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New Procedures for Communications Accessibility Informal Complaints

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Released: November 13, 2013

PUBLIC NOTICE

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information: 202-418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 13-2177

Released: November 13, 2013

NEW PROCEDURES FOR TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND ADVANCED

COMMUNICATIONS ACCESSIBILITY COMPLAINTS

October 8, 2013 marked the third anniversary of the Twenty-First Century Communications and
Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), signed into law by President Obama in 2010. The stated purpose of the
CVAA is “to update the communications laws to help ensure that individuals with disabilities are able to
fully utilize communications services and equipment and better access video programming.”1 Over the
past three years, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has worked steadily to fulfill each of
the CVAA’s rulemaking requirements in a timely fashion.2
October 8, 2013 also marked the compliance date for two significant CVAA mandates: (1) the
requirement for advanced communications service providers and manufacturers to ensure that their
services3 and equipment4 are accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, if achievable; and
(2) the requirement for Internet browsers built into mobile phones to be accessible to and usable by
individuals who are blind or visually impaired.5
In compliance with the CVAA and in conjunction with the new accessibility requirements
described above, the FCC is implementing new procedures for the handling of informal complaints
related to the accessibility and usability of the following:
 advanced communications services and equipment;
 Internet browsers built into mobile phones; and
 telecommunications services and equipment (such as telephones).6

1 S. Rep. No. 111-386 at 1 (2010) (Senate Report); H.R. Rep. No. 111-563 at 19 (2010) (House Report).
2 To learn more about these rulemaking proceedings, please visit http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/twenty-first-
century-communications-and-video-accessibility-act-0.
3 Advanced communications services include the following: interconnected voice over Internet protocol (VoIP)
service; non-interconnected VoIP service; electronic messaging service (such as text messaging, e-mail, and instant
messaging); and interoperable video conferencing service.
4 Equipment used for advanced communications services include cellphones, smartphones, personal computers,
laptops, and tablets.
5 These requirements apply to advanced communications services and equipment and Internet browsers built into
mobile phones that are introduced into the marketplace or substantially upgraded on or after October 8, 2013. For
more information about these accessibility requirements, visit http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/advanced-
communications-services-acs.
6 For more information about accessibility requirements for telecommunications services and equipment, visit
http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/section-255-disability-rights-office. Although the CVAA did not establish new
accessibility obligations for telecommunications service providers and manufacturers, it directed the FCC to

An overview of the new complaint procedures is available on the FCC’s website at
http://www.fcc.gov/accessibility-complaints-255-716-718-action-options. 7 Under the new complaint
procedures, a consumer may choose to contact the company directly to try and resolve his or her
accessibility problem. Consumers can find contact information for a company’s accessibility customer
care representative on the FCC’s website at http://apps.fcc.gov/rccci-search/, by sending an e-mail to
dro@fcc.gov, or by calling 202-418-2517 (voice) or 202-418-2922 (TTY).
If a consumer prefers contacting the FCC instead of or after contacting the company about a
concern, he or she must first request assistance from the FCC Disability Rights Office to resolve the
accessibility problem – before filing an informal complaint against the company. Consumers may request
this assistance by completing and submitting a Request for Dispute Assistance online at
https://esupport.fcc.gov/ccmsforms/RDAformEnglish.
A PDF version of the Request for Dispute Assistance form may also be downloaded and printed
from http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/FormRDA.pdf. The completed PDF version of the Request
for Dispute Assistance form may be submitted to the Disability Rights Office by e-mail to dro@fcc.gov,
by fax to 202-418-0037, or by mail.8 If a consumer is unable to obtain or use the online or PDF version
of the Request for Dispute Assistance form, the consumer may submit a request containing the
consumer’s contact information9 and information about the accessibility problem by e-mail, letter, or by
calling 202-418-2517 (voice) or 202-418-2922 (TTY).
When a Request for Dispute Assistance is filed, the consumer will receive a confirmation notice
that includes a Request for Dispute Assistance case number. The Disability Rights Office will then work
with the consumer and the company for at least 30 days to resolve the accessibility problem. There is no
charge for this assistance.

establish new procedures for the handling of complaints about the accessibility and usability of telecommunications
services and equipment by individuals with disabilities.
7 This information is also available through the FCC complaints system at http://www.fcc.gov/complaints by
selecting “Access by People with Disabilities.” By using the FCC complaints system or by going to
http://www.fcc.gov/accessibility-complaints-more, consumers can learn more about the FCC’s accessibility
requirements for communications and video programming services and equipment. When consumers select the
category of services or equipment about which they have an accessibility problem at
http://www.fcc.gov/accessibility-complaints-categories, they are connected to the information they need to file a
complaint. For example, consumers who wish to file a complaint about accessibility problems related to hearing aid
compatibility for telephones, telecommunications relay services (TRS), access to emergency information on
television, closed captioning, or video description will be directed to information about filing a Disability Access
Complaint (Form 2000C). Procedures for filing those types of complaints have not changed. Filing complaints
about the accessibility and usability of advanced communications services and equipment, Internet browsers built
into mobile phones, and telecommunications services and equipment must follow the new procedures described in
this Public Notice.
8 Requests for Dispute Assistance that are sent by mail should go to the following address: Federal Communications
Commission, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Disability Rights Office, 445 12th Street, SW,
Washington, DC 20554.
9 Information about possible noncompliance with accessibility requirements also may be provided to the FCC
anonymously by e-mail to CVAATips@fcc.gov, or by calling 202-418-0031 (voice) or 202-418-0033 (TTY).

If the accessibility problem is not resolved in 30 days, the consumer has two choices:
(1) request an additional 30 days of assistance from the Disability Rights Office to continue to try
to resolve the accessibility problem (additional requests beyond this time may also be made
for 30-day increments); or
(2) file a Communications Accessibility Informal Complaint about the accessibility problem with
the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau.
To request an additional 30 days or to file an informal complaint, consumers may contact the
Disability Rights Office at 202-418-2517 (voice) or 202-418-2922 (TTY), by e-mail to dro@fcc.gov, by
fax to 202-418-0037, or by mail.10 Consumers will need to provide their last name, zip code, and their
Request for Dispute Assistance case number. If the consumer takes no action for 60 days after the 30-day
time period ends, the case will be closed.
Accessible Formats. To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities
(Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY). This Public
Notice
can also be downloaded in Word and Portable Document Format at
http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/advanced-communications-services-acs.
Additional Information. For additional information, please contact Rosaline Crawford at 202-
418-2075, or e-mail rosaline.crawford@fcc.gov; Eliot Greenwald at 202-418-2235, or e-mail
eliot.greenwald@fcc.gov; or Susan Kimmel at 202-418-1679, or e-mail susan.kimmel@fcc.gov, of the
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Disability Rights Office.
-FCC-

10 Requests for 30 additional days of dispute assistance and Communications Accessibility Informal Complaints
should be mailed to the following address: Federal Communications Commission, Consumer & Governmental
Affairs Bureau, Disability Rights Office, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554. The Commission also is
working on providing a means for consumers to make this request and file an informal complaint online.

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