Customers protected after repairman no-shows

September 4, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
No one likes to sit around the house waiting for a service provider to show up, but you do have rights when it comes to service appointments.

Appointments for home repair and delivery services are rarely convenient. Often times we end up taking time off out of our work day waiting, at home for the repair. So what happens if the serviceman doesn't show up?

Gary Muto of San Ramon waited and waited in all, he waited 12 hours on New Year's Eve for someone to come install his phone. Twice during that day he says he was assured by AT&T that someone was on his way. No one ever came.

"I wasted a day. I took a day off of work," said Muto.

California's civil code states that services like a utility company must keep their appointments.

"If they don't keep them, a customer has the right to take the utility to small claims court and sue for actual damages not to exceed $600," said Bill Nusbaum from the Utility Reform Network in San Francisco.

That same civil code also requires service providers to give you a four-hour window for that appointment.

"The consumer should be pretty aggressive with the carrier with look, I deserve to get a four-hour window, the law says I should get a four-hour window, you need to give me a four-hour window," said Nusbaum.

Gary is well aware of his rights, and he's not afraid to exercise them.

"You have to understand, this is a little upsetting. I can understand, when you make an appointment with a utility company, they give you a four-hour window. That's acceptable to me. AT&T gives me a 12-hour window and they didn't show up," said Muto.

Gary went on to sue AT&T in small claims court.

The phone giant declined an on camera interview, but by e-mail told 7 On Your Side: "It is committed to taking care of customers and to doing all it can to make sure it meets appointment windows. We regret not meeting this customer's expectations."

The judge ruled in Gary's favor after AT&T failed to show up in court.

"I just wouldn't stand for it. Stick up for yourself, I did," said Muto.

The judge awarded Gary $465, which he donated to the American Cancer Society.

Related Links:

  • California Civil Code Section 1722
  • PG&E Customer Service Guarantees


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