Burbank wants Charter Communications to pay up. And it will.
The City Council voted unanimously on a resolution Tuesday that
will require the cable-television firm to refund what will amount to
about $2 to each of its 30,000 Burbank subscribers.
The council was prompted by the company’s rate increase from
$12.84 to $13.49 from March to May this year, officials said. The
increase was implemented three months before the company was legally
able to do it under Federal Communications Commission regulations. As
a result of failing to give adequate notice of the increases, Burbank
subscribers were overcharged $60,000, officials said.
“You might think 65 cents is not a lot of money, but from
regulators’ and Charter’s perspective, it comes out to between
$55,000 to $60,000 they’ve taken from the community that they perhaps
should give back,” Burbank Asst. City Atty. Richard J. Morillo said.
Charter officials said the problem came not from an attempt to
bilk customers, or a faulty rate, but rather through not getting
written approval from the city during a filing period announcing
intentions to raise rates late last year.
“It’s an issue of the technicalities of the filing process, not an
incorrect rate,” said Christa Crafts, manager of government relations
The rebates will be given with a 5% interest rate tacked on. But
the $13.49 increased rate will remain, officials said.
Through the city’s exclusivity contract with Charter, the city has
some say in regulating rates. The overcharge was flagged by a
consulting firm hired by the city as officials prepared for
negotiating a new contract with Charter in 2005.
After an hourlong debate on the same issue at the Glendale City
Council meeting Tuesday, the rate order could not even get a second
motion to pass, meaning that Burbank will get rebates, but Glendale’s
49,000 Charter subscribers will not.
“We’ve had customer-service issues for so long,” Burbank Mayor
Stacey Murphy said. “This is why our community gets so upset at
Crafts stressed the company was not fighting the city on the