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QUARTERLY REPORT ON INFORMAL CONSUMER INQUIRIES AND COMPLAINTS

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Released: December 31, 1969

NEWS
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


This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).


For Immediate Release:

News Media Contact:
January 8, 2009




Pam Slipakoff at (202) 418-1400
e-mail:
pam.slipakoff@fcc.gov




QUARTERLY REPORT ON INFORMAL CONSUMER INQUIRIES AND

COMPLAINTS RELEASE



Washington, DC The Commission has released its report on the top subject areas for
inquiries and complaints processed by the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB)
during the first quarter of calendar year 2008.

2008 First Quarter Inquiries. During this quarter, the total number of inquiries for all
four reported categories increased more than 176%, from 46,960 in the 4th quarter of 2007 to
82,897 in the 1st quarter of 2008. Notably, the number of Radio and Television Broadcasting
inquiries increased 310% in the 1st quarter of 2008 from 16,745 in the 4th quarter of 2007 to
51,920 in the 1st quarter of 2008. The bulk of the Radio and Television Broadcasting inquiries,
i.e., 90%, pertained to digital television issues. Wireline inquiries increased 8% from 19,524 in
the 4th quarter of 2007 to 21,096 this quarter. Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
inquiries constituted 75% of the inquiries in this category. The number of Cable and Satellite
Services inquiries increased nearly 10%, as compared to last quarter, from 3,459 to 3,800.
Inquiries regarding Billing & Rates Information constituted 38% of the inquiries in this category.
Wireless inquiries decreased 16% from 7,232 to 6,081 this quarter.

2008 First Quarter Complaints. During this quarter, complaints in the reported
categories increased over 413%, from 42,946 in the 4th quarter of 2007 to 174,826 in the 1st
quarter of 2008. Most of the increase occurred in the Radio and Television Broadcasting
category where complaints rose from 1,249 in the 4th quarter of 2007 to 122,104 in the first
quarter of 2008. Programming Indecency/Obscenity complaints comprised 99% of the 122,104
complaints in this category. Cable & Satellite Services-related complaints increased 50% from
615 in the 4th quarter of 2007 to 923 in the 1st quarter of 2008. Wireless complaints increased
52% from 12,448 in the 4th quarter of 2007 to 18,964 in the 1st quarter of 2008. TCPA issues
comprised over 67% of the complaints in this category. Wireless TCPA complaints rose again

this quarter, from 6,489 in the 4th quarter of 2007 to 12,839 in the 1st quarter of 2008.
Wireline complaints also rose in the 1st quarter of 2008 to 35,602 from 28,634 in the 4th quarter
of 2007. Telephone Consumer Protection Act - Other Issues, Telephone Consumer Protection
Act - Do Not Call List and Telephone Consumer Protection Act Unsolicited Fax ranked as the
top categories of wireline complaints and when combined, totaled over 88% of the wireline-
related complaints in the reported sub-categories.

The Commission receives many inquiries and complaints that do not involve violations of
the Communications Act, or a rule or order of the Commission. The existence of a complaint
does not necessarily indicate wrongdoing by the company at issue. The quarterly report on
informal consumer inquiries and complaints release can be viewed at:
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/quarter/welcome.htm.


- FCC -





REPORT ON INFORMAL CONSUMER INQUIRIES AND COMPLAINTS

1st Quarter Calendar Year 2008

Executive Summary




This report tracks the top subject areas for consumer inquiries and complaints received
during the 1st quarter of calendar year 2008 and processed by the Consumer & Governmental
Affairs Bureau (CGB).i Inquiries are defined as correspondence or communications received at
the Commission from individuals seeking information on matters under the FCC's jurisdiction.
An informal consumer complaint is defined as a communication received at CGB's consumer
centers either via postal mail, fax, email, internet, or telephone from or on behalf of an individual
that: (i) identifies a particular entity under the FCC's jurisdiction; (ii) alleges harm or injury; and
(iii) seeks relief.

2008 First Quarter Inquiries. During this quarter, the total number of inquiries for all
four reported categories increased more than 176%, from 46,960 in the 4th quarter of 2007 to
82,897 in the 1st quarter of 2008. Notably, the number of Radio and Television Broadcasting
inquiries increased 310% in the 1st quarter of 2008 from 16,745 in the 4th quarter of 2007 to
51,920 in the 1st quarter of 2008. The bulk of the Radio and Television Broadcasting inquiries,
i.e., 90%, pertained to digital television issues. Wireline inquiries increased 8% from 19,524 in
the 4th quarter of 2007 to 21,096 this quarter. Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
inquiries constituted 75% of the inquiries in this category. The number of Cable and Satellite
Services inquiries increased nearly 10%, as compared to last quarter, from 3,459 to 3,800.
Inquiries regarding Billing & Rates Information constituted 38% of the inquiries in this category.
Wireless inquiries decreased 16% from 7,232 to 6,081 this quarter.

2008 First Quarter Complaints. During this quarter, complaints in the reported
categories increased over 413%, from 42,946 in the 4th quarter of 2007 to 174,826 in the 1st
quarter of 2008. Most of the increase occurred in the Radio and Television Broadcasting
category where complaints rose from 1,249 in the 4th quarter of 2007 to 122,104 in the first
quarter of 2008. Programming Indecency/Obscenity complaints comprised 99% of the 122,104
complaints in this category. Cable & Satellite Services-related complaints increased 50% from
615 in the 4th quarter of 2007 to 923 in the 1st quarter of 2008. Wireless complaints increased
52% from 12,448 in the 4th quarter of 2007 to 18,964 in the 1st quarter of 2008. TCPA issues
comprised over 67% of the complaints in this category. Wireless TCPA complaints rose again
this quarter, from 6,489 in the 4th quarter of 2007 to 12,839 in the 1st quarter of 2008. Wireline
complaints also rose in the 1st quarter of 2008 to 35,602 from 28,634 in the 4th quarter of 2007.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act - Other Issues, Telephone Consumer Protection Act - Do
Not Call List and Telephone Consumer Protection Act Unsolicited Fax ranked as the top
categories of wireline complaints and when combined, totaled over 88% of the wireline-related
complaints in the reported sub-categories.









The Commission receives many inquiries and complaints that do not involve violations of
the Communications Act, or a rule or order of the Commission. The existence of a complaint
does not necessarily indicate wrongdoing by the company at issue. The quarterly report on
informal consumer inquiries and complaints release can be viewed at:
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/quarter/welcome.htm.



i
The data reported reflects the complaints and inquiries recorded in CGB's automated tracking systems for
the period January 1, 2008 to March 31, 2008. The information generated for this specific report is information
entered into the tracking systems on or before a specific date. In addition, the data within this report account for
statistics at the national level as reported by the Commission and, therefore, are not necessarily indicative of
corresponding state or local trends.


Summary of Top Consumer Inquiry * Subjects

Processed by the FCC's Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB)

First Quarter - Calendar Year 2008

January

February

March

Quarter Totals

Cable & Satellite Services


Disability & Access Related Issues
31
22
18
71
Service-Related Issues
202
126
182
510
Over-the-Air Reception Devices Issues
169
184
180
533
Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act
226
146
187
559
Programming Issues
168
333
177
678
Billing & Rates
516
444
489
1,449
Totals
1,312
1,255
1,233
3,800

January

February

March

Quarter Totals

Radio and Television Broadcasting

Emergency Alert System (EAS)
36
45
48
129
Disability & Access Related Issues
28
66
43
137
Political Programming Issues
514
33
61
608
Interference
428
404
400
1,232
Broadcast Programming Issues
1,416
989
916
3,321
Digital Television Issues
21,839
12,023
12,631
46,493
Totals
24,261
13,560
14,099
51,920

January

February

March

Quarter Totals

Wireless Telecommunications

Amateur License Information
108
101
67
276
Interference
280
255
248
783
Billing & Rates Information
341
325
275
941
Service-Related Issues
570
511
499
1,580
License Information (General)
932
789
780
2,501
Totals
2,231
1,981
1,869
6,081

January

February

March

Quarter Totals

Wireline Telecommunications

Number Portability
125
154
117
396
Universal Service Issues
175
192
157
524
Billing & Rates Information
364
358
381
1,103
Slamming 487
461
484
1,432
Cramming 576
566
588
1,730
Telephone Consumer Protection Act
5,287
5,133
5,491
15,911
Totals
7,014
6,864
7,218
21,096

Notes:
* An inquiry is defined as any correspondence or communication received at CGB's Consumer Centers from
individuals seeking information on matters under the FCC's jurisdiction.
(1) See attachment for brief description of subject categories.

(2) The data within this report account for statistics at the national level as reported to the Commission, and therefore
are not necessarily indicative of corresponding state and local trends.
** The inquiries figures in this report represent volume for the categories and sub-categories listed in this report only
and are not inclusive of all inquiries for all categories handled by the FCC.


Summary of Top Complaint * Subjects

Processed by the FCC's Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB)

First Quarter - Calendar Year 2008

January

February

March

Quarter Totals

Cable & Satellite Services

Disability & Access related issues
3
6
9
18
Cable TV & Satellite Connectivity and Availability
42
50
19
111
Service Related Issues
28
81
67
176
Programming Issues
95
190
95
380
Billing & Rates
30
106
102
238
Totals
198
433
292
923
January

February

March

Quarter Totals

Radio and Television Broadcasting

Disability & Access related issues
4
16
2
22
Other Programming Issues
38
108
55
201
Programming - General Criticism
193
487
270
950
Programming - Indecency/Obscenity**
108,919
10,825
1,187
120,931
Totals
109,154
11,436
1,514
122,104
January

February

March

Quarter Totals

Wireless Telecommunications

Carrier Marketing & Advertising
216
171
74
461
Contract - Early Termination
158
242
124
524
Service-Related Issues
1,718
539
155
2,412
Billing & Rates Information
617
1,367
744
2,728
Telephone Consumer Protection Act
4,494
3,258
5,087
12,839
Totals
7,203
5,577
6,184
18,964
January

February

March

Quarter Totals

Wireline Telecommunications

Service Quality
180
271
174
625
Slamming
235
134
207
576
Billing & Rates Information
862
1,504
685
3,051
Telephone Consumer Protection Act - Do Not Call List
1,668
1,443
1,557
4,668
Telephone Consumer Protection Act -Other Issues
3,281
3,356
3,493
10,130
Telephone Consumer Protection Act-Unsolicited Fax
4,390
3,612
5,783
13,785
Totals
10,616
10,320
11,899
32,835

Notes:
* An informal consumer complaint is defined as any correspondence or communication received at CGB's Consumer Centers
either via postal mail, fax, electronic mail (e-mail) or telephone from or on behalf of an individual that : (I) identifies a particular
entity under the FCC's jurisdiction; (ii) alleges harm or injury; and (iii) requests relief. The complaint figures in this report
reflect selected categories of complaints -- namely, the top complaint subjects -- and are not inclusive of all complaints handled
by the FCC.
** The number of programming complaints assigned to each of the programming sub-categories is based on initial processing.
The distribution of programming complaints among the sub-categories may change upon further review. Complaints regarding
alleged indecency/obscenity/profanity during specific programs are forwarded to the Enforcement Bureau (EB) for appropriate
handling. The number of Programming complaints reported here reflects complaints received by CGB, complaints received
separately by EB, and complaints emailed directly to the offices of the FCC Chairman and the respective offices of the
Commissioners. The reported counts may include duplicate complaints or contacts that subsequently are determined
insufficient to constitute actionable complaints.
(1) See attachment for brief description of subject categories.

(2) The data within this report account for statistics at the national level as reported to the Commission, and therefore are not
necessarily indicative of corresponding state or local trends.


Top Consumer Issues Subject Category Reference Guide














CABLE & SATELLITE SERVICES

Billing & Rates:
Complaints/inquiries concerning billing matters and the rates charged
for cable programming service (or expanded basic) tier on a cable system or satellite
services

Cable TV & Satellite Connectivity and Availability:

Complaints/inquiries regarding
the availability or quality of connections to cable and satellite systems

Disability & Access Related Issues:

Complaints/inquiries regarding video description, closed
captioning, and emergency access to video programming

Over-The-Air Reception Devices (OTARD) Issues:

Complaints/inquiries regarding the
installation, maintenance or use of antennas -- including direct-to-home satellite dishes
that are less than one meter (39.37") in diameter (or of any size in Alaska), TV antennas,
and wireless cable antennas -- to receive video programming

Programming Issues:

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

Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act (SHVIA):

Complaints/inquiries regarding
SHVIA issues

Service Related Issues:

Complaints/inquiries about the quality of service provided by
cable operators or satellite programming distributors


RADIO & TELEVISION BROADCASTING

Disability & Access Related Issues:
Complaints/inquiries regarding video description, closed
captioning, and emergency access to video programming

Broadcast Programming Issues:

Complaints/inquiries related to general over the air
programming issues

Digital Television Issues:

Complaints/inquiries concerning digital TV service or the
transition to digital TV

Emergency Alert System (EAS):

Complaints/inquiries concerning the emergency alert
system

Interference:

Complaints/Inquiries regarding unwanted signals from nearby transmitters
to home entertainment electronic equipment

Political Programming Issues:

Complaints/inquiries with program content of a political
oriented nature

Programming Issues


Indecency/Obscenity: Complaints/inquiries regarding programs that allegedly
contain obscene, indecent or profane material
General Criticism: generalized concerns regarding the content of programs
Other Programming Issues: Miscellaneous programming issues


WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Amateur License Information:

Inquiries regarding Amateur license acquisition,
requirements, eligibility, and replacement

Billing & Rates Information Includes the Following Subcategories:


Billing/Rates - Airtime Charges:

Complaints/inquiries regarding charges to
subscriber for actual time spent talking on a wireless phone

Billing/Rates - Credit/Refunds/Adjustments:

Complaints/inquiries regarding
credits, refunds, or bill adjustments

Billing/Rates - Line Items:

Complaints/inquiries regarding surcharges and taxes
appearing on a phone bill
Access Charge: Complaints/inquiries regarding miscellaneous line items
charges
E-911: Complaints/inquiries regarding provision of automatic location
information and automatic number identification via a wireless phone used to
contact a 911 call center
Taxes: Complaints/inquiries regarding taxes appearing on wireless bill
Universal Service: Complaints/inquiries about the availability and
affordability of phone service for low income consumers in geographic areas
where the costs of providing telephone service is high

Billing/Rates - Recurring Charges:

Complaints/inquiries over recurring
monthly charges that appear on a customer's bill

Billing/Rates - Roaming Rates:

Complaints/inquiries about charges assessed to
the subscriber for wireless calls made while roaming in another carrier's territory

Billing/Rates - Rounding:

Complaints/inquiries about the practice of rounding
calls to a full minute

Billing/Rates - Service Plan Rate:

Complaints/inquiries about the terms and
conditions of service:

Activation Fee: usually one time charge to initiate service
Off-Peak: specified time where per-minute rate is lower
Optional Services: including caller-id, voice mail, road-rescue, etc.
Peak: specified time where per-minute rate is higher
Prepaid Service: subscriber pays for service in advance
Promo Plan: including minute allowances
Security Deposit: usually one time charge that is held by the carrier for a
specified timeframe in order for subscriber to acquire service

Carrier Marketing & Advertising:

Complaints/inquiries regarding advertising and
marketing practices of carriers including alleged misrepresentations

Contract Early Termination:
Complaints/inquiries regarding termination of a
subscriber's service prior to end of specified contract term
Termination of Service by subscriber: subscriber's liability for terminating
service prior to specified contract term
Termination of Service by carrier: carrier's right to disconnect a subscriber's
service prior to end of a specified contract term

Interference:

Inquiries regarding unwanted signals from nearby transmitters to home
entertainment electronic equipment

License Information (General):

Inquiries regarding GMRS license acquisition,
requirements, eligibility, cancellation, frequency coordination, replacement and other
general license related issues

Service-Related Issues:

Complaints/inquiries regarding quality of service or the lack of
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: involving calls that do not go through because of
overcrowding of the service frequencies
Roaming Availability: availability of service outside the subscriber's local
calling area
Roaming Service: overall quality of service while roaming
Service Interruption: inability to use cellular phone because service was
interrupted by service provider

Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA):

Complaints/inquiries regarding compliance
with the TCPA requirements applicable to wireless telecommunications




WIRELINE TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Billing & Rates Information Includes the Following Subcategories:

Billing/Rates Credit/Refunds/Adjustments:

Complaints/inquiries about credits,
refunds, or adjustments allegedly owed to the subscriber

Billing/Rates Line Item:

Complaints/inquiries about the line items appearing on
telephone bills:
Access Subscriber Line Charge: questions regarding subscriber local-loop
line charges for maintaining residential and business and telephone access to
the network
Access Universal Service: questions regarding the FCC's universal service
fund-affordable access to basic telephone service for low-income consumers
and consumers in high-cost areas, and communications services for schools
and libraries and health care facilities
Interstate Directory Assistance: questions about charges assessed for access to
directory assistance information
Taxes on Telephone Bill: questions about local, state, or federal taxes
appearing on a telephone bill
Truth in Billing - No Service Provider ID: Complaints/inquiries about whether
the name of the service provider and/or contact information for the service
provider is easily identifiable on the bill
Truth in Billing - Bundled Charges: Complaints/inquiries about whether bills
contain plain language description and breakdown of charges for each carrier
when multiple carriers appear on the bill
Truth in Billing - No Payment Solution: Complaints/inquiries about whether a
bill clearly distinguishes charges for which nonpayment will result in
disconnection from those that will not result in disconnection

Billing/Rates Rates:

Miscellaneous complaints/inquiries about the rates and charges
billed by telephone companies:

Casual Call Billing: rates billed for calls placed from non-public phones
through a carrier who is not the presubscribed carrier for the telephone (or
which does not recognize a telephone number as that of a subscriber)
Double Billing: dispute involving alleged double billing for calls or services
DSL Rate Problem: DSL promotion plan rates allegedly altered or unspecified
to consumer
International Internet Dial-up: international calls (routed to places like Chad,
Madagascar or other countries) that were billed to consumers 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.

International 809# Billing: 809 area code collect call and consumer dialing
scam
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 about
interstate rates and charges

Billing/Rates Recurring Charges

: Complaints/inquiries about recurring
charges that appear on a customer's bill

Cramming:

Complaints/inquiries about allegedly unauthorized, misleading, or deceptive
charges appearing on a telephone bill

Service Quality:

Complaints/inquiries regarding the quality of service provided by telephone
companies:
DSL Service Inadequate: poor quality of service or service outage
Interstate Telecommunications: poor call reception, service outage, 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 carrier including, but not limited to, additional services being
added without the consumer's knowledge or approval, etc.

Slamming:

Complaints/inquiries regarding the practice of changing a subscriber's
telecommunications service provider (or a calling plan) without the subscriber's permission
International slam: 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 format, such as
sweepstake

Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA):

Complaints/inquiries regarding 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 Issues: Complaints/inquiries dealing with all other aspects of TCPA
except Do Not Call List and Junk Fax

Document Outline

  • 1st Qtr 2008 Exec
  • public report inquiries - 1st qtr 08
  • public report complaints - 1st qtr 08
  • Top Consumer Issues def 1st Qtr 08 9-25-08

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