Sunday, September 21, 2008


A majority of responding readers said that it would be wrong to use cable-television service that had inadvertently had been left connected when you moved into a new house. In an informal survey on my column's blog, only 15 percent said that it was OK to continue using the service without notifying the cable company, and 55 percent said that it was not OK. Still, 30 percent of those who considered it wrong admitted that, in that circumstance, they'd continue using it anyway.

Brenda Levy of Richmond, Va., is not one of those who would continue using the service.

"My integrity is worth more than the money I'd be saving," she writes.

"Why should one enjoy something that others are paying for?" asks Patrick Burris of Charlotte, N.C. "In the long run, thefts cost us all more."

Finally, one reader pointed out that it's not only unethical to continue to use the service, but also "a violation of law, and could subject the homeowner to criminal charges."

Check out other opinions here, or post your own by clicking on "Comments" or "Post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business and The Good, the Bad, and Your Business: Choosing Right When Ethical Dilemmas Pull You Apart, is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to or to "The Right Thing," The New York Times Syndicate, 500 Seventh Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10018. Please remember to tell me who you are, where you're from, as well as where you read the column.

c.2008 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)

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