them back online. We have also let the customer know that they will not be responsible for payment for the time that they were without service. Providing superior service and support is a top priority, and we are looking into this situation closely so we can provide a better experience going forward.”

When asked what she hopes sharing her story does, LeaVada thought of other customers.

“I hope other patrons of this company will think long and hard about, you know, their service, if anything happens, will they be able to get any help?”

Following the service restoration, one of LeaVada’s family members told WSAZ they received an email from Optimum saying their issues had been resolved and services had been running.

Additionally, the company told them their account had been credited for the time they had been without service and on a promotional offer that lasts for 12 months.