On Your Side: Consumer tips for storm victims

- As folks continue to sort through tornado damage to their homes, there is some money-saving information I want to pass along and it has to do with non-metered services – things like TV, internet and phone communication.

Many homes have been so heavily damaged that these services can no longer be used. Equipment may also be damaged or even gone.

Let’s start with Time Warner Cable.

If your equipment has been damaged due to the tornadoes, you will not be charged by Time Warner. Typically the cost is covered by home owners or renters insurance, but a Time Warner spokesperson tells me even if you do not have insurance, the company will replace your lost or damaged equipment at no cost to you.

As for home phone, internet or cable service itself, some folks no longer have a home in which to use it. Give the company a call and ask for a suspension of service, that way you won’t continue to be billed until your home is back up and running. The number to call is 1-800-892-2253.

Turning to your wireless services like your cellphone, you may have experienced loss or damage, which again should be covered under your insurance. But there is additional help for you.

AT&T is offering extra wireless assistance through Jan. 10. Customers whose phones were lost or damaged will be able to upgrade to a new device and the upgrade fee will be waived.

Those who are unable to upgrade may want to look at AT&T’s Go Phone, which the company is offering starting at $14.99.

For wired home phone service, AT&T is waiving the set up charge and one month rate for call forwarding and voicemail services, as well as a waiver of any service charge for installation or service at the customer’s temporary location and again when the customer returns home. The number to call is 1-800-288-2020.

In addition, AT&T has set up free charging stations at the Red Cross shelters at Stedham Elementary School in Rowlett, Gale Field Recreational Center in Garland and Moates Elementary in Glenn Heights.

For those wondering about electricity, gas and water, those services are metered and can only be billed when used.

For more information or to get in touch with Steve Noviello, visit facebook.com/savemesteve.

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