The US state of New York has had to pass a law to stop telcos and utility companies from charging fees to the deceased.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said that bill A.8630A /S.6485-A, signed into effect earlier this week, will impose a $1,000 fine to any phone, internet, cable, or power operator that attempts to charge a recently deceased person an early termination or early cancellation fee on their account.
The law was apparently needed after officials learned that some companies were in fact billing the accounts of people who had passed away before the conclusion of their service contracts.
"This was a heartless and inappropriate policy that is mostly borne by grieving New Yorkers grappling with the loss of a loved one," Cuomo said.
"Ending these fees is the right thing to do and will spare those in mourning from this annoying burden."
New York Assemblywoman Aileen M Gunther, who authored the bill, said that she only became aware of the practice after her own mother passed away and a local utility attempted to tack on an extra charge for early termination of her account.
"It is wrong for companies to charge early termination or cancellation fees to deceased individuals, and I am proud to have sponsored the legislation that will prohibit this practice," Gunther said.
This isn't the first time New York has had to take ISPs and telcos to task for their bad behavior. Last year, officials in the Big Apple chewed companies out for overcharging customers and failing to deliver on promised network upgrades. ®