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QUARTERLY REPORT ON INFORMAL CONSUMER INQUIRIES AND COMPLAINTS RELEASED

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Released: April 2, 2010

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:
April 2, 2010
Rosemary
Kimball
at
(202)
418-0511


e-mail: rosemary.kimball@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 2009.

2009 Second Quarter Inquiries. During this quarter, the total number of inquiries for all
four reported categories increased more than 138%, from 245,505 in the 1st quarter of 2009 to
585,164 in the 2nd quarter of 2009. Notably, the number of Radio and Television Broadcasting
inquiries increased more than 160%, from 215,928 in the 1st quarter of 2009 to 563,397 in the 2nd
quarter of 2009. The bulk of the Radio and Television Broadcasting inquiries, i.e., more than
98%, pertained to Equipment Related Issues. Wireline inquiries increased 12% from 12,568 in
the 1st quarter of 2009 to 14,139 in the 2nd quarter of 2009. Telephone Consumer Protection Act
(TCPA) inquiries constituted 58% of the inquiries in this category. The number of Cable and
Satellite Services inquiries decreased more than 67%, as compared to the 1st quarter from 13,017
to 4,241. Inquiries regarding Digital Television Issues constituted 5.5 % of the inquiries in this
category. Wireless inquiries decreased almost 15% from 3,992 in the 1st quarter of 2009 to 3,387
in the 2nd quarter of 2009.

2009 Second Quarter Complaints. During this quarter, complaints in the reported
categories decreased over 71%, from 245,241 in the 1st quarter of 2009 to 70,341in the 2nd
quarter of 2009. Most of the decrease occurred in two of the reported categories -- the Radio and
Television Broadcasting category, where complaints decreased from 188,558 in the 1st quarter of
2009 to 17,047 in the 2nd quarter of 2009, and the Wireline Telecommunications category, where
complaints decreased from 36,427 in the 1st quarter to 34,491 in the 2nd quarter. Cable &
Satellite Services complaints decreased 42% from 4,113 in the 1st quarter of 2009 to 2,384 in the
2nd quarter of 2009. Wireless complaints increased over 1% from 16,142 in the 1st quarter of
2009 to 16,419 in the 2nd quarter of 2009. TCPA issues comprised more than 75% of the
complaints in this category. Wireline complaints decreased almost 6% in the 2nd quarter of 2009
to 34,491 from 36,427 in the 1st quarter of 2009. 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 nearly 87% 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.html.


- FCC -



REPORT ON INFORMAL CONSUMER INQUIRIES AND COMPLAINTS

2nd Quarter Calendar Year 2009

Executive Summary




This report tracks the top subject areas for consumer inquiries and complaints received
during the 2nd quarter of calendar year 2009 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, electronic mail (e-mail), 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.

2009 Second Quarter Inquiries. During this quarter, the total number of inquiries for all
four reported categories increased more than 138%, from 245,505 in the 1st quarter of 2009 to
585,164 in the 2nd quarter of 2009. Notably, the number of Radio and Television Broadcasting
inquiries increased more than 160%, from 215,928 in the 1st quarter of 2009 to 563,397 in the 2nd
quarter of 2009. The bulk of the Radio and Television Broadcasting inquiries, i.e., more than
98%, pertained to Equipment Related Issues. Wireline inquiries increased 12% from 12,568 in
the 1st quarter of 2009 to 14,139 in the 2nd quarter of 2009. Telephone Consumer Protection Act
(TCPA) inquiries constituted 58% of the inquiries in this category. The number of Cable and
Satellite Services inquiries decreased more than 67%, as compared to the 1st quarter from 13,017
to 4,241. Inquiries regarding Digital Television Issues constituted 5.5 % of the inquiries in this
category. Wireless inquiries decreased almost 15% from 3,992 in the 1st quarter of 2009 to 3,387
in the 2nd quarter of 2009.

2009 Second Quarter Complaints. During this quarter, complaints in the reported
categories decreased over 71%, from 245,241 in the 1st quarter of 2009 to 70,341 in the 2nd
quarter of 2009. Most of the decrease occurred in two of the reported categories -- the Radio and
Television Broadcasting category, where complaints decreased from 188,558 in the 1st quarter of
2009 to 17,047 in the 2nd quarter of 2009, and the Wireline Telecommunications category, where
complaints decreased from 36,427 in the 1st quarter to 34,491 in the 2nd quarter. Cable &
Satellite Services complaints decreased 42% from 4,113 in the 1st quarter of 2009 to 2,384 in the
2nd quarter of 2009. Wireless complaints increased over 1% from 16,142 in the 1st quarter of
2009 to 16,419 in the 2nd quarter of 2009. TCPA issues comprised more than 75% of the
complaints in this category. Wireline complaints decreased almost 6% in the 2nd quarter of 2009
to 34,491 from 36,427 in the 1st quarter of 2009. 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 nearly 87% of the wireline-related complaints in the reported sub-categories.






-1-

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.html.




i
The data reported reflects the complaints and inquiries recorded in CGB's automated tracking systems for
the period April 1, 2009 to June 30, 2009. 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 to the Commission and, therefore, are not necessarily indicative of corresponding state
or local trends.




























-2-

REPORT ON INFORMAL CONSUMER INQUIRIES AND COMPLAINTS

2nd Quarter Calendar Year 2009

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

Digial Television Issues:

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

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

Equipment Related Issues:

Complaints/inquiries dealing with equipment related items
such as antennas and set top boxes

License Information (General):

Inquiries regarding broadcast station license, transfer
of control, frequency assignment, sale and transfer and other general broadcast license
issues




-3-

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

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 a 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 a one-time charge that is held by the carrier for a
specified timeframe in order for subscriber to acquire service

-4-

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 wireless
communications equipment

License Information (General):

Inquiries regarding General Moile Radio Services
(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 wireless 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



-5-


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

-6-


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.







-7-


Summary of Top Consumer Inquiry * Subjects

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

Second Quarter - Calendar Year 2009

April

May

June

Quarter Totals

Cable & Satellite Services


Digital Television Issues
55

80
98
233
Service Related Issues
224
175
211
610
Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act Issues
191
176
244
611
Programming Issues
184
217
216
617
Billing & Rates Issues
791
657
722
2,170
Totals
1,445
1,305
1,491
4,241

April

May

June

Quarter Totals

Radio and Television Broadcasting

Carrier Marketing & Advertising
121
129
132
382
Digital Television Issues
311
328
886
1,525
License Information (General)
970
953
1,271
3,194
Broadcast Programming Issues
2,212
804
920
3,936
Equipment Related Issues
56,713
127,714
369,933
554,360
Totals
60,327
129,928
373,142
563,397

April

May

June

Quarter Totals

Wireless Telecommunications

Tower Related Issues
96
87
87
270
License Information (General)
136
110
117
363
Billing & Rates
233
222
213
668
Service Related Issues
315
301
288
904
Interference
546
222
414
1,182
Totals
1,326
942
1,119
3,387

April

May

June

Quarter Totals

Wireline Telecommunications

Slamming 215
219
198
632
Billing & Rates
622
589
464
1,675
Universal Service Issues
769
568
433
1,770
Cramming 595
621
567
1,783
Telephone Consumer Protection Act Issues
3,421
2,750
2,108
8,279
Totals
5,622
4,747
3,770
14,139

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 2009

April

May

June

Quarter Totals

Cable & Satellite Services

Digital Television Issues
69
103
131
303
Carrier Marketing & Advertising
113
101
108
322
Service Related Issues
115
118
134
367
Billing & Rates Issues
210
146
186
542
Programming Issues
364
232
254
850
Totals
871
700
813
2,384

April

May

June

Quarter Totals

Radio and Television Broadcasting

Carrier Marketing & Advertising
57
28
46
131
Other Programming Issues
310
231
267
808
Programming - General Criticism
198
116
529
843
Digital Television Issues
272
225
1,828
2,325
Programming - Indecency/Obscenity**
9,109
1,235
2,596
12,940
Totals
9,946
1,835
5,266
17,047

April

May

June

Quarter Totals

Wireless Telecommunications

Carrier Marketing & Advertising
98
109
116
323
Contract - Early Termination
147
109
151
407
Service Related Issues
170
177
178
525
Billing & Rates
947
909
901
2,757
Telephone Consumer Protection Act
5,469
3,852
3,086
12,407
Totals
6,831
5,156
4,432
16,419

April

May

June

Quarter Totals

Wireline Telecommunications

Service Quality
257
260
284
801
Billing & Rates
1,272
1,264
1,234
3,770
Telephone Consumer Protection Act-Unsolicited Fax
2,620
2,171
1,993
6,784
Telephone Consumer Protection Act - Do Not Call List
4,162
3,654
3,303
11,119
Telephone Consumer Protection Act -Other Issues
4,458
3,829
3,730
12,017
Totals
12,769
11,178
10,544
34,491

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.


Document Outline

  • Top Consumer Issues 2nd Qtr 2009 8-14-09.pdf
  • public report inquiries - 2nd qtr 2009 9-22-09 draft.pdf
  • public report complaints - 2nd qtr 2009 12-15-09 draft.pdf

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