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Old 07-28-2007, 06:45 PM   #1
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Wacked Out Bill


Got a bill in the mail today saying that I owe $230 for cutting a phone cable when excavating holes for my fence. However, when I cut through the line I was well away (3ft) from the line that was marked. The service tech that came out said that the line was really off. Two questions:

1) Do I have a viable argument to get me out of paying?
2) If not, would a home insurance policy normally cover this?

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Old 07-28-2007, 07:22 PM   #2
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I'd be steaming mad if something like that happened. Have you attempted to contact the phone service and have the billing problem resolved? It's such a pain when something like this happens because the burden is on your back to get it resolved. It wouldn't hurt to ask your homeowners insurance company if it would be covered, just to be sure... you'd be surprised at what they will cover (I have stories). Knowing whether you're covered or not will dictate the type of tactics that you can exercise to have this resolved. You have the advantage if you can bargain from a position of power and that includes threats from you to turn this over to your attorney and to make the incident "public" through local news media. In my state (NC) the utilities are regulated and we do have someone at the capital that can get involved if need be. It seems that you exercised due diligence in avoiding the issue to start with and that the cable locator service is at fault. That's how I would explain it.

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Old 07-28-2007, 08:13 PM   #3
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If you used a locator service and their variance is less than 3 feet, you should not be responsible. That is the reason for using a locator service. However, if it were 3' off from where your buddy said it aught to be, then you may have a problem.
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Old 07-28-2007, 09:20 PM   #4
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We used a locator service, but they are just the middle man. They contact local utilities and then send someone out from the phone company. I tried to contact the phone company but they are closed.
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Old 07-29-2007, 10:16 AM   #5
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The locator service in most areas is a co-op of the utilities so you will see phone/cable etc people to come out and mark their lines. If you had an all clear to dig and the line was three feet away and not marked I would say its thier problem.

I doinked up a brand new post hole digger when it encountered mean old mr. electricity a few years back in an area that had been cleared. Power company took my approval to dig number and back billed the locator service. He said they miss em all the time...
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:55 AM   #6
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I already recieved a bill from the phone company's claims dept. Should I contact my local phone service? The problem that I am having is that it says on the bill that the cable was accurately marked when it was NOt.
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Old 07-30-2007, 07:12 PM   #7
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I would contact the phone company and the locator service. Pictures of the site are always a plus if its not too late...

As an after thought, call them to mark it again and see if they find the line you hit... If not get some pics. That would be good ammo.

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