Are they wrongly charging you an equipment return fee? We may be able to help.
First of all, when you get equipment after opening a new account with an internet provider, you should hang on to the box in which the equipment was sent. You are technically renting that equipment which means you pay a monthly fee to use it, and then when you’re done, you have to return it. It’s expected that you will return it in roughly the same condition in which it was sent to you.
Each major internet provider is different when it comes to what you have to return. Google Fiber, for example, wants you to return each and every piece of the equipment that was mailed to you including power cables and remote control whereas companies like AT&T for Comcast don’t care as much about the power cables or remotes.
Knowing which item you have to return based on your internet provider is paramount; failure to return even one item that you are supposed to will result in a lot of fees and these fees are surprisingly high.
If you don’t return the equipment, you get charged. This will be applied to your next bill if you are downgrading or upgrading your account, or it will show up on your final bill if you have closed your account.
It is important to note that internet providers will charge roughly the same equipment fee which is typically between $100 and $200, per piece of equipment. This means if you have a power table, a router, a modem, and a remote control that you need to return, and you leave out two of those, you will be charged twice.
Even if you send your equipment in a timely fashion, if it doesn’t arrive by the deadline or it arrives after the deadline, most companies will charge you immediately for the equipment fee and then purportedly refund you within a few months after, but it’s really up to you to stay on their heels and make sure they do it.
Note: Internet providers each have a different deadline. Some have a very fast deadline of 10 business days while others have more lenient deadlines of 60 days. Whatever the deadline is, you have to make sure that your items are received by the companies, not just shipped, by that date.
In order to make sure that you don’t face bogus equipment return fees and that your items are received by the company in a timely fashion, you can either send them through the mail or deliver them in person.
If you send them through the mail, most companies will arrange a prepaid shipping label through the provider with whom they have a business account already. This is usually UPS. However, some internet providers will let you choose when you close out your account, which shipping company you want to use whether it is FedEx, UPS, or regular USPS. They will provide a shipping label to the corresponding company.
In some cases you might be able to drop off your equipment and have the shipping company package it and send it and in other cases you will be responsible for packaging it. This all comes down to your provider and what option you choose. No matter what you choose, however, make sure that you get delivery confirmation and tracking so that you can prove your equipment was received, on time.
Most providers give you the opportunity to visit a physical location near you and return the equipment in person. This seems simple enough because there’s no shipping hassle and of course the equipment gets there in a timely fashion without any potential delays. If you do this, be sure to get a receipt from the attendant with whom you worked. Again, you need to be able to prove that you returned your equipment in a timely fashion.
Be sure to take pictures before you send your equipment off. This includes pictures of the equipment before you put it in the package and after you have packaged it. Doing so will provide you with more documentation that your equipment was in good working order, which you will need if they tried to levy a damage fee against you.
Similar to the fee for unreturned equipment, you might face a fee because your equipment was purportedly lost. Big companies tend to conveniently lose equipment in the mail even if you follow all of their steps and send everything back the right way. When this happens, they charge your account and you’re on the hook for a few hundred dollars at least. This can be very frustrating for customers who did everything the right way, used the prepaid labels, and shipped everything in good working condition.
You might also see damage fees. Damage these are what a company charges you if they believe that you abused their equipment or if it arrives in poor condition. You might face a bogus fee because your box, while properly shipped and cared for, was damaged in transit through no fault of your own. Other times you might have taken great care of the product and yet still see that extra fee.
If you have any of these bogus equipment return fees from your internet provider, we can help. You have legal recourse to fight your internet provider, especially if your items were in good working order, and were shipped and delivered on time.
At FairShake, we can help you fight your internet provider to reverse bogus equipment return fees and make sure you don’t pay money you shouldn’t owe.
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