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Senate Panel Releases Greenstein Bill To Expand Reimbursement Options For Cable Tv Subscribers

Measure Would Give Consumers More Choices After a Service Blackout

TRENTON – Legislation Senator Linda R. Greenstein sponsored to give consumers greater choice when asking their cable television provider to reimburse them after a lengthy service outage was today released by a Senate committee.

“Wherever and whenever consumers can have greater choices, we should be doing everything possible to expand their options,” said Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer). “Cable customers already have countless options when it comes to which channel to watch. They should have just as many options for receiving compensation when their service goes out.”

Currently, cable companies are only allowed to provide either a direct credit or rebate against monthly subscription charges as reimbursement to customers who experience a service outage that lasts at least six hours. The Greenstein measure (S-2478) would give consumers the option to instead receive alternative compensation, such as free access to premium programming channels or pay-per-view special events.

“Not every consumer may want a straight credit or rebate, especially if they were planning on ordering a premium channel or purchasing a pay-per-view event, anyway,” said Greenstein. “Consumers should be the ones choosing how they wish to be reimbursed. Acceptable and reasonable options should not be subject to a legal blackout.”

The bill also is sponsored by Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). It had previously passed the Assembly by a unanimous vote.

The Senate Economic Growth Committee released the measure 6-0. It now is poised for a final vote in the full Senate.