Homeowner billed for car crash repairs

January 15, 2010 1:49:15 PM PST
Sometimes an event that is not your fault can wind up costing you money. That's just what happened to a Bay Area consumer when a terrible car accident happened outside her house.

Cecilia Logan was entertaining friends for lunch out on her deck, when suddenly there was an earsplitting crash.

"We heard this horrible, horrible sound which made us all go running in that direction," she said.

A driver had come around a curve a little too fast and crashed into a Verizon telephone pole, knocking the pole and wires to the ground.

"What I saw was the telephone pole was across the road. It had snapped off and the man's car, the back of the car, was on what was left of the standing telephone pole. So it really was bad," Cecilia said.

And not surprisingly, Cecilia returned home to find her Verizon landline knocked out of service. Verizon came out quickly and restored service to the neighborhood, but Cecilia says her phone still wasn't working quite right.

"The dial tone was there but then I heard other conversations on the line and a lot of static," she said.

Verizon technicians came by three times and finally fixed her line. Cecilia was happy until she got her next phone bill and she was shocked to see Verizon had charged her for the repairs -- $256 in all.

"I'm like what in the world, why am I being charged I did not knock down the telephone pole?" she said.

Cecilia called Verizon and she says the company agreed to remove the charges. But after she returned from a holiday trip, she found her phone had been disconnected. Verizon cut off her phone service for failure to pay the $256.

"I was so frustrated and thought 'what am I going to do.' I just want to rip this phone out and let them take me to jail and I thought no better idea, 7 On Your Side," she said.

We contacted Verizon and the phone company said Cecilia was charged that money because technicians had to replace wiring under her house that had been damaged by animals chewing the wires.

But Cecilia says she never had a single problem with the phone until that accident.

"I just felt it was unfair for them to charge me. They could find out who knocked the telephone pole down and charge him," she said.

After our calls, Verizon agreed the accident appeared to have triggered her phone problems. So Verizon removed the charges and Cecilia's phone was back on two days after she called.

"I'm very glad I did and very grateful to Channel 7 and 7 On Your Side," she said.

The phone company is responsible for all damages off your property, but in general you are responsible for damage to internal wiring on your property.