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REGION : 2 More Cities Call for Paragon Cable Refunds

October 13, 1994|MARY GUTHRIE

This week Torrance and Hawthorne joined two other South Bay cities in ordering Paragon Cable to make refunds to residents.

Gardena, Hawthorne, Lawndale and Torrance had jointly hired the consulting firm of Telecommunications Management Corp. to review documents Paragon submitted in calculating its rates for basic cable service for Sept. 1, 1993, to July 14, 1994.

Based on the consultant's findings, the Torrance and Hawthorne city councils voted unanimously this week to order Paragon to refund overcharges, reduce rates by as much as 56 cents a month and make changes in its advertising and billing practices. Gardena and Lawndale passed similar ordinances last month.

Paragon has informed the cities that it will appeal rate changes and refunds to the Federal Communications Commission.

The cities will probably cooperate in hiring legal counsel to pursue the matter, said Larry Bender, Hawthorne's cable administrator.

The dispute concerns whether FCC rules permit Paragon to remove two channels (American Movie Classics and Turner Broadcasting System) from basic service and make them channels that viewers have the option of paying for separately, as they now do.

If the FCC agrees with the cities' position, Paragon would owe more than $1 million to its 66,000 South Bay customers. For each subscriber, that would mean a refund of less than $20.

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