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house Bill H.R. 4356

Should Families of Fallen & Critically Injured Servicemembers be Able to End Phone, Cable & Internet Services Without Penalties?

Argument in favor

When a servicemember is killed or wounded serving overseas, their family is under tremendous strain. There’s no reason to make these situations harder by allowing companies to impose penalties for cancelling no-longer needed services on grieving military families. Making this allowance for families that have made great sacrifices for the U.S. is a drop in the bucket to large phone, cable, and internet companies — and it’s the right thing to do.

jimK's Opinion
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11/12/2019
Absolutely. I would like a bill to publicly list every instance where any telecommunications provider chooses to impose these termination fees on families having a loved one lost while in-service to our country and while protecting the rights of those telecommunications providers to be such assholes.
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Tracy's Opinion
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11/12/2019
Of course these companies should not impose penalties on these families. Managing to live a life, maintain a relationship and possibly a family is difficult enough without companies adding to the financial burden by taking advantage of every single opportunity to levy fees. I had a hard time with this same thing after a bad accident and long hospital stay - I can’t imagine how much worse it is for military families. Our soldiers have a hard enough time as it is. They make sacrifices I don’t have to. Fighting with the cable company seems petty compared to that, and I don’t think their families should have that burden.
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Just.Dave's Opinion
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11/12/2019
The cancelation fees should be cancelled altogether. Hold companies accountable. If they provide a terrible service, they should reap what they sow. It's not the consumer's fault they are terrible, its their fault. They only want to trap consumers because they know they won't stick around without a contract. Maybe offer more competitive pricing... Try better customer service... Yes, especially report the abuse by these companies of the family and loved ones of fallen soldiers. But this should really be done away with altogether. Let's see what happens in a true, free market. Update: You really can't limit this to death and injury. A good friend of mine was renting from Westmont Properties and he gave them a 30 day notice that he was going active duty in the Army. Their reaction: they tried to evict him and charge him for early release of his rental contract... A judge dismissed this, and told the reps from Westmont to let him stay for that month and do his inspection immediately before he leaves. They didn't show up for this inspection, and later sued him for $6,000.00 in flood damages... He didn't cause the flood, and they knew it. They just don't care about our service people, only the lining in their pockets.
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Argument opposed

Phone, cable, and internet companies rely on the steady revenue from contracts to keep their businesses solvent. While military families’ losses are tragic, they don’t nullify legally binding contracts — so, unfortunately, they still need to pay early termination fees and applicable penalties like any other customers if they end phone, cable, or internet contracts early.

Daryl's Opinion
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11/12/2019
This is a conflict with me. As a veteran, I want things to be better for other veterans and their families, as well as families of the fallen. The issue that I have is telling businesses how to conduct their business. If the businesses have bad practices, then consumers should force the changes. You cant regulate good business practices. The businesses themselves have to figure it out. Government regulation to force those changes is wrong and against liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
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Bob's Opinion
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11/12/2019
They should absolutely be able to do so, and I'm sure they do it all the time. Was this even an issue, or is this just an example of government trying to act like the good guy by pushing laws to address nonexistent problems? Getting the government involved is a needless waste of time.
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Dan's Opinion
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11/12/2019
My heart bleeds as much as the next human, and termination fees are stupid. If you want to lay down the law on how to do business, make it apply to everyone. Meanwhile, feel free to individually reimburse service members for their fees, and tweet your disgust of company policies to the world. We don’t need the Fed to solve all of our problems.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Economic Opportunity
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedSeptember 17th, 2019
    Yes
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    Yes. They do not need the extra stress after the loss of a loved one. Cable and Phone companies do not need to be that uncaring and greedy
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    When you face a major calamity, internet and other service providers should show empathy about it. Because of their selfish all-about-me attitude and mentality about this, we need to pass laws that give people relief.
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    We should do much more, like fee entrance into the service academies to all who qualify, without cost. Suspension of all state federal and local taxes; and not the worry of losing their house and car. Ending termination fees on phone, cable, and internet is weak legislation. Is this a pork addiction to a bill? I would be ashamed to present it to the body.
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    Give our warriors a break!!
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    Yes JimK! I REALLY like your idea for a shame list too!
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    We should honor our veterans and this who serve .
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    They should absolutely be able to do so, and I'm sure they do it all the time. Was this even an issue, or is this just an example of government trying to act like the good guy by pushing laws to address nonexistent problems? Getting the government involved is a needless waste of time.
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    Seriously? Given the small percentage of the public who fall in this category, I find it hard to believe that the companies cannot absorb the relatively small dollar amount in respect for service members. It is likely smaller than the existing bad debt they must need to write off for those who default under less honorable circumstances. The fact that a telecommunications company requires a physical copy of a death certificate ($25 each in my father’s case, and it has plenty of identifying information such as SSN, birthplace, mother’s maiden name making it a great resource for identity theft, which was not handled with any kind of respect or precautions) in order to change the account to a survivor’s name or terminate service is a problem for the general public. Evidence of an obituary or physically viewing a copy of the certificate, which is then returned to the family, should suffice. For anyone to be further dealing with such situations as a result of serving in the armed forces is a travesty, and I fully support any measures which would make the transition and aftermath less traumatic for the surviving family or executor.
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    Yet another no-brainer. #VoteYea or get #VotedOutOfOffice
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    How about do Americans one better and make this bill apply to everybody. Cable companies have too much power as is. Death, veteran or simple citizen, should be a good enough reason to end binding contracts to immediate families that are significantly impacted financially by a death. Unfortunately, under our fake meritocracy, death can be financially punishing for those affected.
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    This is a small and reasonable accommodation.
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    Yes, there is no need to penalize individuals if they can’t afford something. This should apply to everyone. To try and make a dime off anything and everything just because you can is just wrong.
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    Why is even a bill? The companies supplying these services should do this anyway.
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    Cancellation fees for death or major injury should be cancelled for anyone who has their lives disrupted!
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    Yes. But this is state and local community issue. Not a federal issue.
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    Let the businesses make this decision.
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    Yes, these fees should automatically be waived, and I’m very thankful to see that Josh Harder, the 1st term Democrat from California who ousted former Trump cheerleader Jeff Denham, has sponsored this bill. In reading with disgust the “Why vote nay?” summary I was amazed at the ignorance on display, wondering what industry insider or accountant wrote it. This summary in itself is akin to a response of “I certainly understand their grief and what you’re saying but you’re still full of shit.” The reason that phone, cable and internet companies are allowed to have these fee and penalty structures is because they have the FCC in their pocket and they provide big funding to candidates and issues to insure that their profit agenda is met. Fees and penalties in the telecommunications industry have become a necessary part of their profit structures needed to appease over expectant shareholders, after all, what monopolistic market whore would turn down free money? Especially when they can easily grab it from the grieving military family who has suffered a loss or is otherwise dealing with tragedy. It’s been estimated that if US consumers paid for internet at a rate of that of other developed countries, the consumer savings would be $65 billion annually, about the size of the US jewelry industry. We need passage of HR 4356 now!
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    My heart bleeds as much as the next human, and termination fees are stupid. If you want to lay down the law on how to do business, make it apply to everyone. Meanwhile, feel free to individually reimburse service members for their fees, and tweet your disgust of company policies to the world. We don’t need the Fed to solve all of our problems.
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    For sure!
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