Am I Committing Cable Theft?

May 23, 2016

We moved into an apartment complex where basic cable service was supplied and required by every renter (no HBO, but ESPN, HGTV, etc.). It was a separate $40 fee on top of the rent. Whatever, that’s fine, the rent is still cheaper than most places in Florida.

A few months later, new owners took over the complex, and got rid of the cable requirement. They told us we could just dispose of the small cable boxes that came with the apartment complex. The cable company sent out letters telling everyone that if we didn’t wish to keep cable, to call them and let them know. And that if we didn’t want the service, it would be shut off in December.

We called them to let them know that we did not wish to keep cable service, that the internet we got from them was sufficient. The cable got disconnected the first week of December magically reappeared a week later! The cable boxes that we never disposed of came back to life. It’s been three months, and aside from a day or two, we’ve had the same cable service that we’ve always had.

Nothing shows up on our bill. We’re living the American dream, right???? My question is—do I need to inform the cable company that we are getting their service for free? Or, if I say nothing, will they have a legal case against us down the road and send us a bill for months of unpaid cable?

No HBO, but HGTV? That’s like saying, “The liquor store was out of nice bourbon, but don’t be sad because there was a sale on bottles of David Ortiz forearm sweat.” Equating free HGTV with living the American Dream is bleak—the best association there is that we’ve hit rock bottom and can now start clawing our way back, like Bruce Wayne going Deshi Basara to the top of The Pit.

Read the rest of the column here at Deadspin.

Illustration by Angelica Alzona.

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