Servicemembers Can Be Charged Cancellation Fees When they Deploy; Cantwell, Fischer Secure Fix

Senators’ bill will shield military servicemembers from pay TV and internet cancellation fees

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) to amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to ensure military servicemembers are not charged cancellation fees for pay TV and internet services when they deploy or change duty stations passed the Senate. The legislation passed the House of Representatives earlier last week and now heads to President Trump’s desk for signature into law. 

Under existing law, servicemembers may break rental leases, cellphone contracts, car leases, and other contractual agreements without penalty if they are relocating or deploying on official orders. The Cantwell-Fischer bill extends the same relief to cover pay TV and internet service contracts for relocating or deploying servicemembers and eligible dependents.

“Our brave servicemembers leave their families, loved ones, and communities to serve our country and defend our freedoms,” said Senator Cantwell. “This bill will allow servicemembers to focus on their families and training for pending deployments instead of costly cancellation fees.”

“When our men and women in uniform are deployed or relocated, the last thing they should have to worry about are cancellation fees from TV or internet providers. I helped lead this bipartisan solution to prevent unfair fees and reduce burdens when deploying, so that service members can concentrate on their active duty orders. Now that Congress has passed the legislation, I hope President Trump will quickly sign it into law to make life a bit easier for the Americans who defend our nation and keep us safe,” said Senator Fischer.

Currently, there are limited protections for servicemembers who are issued orders to move or deploy, and have to break their pay TV and internet contracts as a result. While some companies voluntarily waive these fees, contract cancellation penalties can reach into the hundreds of dollars, often times impacting credit scores and affecting servicemembers’ peace of mind.

“On behalf of the 35,000 members of The American Legion Family in Washington State, I would like to thank Washington State Senator Cantwell for sponsoring legislation that helps protect our service men and women who selflessly sacrifice so much to serve America.  Frequent moves can be costly and significantly disrupt their lives.  This legislation makes life just a little easier for our military families,” said the American Legion Department of Washington State Commander Gary Roach.

“Service members who are being deployed currently face cancelation fees if they have to interrupt their cable or satellite contracts in order to serve overseas. The VFW thanks Senator Cantwell for her efforts to eliminate this unnecessary hassle for our service members. This common sense solution provides relief so our service members can turn their full attention to the mission at hand knowing they won’t face unnecessary penalties for heading overseas to serve our country,” said Washington state Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander Linda Fairbank.

“Deployments are major disruptions in the lives of our servicemembers and their families. The two million members of The American Legion thank Senator Cantwell for introducing this legislation that would protect our military members from fees associated with the cancellation of cable, satellite TV, or internet services when they deploy or change duty stations – much in the same way the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects them when they have to break a lease. It is right that our nation’s businesses afford these accommodations to those American men and women who answer their nation’s call,” said the American Legion National Commander Brett P. Reistad.