What do I do with years-old equipment that belongs to my old cable ISP?
October 16, 2013 10:07 AM   Subscribe

What do I do with years-old equipment that belongs to my old cable service provider? Equipment dates from 2009. Furnished by Verizon FIOS, which then switched to Frontier FIOS. A cable modem, DVR, and set-top box. We moved house in 2010, and cancelled Frontier service. Attempted to return the equipment. This involved them shipping empty boxes to us. We never got the boxes. Attempts failed. I have no documentation of those attempts. Equipment is sitting in our garage, and I need to get rid of it. Which option is best? The easy way: Donate the equipment to a recycler. The hard way: Contact Frontier and try to return their equipment. This is likely to be time-consuming, and annoying. I recall their CS was incredibly awful. I couldn't find any helpful info on their web site. And what if they want to charge me a "late return fee"??? Do big cable providers care about their old equipment?
posted by valannc to Technology (14 answers total)
Yes, cable providers do care about old equipment. Best case scenario it prevents you from signing up for service from them or a subsidiary in the future. Worst case scenario you are sent to collections. Even though it is a hassle I would strongly suggest getting the equipment back to the company. Source: I have worked for several cable providers
posted by sacrifix at 10:10 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Goodwill. Even if they take it, equipment that old is just going to go straight into the trash.
posted by zug at 10:11 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Write a note very much like what you just wrote here. Include your old address and account number. Put that note in a box with the equipment and mail it to Frontier's home office. Then it's their problem and you can't be accused of stealing or destroying it.
posted by 256 at 10:12 AM on October 16, 2013 [6 favorites]

Please do not donate equipment to Goodwill or similar services. People end up buying that equipment and then they are (generally) unable to use it because it is associated with a previous account and are out the monies they used to purchase it.
posted by sacrifix at 10:12 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Strongly concur with sacrifix, from personal experience. I would take every care to send their equipment back and get some sort of receipt or delivery confirmation.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:13 AM on October 16, 2013

Response by poster: If I donate, it will be donated to a local e-waste recycler.
posted by valannc at 10:14 AM on October 16, 2013

Send it back to the provider, receipt required.

See if you can get an address from their website to avoid hassles.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:17 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

According to this page from Verizon's website UPS or Mail Boxes Etc "will pack and ship the equipment back to Verizon at no charge to you."
posted by sacrifix at 10:22 AM on October 16, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks to all for your the replies.
I'm going to return the equipment.
posted by valannc at 10:28 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

In my experience, cable companies and internet providers could not care less about their old equipment. E-cycle that stuff. Return it to the company and it'll just go into a landfill.
posted by Dr. Wu at 11:34 AM on October 16, 2013

>In my experience, cable companies and internet providers could not care less about their old equipment.

My experience is the opposite -- when I canceled my internet service through TWC a few months ago, they added an $80 charge to my bill for the 7-year-old cable modem that I'd received when first signing up for the service, and which they'd instructed me to replace with a new one they sent me a few years ago. Because I couldn't find the old one to return it, I had to bite the bullet and pay the fee.
posted by BurntHombre at 11:46 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

I just recently found out that both the cable and phone company are still trying to get equipment like this back from me and an old roommate. Some of it which i actually returned.

What burnthombre describes is exactly what happened to me, but dumber. I got the final bill and shut the service off... then months(or in one case, even years) later i get an email notification and a paper bill going HEY YOU STILL OWE US THIS PAY UP OR ELSE with the only itemized charge being "modem" or "cable box" or whatever that i don't even have.

Good times.

If there's a local office for them go drop it off there, and make sure you don't get talked in to just leaving it on a counter. Wait for an actual human to check it in and scan the barcodes and shit. Otherwise, call up their general support line and say you want to return this stuff and mail it delivery confirmation.

They will eventually catch up to you and charge you some dumbass made up prices like $300 for the DVR and stuff. Seriously.
posted by emptythought at 3:14 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

TWC and Cox are both happy to slap you with a fee for unreturned equipment - including equipment that they replaced.

They may not care about equipment, but they care about money.
posted by 26.2 at 6:45 PM on October 16, 2013

Comcast also runs a scam where they bill you for not returning obsolete equipment, sometimes many years later.
posted by Nelson at 8:18 AM on October 17, 2013

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