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VIC Telstra Sent Bill for Damaged Landlines - Claim Public Liability Insurance?

Discussion in 'Commercial Law Forum' started by Jules73, 11 September 2015.

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  1. Jules73

    Jules73 Member

    11 September 2015
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    Hi. My husband operates a grass slashing business and holds a contract with a local council. Early last year one of his employees was engaged in cutting the grass by the roadside in a rural town, when Telstra alleged he ran over telephone cables, thus disconnecting a number of residents' phone landlines. Together with a bill for $1800 odd, Telstra had taken the liberty of including a number of photos showing the apparent damage which they blamed on my husband's company, claiming they occurred when run over by the tractor operated slasher.

    My husband did not agree with Telstra's claims because A) The damage shown in the photos to the protective plastic covers (covering the all important wires/cables) was inconsistent to what could be expected if they had been run over with the tractor operated slasher; it is more likely the photos show the covers lying in the grass after being damaged by persons unknown; and B) The tractor operators my husband employs are mindful of not running over such important infrastructure and are extremely unlikely to do so; it is more likely that there was no cover over the wires/cables and the employee operating the tractor & slasher drove over the wires without knowing - due to the fact they would have been impossible to see. My husband did dispute the claim in writing and it wasn't until about 12 months later that Telstra sent another invoice with a poster stressing the need to "Dial before you dig" before slashing grass - which is a rather unusual concept considering slashing grass does not in any way involve digging below the ground surface!

    We believe it probably took Telstra that amount of time to create the poster which accompanied the second invoice. Our question is basically, should we just pay the invoice and claim this on out public liability insurance or should we fight this?

    Thanks for any help you can provide.
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

    16 April 2014
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    Hi Jules73,

    Its probably worth contacting your public liability insurer and letting them decide. Be careful because you can actually void your insurance if you make any admissions or pay the amount without talking to them first. I would advise them of the situation and ask them what to do, they may assume the matter and use their own defence lawyers to fight it for you.

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