NY Demanding Refunds For Spectrum Cable Subscribers Amid Carriage Dispute With Disney

Leaders in New York are demanding that Spectrum cable subscribers receive partial refunds after losing programming due to the company’s ongoing carriage dispute with Disney and its numerous platforms.

Walt Disney Studios headquarters in Burbank, California.
Walt Disney Studios headquarters in Burbank, California. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Coolcaesar

The Walt Disney Company, whose vast media portfolio includes ABC and ESPN, pulled its programming from Spectrum’s lineup on Thursday, Aug. 31, impacting nearly 15 million cable subscribers across the country, including 1.5 million in New York. 

The companies have yet to reach a distribution deal.

On Friday, Sept. 8, New York Public Service Commission CEO Rory Christian sent a letter to Spectrum’s parent company, Charter Communications, asking for confirmation that cable subscribers will in fact receive credits on their bills because of the outage.

“We are encouraged by Charter’s CEO statements to investors that customers will be treated fairly and provided with appropriate refunds,” Christian said in the letter.

“However, at this time there is insufficient information about how such credits will be provided, and that is resulting in customer confusion and an increasing number of customer complaints to our call center.”

Christian asked Charter to confirm, within 14 days, the amount that customers will be credited and by what date, as well as an explanation for how that amount was calculated.

Gov. Kathy Hochul also weighed in on the dispute Friday, saying the impasse is forcing customers to miss some of the highest profile televised events of the year.

“It's simple: if you pay your cable bill, you deserve to get the services you pay for,” Hochul said. 

“The least these companies can do is provide a refund. Disney and Charter must continue negotiating in good faith to ensure affordability and consumer choice.”

Hochul urged Disney to continue providing its programming under the terms of the prior agreement while negotiations continue.

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