OJAI : Cable Refund Bid Inadequate, City Says

The Ojai City Council has rejected a cable company’s plan to refund money to customers, saying that the offer fails to fully reimburse subscribers the amount they are owed.

In response to new Federal Communications Commission regulations to lower cable rates, the city last month ordered Ventura County Cablevision and its parent company, Western Communications, to refund about $6,000 to about 3,360 subscribers.

The cable company offered to refund about $4,900, or $1,100 less than the city had requested.

The city and the cable company disagree on how the refund should be calculated under the new FCC guidelines.


Cable officials say that over the years, they have undercharged customers for equipment and some services. They argue that under the new regulations, they are allowed to subtract the undercharged amount from the refund owed to subscribers.

City officials argue that such undercharges cannot be recouped.

Ventura County Cablevision President David LaRue said the additional $1,100 that the city wants his company to repay is a relatively small amount, but “it’s important for us to uphold the principle regardless of the amount of money.”

If the company pays the money in Ojai, he said, other cities will seek similar concessions. Laurie DeVarney, the city’s cable consultant, urged Ojai City Council members to reject the cable company’s refund plan.


“It’s the legal battlefield now, if you wish to play that game,” she told the three council members present for the unanimous vote Tuesday.

LaRue said the matter will ultimately be resolved by the FCC.