HOUSTON – It shouldn’t take KPRC 2 Investigates to get a cable company to clean up after themselves, but that’s exactly why a Pearland woman called our team for help. For two months she’s been trying to get AT&T to bury a cable it left in her yard. The cables are not just annoying but also dangerous after her dog ended up needing surgery because of the mess.
Who is responsible for the cable company mess in the yard?
Installing a new fiber optic cable line to Barbara Laverell’s home only took about two hours. The AT&T technician told her someone would be out in 48 hours to bury the cable he left in her yard. That was in July.
“So it’s been like that on the ground before we put it up,” said Laverell.
We’re not just talking a few feet of cable. The huge cable roll that an AT&T technician left unburied stretches from behind her garage all the way up to her backyard. It’s draped across her BBQ grill and a ladder she moved just to keep it off the ground.
“Everybody’s tripping over this cable,” said Laverell. “The lawn guys don’t want to come back here and mow the grass because of the cable.”
The cable is not just an eyesore. Her dog, Nyla, tripped over it and tore her ACL. Laverell just keeps calling AT&T for help.
“They tell me every 48 hours, there’s going to be somebody out here to either talk to me or bury the cable. So I give them three days. And I call them back and they say, ‘Oh, somebody will be out there in 48 hours. Somebody will be out there in 24 hours or somebody will call you.’ Nobody ever shows up or calls,” she said.
Company responds, but not about the left behind cables
But you know who did respond in short order? The attorney handling claims for AT&T. They sent Laverell a denial letter when she filed a claim for her dog’s surgery.
The letter reads, “The work related to your claim was performed by a contractor of AT&T. As a result, AT&T is not liable for the damages involved in this incident.”
“Why can’t they get this fixed? If it is the contractor, they got to hire new contractors. They got to get a new company to do their job,” she said.
Three techs have shown up to Laverell’s home to bury the cable on three separate occasions but each time they leave without ever digging.
“I thought, actually, he was going to go to his car and get maybe another tool. But he went to his car and he left,” said Laverell.
Finally, 6 days after KPRC 2 investigator contacted AT&T, 2 employees showed up to bury the cable. Laverell said an AT&T rep told her she should be receiving a call to follow up on the insurance claim for her dog’s surgery. She is still waiting on that call.
What can I do if a company leaves a mess after work?
If you ever have a problem with a cable, phone, or any other utility that uses the city’s easement for its equipment, you can try calling your city’s utility regulation office. In Houston, it’s called the Administrative and Regulatory Affairs department. They will have contacts with the companies and they may be able to help intervene to resolve whatever issue you’re having.