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George Roper's picture
Joined: 08/08/2007
Posts: 46
Cable Television Opt-out Letter


The RMA Board seems to be paralyzed and has so far failed to communicate its plan to implement the recently passed bylaw.   It would seem reasonable that the very first thing to do is to determine how many subscribers the system will now have. To aid the staff in establishing that number, it is recommended that the letter below be sent by each member who intends to no longer subscribe to the Association's cable service.

This letter accomplishes two important functions.  It establishes the date of retroactivity, that date from which refunds will be calculated.  Second and more important, it provides the Association with the request of stop paying for content not used.  If these fees are paid to the content providers after the date of the letter, the Association will not be able to recover these losses.  Content (programming) is the larger share of the cable assessment being paid under protest; it is prudent therefore for the Association to eliminate that cost immediately.

                                                            Cable Television Opt Out Letter

This document is to inform the Rancho Murieta Associations Board of Directors and  Manager that the member (place you name here) whose property is located at (place your address here) (place Lot number here) is officially declining the cable television service that is no longer allowed as part of regular membership assessments (dues) after 1 January 2009.

The Association is further directed by this document to terminate any contractual subscriptions with any and all television content providers for services to the above address and lot number.

Any subsequent billing for such service will be paid under protest until the Association can establish revised billing procedures.  This document is intended to establish a date of retroactivity when the protested fees are resolved.

                                                                         Original Signed

                                                                        Mail or hand carry to RMA

One of the provisions of a new law, Assembly Bill 2846, effective January 1st, 2009, allows any Home Owner's Association member to pay fees "under protest" and then set the matter before a small claims court. The disputed sum cannot exceed the jurisdictional limit of small claims, which is now $7500.

This right of homeowners to "pay under protest" was deleted from the Civil Code two years ago. The state statute originally applied only to assessments. AB 2846 now allows homeowners to use small claims court to dispute fines and other charges, including collection costs.

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Beth Buderus's picture
Joined: 08/03/2007
Posts: 926
You only won the right to vote

George, IMHO, all you have achieved with your lawsuit is to have "won the right to have a vote" to opt out of the cable system. While the members have spoken, they do not have the right to opt out that still needs to be resolved by the RMA attorneys.

Wilbur Haines's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 474
Realism and refunds

Realistically it will take a few months for RMA to adopt and implement a pricing structure and start collecting user fees.  The amendment was intended to be voted upon months ago, so that the necessary lead time would precede the first of the year, but politics and legal disputes delayed the scheduling of the election, which unfortunately now requires the mid-fiscal-year adaptation we had sought to avoid. 

While I think it appropriate, if members wish, to make a record of their choice to opt out forthwith, I'm not sure that a retroactive "refund" as such ends up being the remedy unless somebody wants to run off to small claims court right away, which I do not recommend. 

I believe that it is incumbent upon the Board to adjust fees and dues mid-year in such a fashion as to make the budget and revenues and expenditures balance out consistent with the amendment over the course of the budget year.  In that case the "refund" would be in the form of a dues reduction reflecting the offset from the new user fees.   Let's give them a month or two to figure out how to go about that, recognizing that there's no way it could be done any sooner than that. 

George Roper's picture
Joined: 08/08/2007
Posts: 46
Stop bleeding money

Wilbur I agree that it will take several months for the Communications and Finance Committee's to sort out this mess.  The Opt-out letters will give these committees a first approximation of the number of subscribers the system will loose.  These letters will also stop the hemorrhage of content moneys we are now throwing away for vacant lots, un-rented homes, and people who have satellites.  The association should immediately send out questionnaires to get the real count of the subscriber base.  Without this information no meaningful planning can be done.  The simple act of disconnecting the cable at the distribution box is labor intensive, and will take some time to accomplish.  The termination of unused subscriptions, and the savings to all Association members is the primary reason for these letters.  Lets stop throwing money away.


George Roper

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