Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

QUARTERLY REPORT ON INFORMAL CONSUMER INQUIRIES AND COMPLAINTS

Download Options

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 RELEASED




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 second quarter of calendar year 2008.

2008 Second Quarter Inquiries. During this quarter, the total number of inquiries for all
four reported categories decreased more than 33%, from 82,897 in the 1st quarter of 2008 to
62,036 in the 2nd quarter of 2008. Notably, the number of Radio and Television Broadcasting
inquiries decreased 63%, from 51,920 in the 1st quarter to 31,719 in the 2nd quarter. The bulk of
the Radio and Television Broadcasting inquiries, i.e., 84%, pertained to Digital Television
Issues. Wireline inquiries increased 2% from 21,096 in the 1st quarter of 2008 to 21,502 in the
2nd quarter. Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) inquiries constituted over 78% of the
inquiries in this category. The number of Cable and Satellite Services inquiries increased more
than 8%, as compared to the 1st quarter, from 3,800 to 4,130. Inquiries regarding Billing & Rates
Information constituted 33% of the inquiries in this category. Wireless inquiries decreased 29%
from 6,081, in the 1st to 4,685 in the 2nd quarter.

2008 Second Quarter Complaints. During this quarter, complaints in the reported
categories decreased over 50%, from 174,826 in the 1st quarter of 2008 to 86,530 in the 2nd
quarter of 2008. Most of the decrease occurred in the Radio and Television Broadcasting
category where complaints dropped from 122,104 in the 1st quarter of 2008 to 30,317 in the
second quarter of 2008. Programming Indecency/Obscenity complaints comprised over 82% of
the 30,317 complaints in this category. Cable & Satellite Services-related complaints increased
over 53% from 923 in the 1st quarter of 2008 to 1,414 in the 2nd quarter. Wireless complaints
decreased 29% from 18,964 in the 1st quarter of 2008 to 13,560 in the 2nd quarter. TCPA issues

comprised over 70% of the complaints in this category. Wireline complaints rose in the
2nd quarter of 2008 to 41,239 from 32,835 in the 1st quarter of 2008. 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

2nd Quarter Calendar Year 2008

Executive Summary




This report tracks the top subject areas for consumer inquiries and complaints received
during the 2nd 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 Second Quarter Inquiries. During this quarter, the total number of inquiries for all
four reported categories decreased more than 33%, from 82,897 in the 1st quarter of 2008 to
62,036 in the 2nd quarter of 2008. Notably, the number of Radio and Television Broadcasting
inquiries decreased 63%, from 51,920 in the 1st quarter to 31,719 in the 2nd quarter. The bulk of
the Radio and Television Broadcasting inquiries, i.e., 84%, pertained to Digital Television
Issues. Wireline inquiries increased 2% from 21,096 in the 1st quarter of 2008 to 21,502 in the
2nd quarter. Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) inquiries constituted over 78% of the
inquiries in this category. The number of Cable and Satellite Services inquiries increased more
than 8%, as compared to the 1st quarter, from 3,800 to 4,130. Inquiries regarding Billing & Rates
Information constituted 33% of the inquiries in this category. Wireless inquiries decreased 29%
from 6,081, in the 1st to 4,685 in the 2nd quarter.

2008 Second Quarter Complaints. During this quarter, complaints in the reported
categories decreased over 50%, from 174,826 in the 1st quarter of 2008 to 86,530 in the 2nd
quarter of 2008. Most of the decrease occurred in the Radio and Television Broadcasting
category where complaints dropped from 122,104 in the 1st quarter of 2008 to 30,317 in the
second quarter of 2008. Programming Indecency/Obscenity complaints comprised over 82% of
the 30,317 complaints in this category. Cable & Satellite Services-related complaints increased
over 53% from 923 in the 1st quarter of 2008 to 1,414 in the 2nd quarter. Wireless complaints
decreased 29% from 18,964 in the 1st quarter of 2008 to 13,560 in the 2nd quarter. TCPA issues
comprised over 70% of the complaints in this category. Wireline complaints rose in the 2nd
quarter of 2008 to 41,239 from 32,835 in the 1st quarter of 2008. 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 April 1, 2008 to June 30, 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)

Second Quarter - Calendar Year 2008

April

May

June

Quarter Totals

Cable & Satellite Services


Disability & Access Related Issues
17
17
12
46
Service Related Issues
138
82
141
361
Programming Issues
137
137
121
395
Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act Issues
143
150
135
428
Over-the-Air Reception Device Issues
210
202
197
609
Digital Television Issues
10
117
777
904
Billing & Rates Issues
434
433
520
1,387
Totals
1,089
1,138
1,903
4,130

April

May

June

Quarter Totals

Radio and Television Broadcasting

Disability & Access Related Issues
70
66
58
194
Carrier Marketing & Advertising
139
117
113
369
Interference
334
279
347
960
Broadcast Programming Issues
1,891
782
755
3,428
Digital Television Issues
16,470
5,194
5,104
26,768
Totals
18,904
6,438
6,377
31,719

April

May

June

Quarter Totals

Wireless Telecommunications

Amateur License Information
74
65
57
196
Tower Related Issues
116
92
85
293
Interference
237
212
216
665
Billing & Rates
254
172
226
652
Service Related Issues
409
462
520
1,391
License Information (General)
593
479
416
1,488
Totals
1,683
1,482
1,520
4,685

April

May

June

Quarter Totals

Wireline Telecommunications

Universal Service Issues
55
178
153
386
Billing & Rates
386
405
467
1,258
Slamming 462
457
504
1,423
Cramming 592
560
338
1,490
Telephone Consumer Protection Act Issues
5,849
5,801
5,295
16,945
Totals
7,344
7,401
6,757
21,502

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)

Second Quarter - Calendar Year 2008

April

May

June

Quarter Totals

Cable & Satellite Services

Digital Television Issues
19
27
51
97
Carrier Marketing & Advertising
29
42
67
138
Service Related Issues
60
74
73
207
Billing & Rates Issues
115
137
123
375
Programming Issues
199
107
291
597
Totals
422
387
605
1,414

April

May

June

Quarter Totals

Radio and Television Broadcasting

Disability & Access related Issues
9
15
14
38
Digital Television Issues
63
102
117
282
Other Programming Issues
95
105
393
593
Programming - General Criticism
3,070
470
806
4,346
Programming - Indecency/Obscenity**
24,068
679
311
25,058
Totals
27,305
1,371
1,641
30,317

April

May

June

Quarter Totals

Wireless Telecommunications

Carrier Marketing & Advertising
91
85
97
273
Contract - Early Termination
117
141
161
419
Service Related Issues
184
206
273
663
Billing & Rates
854
732
1,054
2,640
Telephone Consumer Protection Act
2,681
3,988
2,896
9,565
Totals
3,927
5,152
4,481
13,560

April

May

June

Quarter Totals

Wireline Telecommunications

Carrier Marketing & Advertising
152
186
159
497
Service Quality
210
355
316
881
Billing & Rates
1,051
1,080
1,318
3,449
Telephone Consumer Protection Act - Do Not Call List
1,690
2,192
1,634
5,516
Telephone Consumer Protection Act -Other Issues
3,868
2,872
3,220
9,960
Telephone Consumer Protection Act-Unsolicited Fax
6,574
7,531
6,831
20,936
Totals
13,545
14,216
13,478
41,239

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

Carrier Marketing & Advertising:

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

Digital Television Issues:

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

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) Issues:

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

Broadcast Programming issues:

Complaints/inquiries related to general over the air
programming issues

Carrier Marketing & Advertising:

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

Digital Television Issues:

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


Disability & Access Related Issues:

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

Interference:

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

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 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 Issue:

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

Tower Related Issues:

Complaints/inquiries involving light outages, paint, posting,
zoning and registration


WIRELINE TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Billing & Rates 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

Carrier Marketing & Advertising:

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

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) Issues:

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

Universal Service Issues:

Complaints/inquiries regarding contribution methodology,
general information, rural health care and calculation increases

Document Outline

  • 2nd Qtr 2008 Exec
  • public report inquiries - 2nd qtr 08
  • public report complaints - 2nd qtr 08
  • Top Consumer Issues def 2nd Qtr 08 12-9-08

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.

close
FCC

You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.