In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, there was an outpouring of sympathy from places where you might least expect it. Banks waived fees and even the sticklers at the IRS lightened up and extended tax deadlines in the worst-hit places.
But victims of the superstorm still had some trouble dealing with the financial consequences of their lights going off, their cable conking out and their wireless phones growing minds of their own.
Paul Deebel's cable TV didn't work even though he had a generator, yet he said Service Electric initially told him it wouldn't credit his bill.
Deebel, of Lower Milford Township, told me Service Electric said the outage wasn't its fault because it had no electricity to its lines. Deebel said he appealed to a supervisor and got a credit the next day.
Some people may get refunds while others won't, Service Electric General Manager Jack Capparell told me. It depends on when and why you didn't have service, including whether it was due to Service Electric's lines being down or a power outage.
RCN also considers each request individually, spokeswoman Joanne Guerriero said.
Comcast customers can request refunds regardless of the cause of their outage, spokesman Jeff Alexander said.
Customers hit with late fees for not paying their electric bills on time immediately after the storm also can seek credits, PPL and Met-Ed told me.
Paul Kramer of Upper Saucon Township got his money back after his wireless phone went into costly roaming mode, presumably because Sprint's wireless towers went down.
But he still questions the efficiency of the back-up system, including his inability to receive calls at a critical time when he was trying to stay in touch with family.
Kramer said every call he made connected him to Verizon's wireless network. Then he was passed to American Roaming Network, which required payment to make a call. He paid $35 for 300 minutes.
His Sprint plan is supposed to include roaming costs, but it wasn't the money that bothered him the most.
Every time he got to American Roaming Network, he had to redial the number he was trying to reach.
"In the midst of a hurricane, we were wasting our time and battery going through an inane prepaid calling process, paying for a service that we already paid to not have to pay for again …and cut off from inbound calling," Kramer said in an email.
Sprint refunded his $35, but I couldn't get to the bottom of why he couldn't get incoming calls. Sprint and American Roaming Network did not return my calls.
I previously warned you that con artists would try to make a buck off the disaster. That time apparently has come.
Maj. Jim Gingrich of the Salvation Army in East Stroudsburg told me he got a report of several people impersonating volunteers and collecting relief funds door-to-door. He said the Salvation Army is not raising funds that way, so be suspicious if someone approaches you.
"It's unfortunate that there are people who take advantage of these situations, but it does happen and we want people to be aware of it," Gingrich said.