Cable TV Nightmare

A self-described Southern California outdoorsman has a corporate giant in his sites.

He says his cable provider canceled the two channels that got him to sign up in the first place.

Now they won't refund his money and won't let him out of his contract.

You don't have to look hard inside Sean Keogan's man cave to see it's the outdoors he craves.

"This is a 22-250," he says. "It's a varmint rifle."

Hunting, fishing, if it runs, flies or swims, "I’m predator control," he says.

When Keogan isn't on the hunt, he's watching it.

"The Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel, I watch them all the time," he says.

Not anymore. There was a text on the screen that said, "you're TV's not broken, but the Sportsman's Channel is no longer available."

The cancellations triggered anger for Keogan, who'd just renewed his contract with Verizon FiOS TV.

"They don't do a month to month or a yearly contract," he says. "It's a two-year commitment."

So now keogan is hunting for satisfaction from Verizon FiOS TV. He was looking to cancel the service and get a refund. Since the channels he watches are no longer offered, he learned corporate game bites back.

"It would be $220, $230 early cancellation fee," he says.

"The ability to get out of a cable TV contract because of the change in the channels, it's got to be a pretty substantial change," says Stuart Talley, a consumer attorney.

Talley says those changes could include the cancellation of a major network, or stations with high subscriptions.

"If you have someone that's an avid hunter and it's material to him that they got rid of the channel that's not the standard," Talley says. "You have to look at what the reasonable person would think."

A spokesperson for Verizon FiOS TV says the Sportsman and Outdoor channels had low viewership that cancellation was a business decision to avoid passing on fees for content to customers.

"To prevent those costs from being reflected on your bill, it is sometimes necessary to remove channels from our line up," the company says in a statement.

But Keogan says his bill never changed.

"So do they just put that money in their pocket?" he says.

Verizon FiOS TV says they've reached out to Keogan, offering him a new cable package and will waive any cancellation fees if he chooses another provider.

For now, the only outdoor adventures Keogan will enjoy are his own, which he says happens about five times a month.

Even if a company won't let you out of your cable contract — there are often ways to lower your bill substantially, with just a phone call to your provider.

Verizon's full statement from spokesman Ray McConville:

We work hard to keep FiOS TV costs reasonable for our customers. Content costs have increased significantly in recent years and in order to prevent all of those increases from being reflected on customers’ bills, unfortunately we sometimes have to remove channels from the lineup. We understand the inconvenience this causes which is why we do loyalty credits like the one Sean mentioned receiving.

Also, while it’s sometimes necessary to remove channels, we also add programming every year as well whether it’s more VOD titles, additional channels, or more content viewable outside the home through the FiOS Mobile App. For example, this week we relaunched Blue Highways TV, which, like Sportsman and Outdoor, is another network that caters to outdoorsy/rural interests.

Follow these links:

Contact Us