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Commission Document Attachment

DOC-320817A2

REPORT OF CONSUMER INQUIRIES AND INFORMAL COMPLAINTS

Fourth Quarter, Calendar Year 2012

Top Consumer Issues – Subject Category Reference Guide

BUNDLED AND VoIP SERVICES


Billing and Rates:

billing and rates charged for bundled or VoIP services

Broadband Services:

high-speed broadband access that is always on and faster than
traditional dial-up access. Broadband can be provided over different platforms: Digital
Subscriber Line (DSL); Cable Modem; Fiber-Optic Cable (Fiber); Wireless; Satellite; and
Broadband over Power Line (BPL)

Carrier Marketing and Advertising:

carrier advertising and marketing practices,
including alleged misrepresentations

Number Portability:

ability to port a telephone number from one service provider to
another

Service:

quality of service provided

CABLE AND SATELLITE SERVICES


Billing and Rates:

billing and rates charged for program service

Broadband:

access caps, access speeds, advertisements, availability, billing/rates,
equipment, interference, and quality

CableCard:

a plug-in card that allows consumers to view and record digital cable
television channels on digital video recorders, personal computers, and televisions
without the use of other equipment, such as a set-top box provided by a cable television
company

Digital Television:

digital TV service or the transition from analog to digital TV

Disability and Access:

video description, closed captioning, and emergency access to
video programming

Over-The-Air Reception Devices (OTARD):

installation, maintenance or use of
antennas (including direct-to-home satellite dishes, TV antennas, and wireless cable
antennas) used to receive video programming

Programming:

program content or the choice of channels/programs available to subscribers

Provider Marketing and Advertising:

provider advertising and marketing practices,
including alleged misrepresentations
- 3 -

Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA):

includes the Satellite
Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999 (SHVIA) and Satellite Home Viewer Extension
and Reauthorization Act of 2004 (SHVERA), which was further updated under the
Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010

Service:

quality of service provided

RADIO AND TELEVISION BROADCASTING


Digital Television:

digital TV service or the transition from analog to digital TV

Disability and Access:

video description, closed captioning, and emergency access to
video programming

Interference:

reception of unwanted signals from nearby transmitters to home electronic
equipment

Programming:

·
Indecency/Obscenity: obscene, indecent or profane programming
·
Other: miscellaneous programming issues (e.g., contests and lotteries,
freedom of speech, how to start a station, journalism, false information, lists
of stations)
·
General Criticism: non-specific concerns regarding programming content

Service:

availability, customer service, interruption in service

Station Marketing and Advertising:

station advertising and marketing practices,
including alleged misrepresentations

WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS


Billing and Rates:

·

Airtime Charges:

charges to subscribers for actual time spent using a wireless
phone
·

Credit/Refunds/Adjustments:

credits, refunds, or bill adjustments
·

Line Items:

surcharges and taxes appearing on a wireless bill:
o Access Charges: miscellaneous line item charges
o E-911: provision of automatic location information and automatic number
identification via a wireless phone used to contact a 911 call center
o Taxes: taxes appearing on wireless bill
- 4 -

o Universal Service Fund: availability and affordability of phone service for
low income consumers in geographic areas in which the cost of providing
telephone service is high
·

Recurring Charges:

recurring monthly charges that appear on a subscriber’s bill
·

Roaming Rates:

charges assessed to the subscriber for wireless calls made while
roaming in another carrier’s territory
·

Rounding:

practice of rounding calls to a full minute
·

Service Plan Rates –

terms and conditions of service:
o Activation Fee: usually a one-time charge to initiate service
o Off-Peak: specified period during which per-minute rate is lower
o Optional Services: including caller-ID, voice mail, road-rescue
o Peak: specified time during which per-minute rate is higher
o Prepaid Service: subscriber pays for service in advance
o Promo Plan: including minute allowances
o Security Deposit: usually a one-time charge that is held by the carrier for a
specified period required for subscriber to acquire service

Broadband:

access caps, access speeds, advertisements, availability, billing/rates,
equipment, interference, and quality

Carrier Marketing and Advertising:

carrier advertising and marketing practices,
including alleged misrepresentations

Contract – Early Termination of Service:

termination of a subscriber’s service prior to
end of specified contract term:
·
By Subscriber: subscriber’s liability for terminating service prior to end of
specified contract term
·
By Carrier: carrier’s right to terminate a subscriber’s service prior to end of
specified contract term

Equipment (EQUI)

· Equipment Unauthorized Charges (EQUC): subscriber charged for wireless
phone without agreeing to purchasing phone
· Faulty Equipment (EFAU): technical or malfunctioning equipment
· Stolen Equipment (ESTO): misuse or reporting problems associated with
stolen equipment

General Mobile Information (

Land Mobile): wireless microphones, refarming, radar,
licensing and operations, inspections, and other related issues

Interference:

reception of unwanted signals from nearby transmitters to electronic
equipment
- 5 -

License Information (General):

General Mobile Radio Services (GMRS) license
acquisition, requirements, eligibility, cancellation, frequency coordination, replacement
and other related issues

Service:

quality of service or the lack of signal coverage within a geographic area served
by a wireless provider
·
Dead Spots: inability to receive service within certain areas
·
Dropped Calls: premature termination of calls
·
Home Area Service: overall quality of service within the subscriber’s local
calling area
·
Network Busy Signal: calls that do not go through because of
overcrowding of the service frequencies
·
Roaming Availability: availability of service outside of the subscriber’s
local calling area
·
Roaming Service: overall quality of service while roaming
·
Service Interruption: inability to use wireless phone because service was
interrupted by service provider

Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA):

compliance with TCPA wireless requirements

Tower:

light outages, paint, posting, zoning and registration

WIRELINE TELECOMMUNICATIONS


Billing and Rates:

Credit/Refunds/Adjustments:

account credits, refunds or adjustments

Line Items:

charges and taxes appearing on a telephone bill:
· Access – Subscriber Line Charge: subscriber local-loop line charges for
maintaining residential and business and telephone access to the network
· Access – Universal Service: FCC’s universal service fund-affordable access to
basic telephone service for low-income consumers and consumers in high-cost
areas, and provision of communications services to schools, libraries and
health care facilities
· Interstate Directory Assistance: charges assessed for access to directory
assistance information
· Taxes on Telephone Bill: local, state, or federal taxes appearing on a
telephone bill
· Truth-in-Billing - No Service Provider ID: the name of the service provider
and/or contact information for the service provider is not easily identifiable on
the bill
- 6 -

· Truth-in-Billing - Bundled Charges: bill fails to contain plain language
description and breakdown of charges for each carrier where multiple carriers
appear on the bill
·
Truth-in-Billing - No Payment Solution: bill fails to clearly distinguish
charges for which nonpayment will result in disconnection from those that
will not result in disconnection

Rates:

rates and charges billed by telephone companies:
·
Casual Call Billing: rates billed for calls placed from non-public phones
through a carrier that is not the presubscribed carrier for the telephone (or
does not recognize a telephone number as that of a subscriber)
·
Double Billing: disputes concerning double billing for calls or services
·
DSL Rate Problem: DSL promotional plan rates altered or unspecified to
consumer
·
International Internet Dial-up: international calls billed to subscriber as a
result of using local (domestic) Internet service providers to access websites
·
International Calls – Rates: international calls, rates and/or service that either
originate or terminate in the U.S.
·
809 International Billing: 809 area code collect call and consumer dialing
scams
·
900 Pay-Per-Call Billing: commercially provided interstate 900 number
information or entertainment services
·
OSP Rates: rates charged for interstate calls placed from public phones
·
Rates for Interstate Telecommunications Services – Billing: disputes
concerning interstate rates and charges

Cramming:

unauthorized, misleading or deceptive charges appearing on a subscriber’s
bill

Number Portability

: ability to port a telephone number from one service provider to
another

Recurring Charges

: recurring charges that appear on a subscriber’s bill

Service Quality:

quality of service provided by carrier:
· DSL Service Inadequate: poor quality of service or service outages
· Interstate Telecommunications: poor call reception, service outages, service
disconnects, or carrier’s failure to release telephone line (and no charges are
associated)
· Long Distance Service Treatment: inadequate customer service treatment by
long distance carriers including, but not limited to, additional services being
added without the consumer’s knowledge or approval
- 7 -

Slamming:

practice of changing a subscriber’s telecommunications service provider (or a
calling plan) without the subscriber’s consent
· International slammed: changing a subscriber’s international long distance
service without permission
·
Local Service slammed: changing a subscriber’s local or regional intrastate
long distance service without permission
·
Local and Long Distance slammed: changing a subscriber’s local and long
distance service without permission
·
Long Distance slammed: changing a subscriber’s interstate telephone
company service without permission
·
Slamming w/ Problem LOA: changing a subscriber’s interstate telephone
company based on fraudulent signed documents or illegal formats, such as
sweepstakes

Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

– compliance with TCPA:
·
Do Not Call List: any telephone solicitation to a residential telephone
subscriber who has requested not to receive telephone solicitations
·
Unsolicited Fax: unsolicited (“junk”) faxes or the use of a computer or other
device to send any messages via a telephone facsimile
·
Other: other aspects of TCPA (e.g., prerecorded messages, abandoned calls
and war dialing, business telephone complaints, emergency telephone
complaints, call or message to wireless device, and/or call or message to toll
free numbers)

Universal Service Fund Issues:

contribution methodology, general information, rural
health care and calculation increases
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