Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document


Download Options

Released: June 10, 2010


Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th St., S.W.


Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 10-836

Released: May 12, 2010





CG Docket No. 05-231

ET Docket No. 99-254

Pursuant to this Public Notice, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission)
announces that the public may now search the FCC's website to find their video programming
distributor's (VPDs) contact information for closed captioning complaints. The closed captioning
Contact Information requirements, 47 C.F.R. 79.1(i), which became effective on February 19, 2010,
required VPDs to provide the Commission with the following two sets of contact information by March
22, 20101: (1) contact information for the receipt and handling of immediate closed captioning concerns
by consumers, and (2) contact information for written closed captioning complaints.2 Immediate closed
captioning concerns are those that a consumer may have while watching a program on television (e.g., the
captions suddenly disappear or become garbled). Contact information for these kinds of concerns must be
provided so that consumers can try to get the VPD to fix the problem on the spot, when possible. By
contrast, written closed captioning complaints report a violation of the captioning rules to the
Commission to enable the Commission to enforce compliance with these rules. This Public Notice
explains how to access both of these types of VPD contact information on the FCC's website. Additional
consumer information is located on the FCC's closed captioning webpage at
This Public Notice also describes the new process for filing and processing written closed
captioning complaints under Section 79.1 of the Commission's rules.3 The simplified complaint rules

1 See Closed Captioning of Video Programming; Closed Captioning Requirements for Digital Television Receivers,
CG Docket No. 05-231, ET Docket No. 99-254, Declaratory Ruling, Order, and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 23
FCC Rcd 16674 (rel. Nov. 7, 2008) (November 2008 Order). Notice of the effective date of the new rule was
published in the Federal Register on February 19, 2010, 75 FR 7370. This Public Notice is issued pursuant to the
November 2008 Order, wherein the Commission stated it would issue a Public Notice "advising consumers and
other interested parties how to obtain access to contact information." Id. 23 FCC Rcd at 16687, para. 34.
2 See November 2008 Order, 23 FCC Rcd at 16684-16687, paras. 27-34.
3 The rule changes were adopted by the Commission in November 2008, approved by OMB in July 2009, and made
effective February 19, 2010, by publication in the Federal Register. See November 2008 Order.

make it easier for consumers to bring their concerns about closed captions on television to the attention of
the Commission. Specifically, the new rules allow consumers to file their closed captioning complaints
either with the VPD (i.e., television broadcaster, cable system, satellite provider, or telephone company)
or with the Commission. The rules also shorten the time periods for consumers to file closed captioning
complaints with the Commission, and for VPDs to respond to those complaints.


In order to search for either type of VPD contact information (for immediate concerns or written
complaints), the Public can now go to the FCC's VPD Registry located at
search/search.action. This link to the VPD Registry is also available on the FCC's closed captioning
website at
As a caption viewer, you need to provide only two pieces of information to find your VPD: your
zip code and the type of VPD or video provider that you use. In the registry, the "type of provider" is
asking for how you receive your television programming. This could be "broadcast" for over-the-air
users (for example, using "rabbit ears" or a rooftop antenna), "cable," "satellite," "local telephone
company" or "other." If you do not know the type of VPD you use, select "All Types" and then click on
"Submit." A list of the VPDs that provide service in your zip code will appear and you can select from
that list. Once your VPD's name is shown, click on "view details" for that VPD's contact information.
As noted, a VPD is required to provide two kinds of contact information, and this information is
divided as follows in the "VPD Details" screen: "Immediate Contact Information" (telephone number,
fax number, and e-mail address for purposes of receiving and responding immediately to any closed
captioning concerns) and "Written Complaint Contact Information" (the name of a person who is
primarily responsible for captioning issues and who can ensure compliance with our rules, as well as the
person's title or office, telephone number, fax number, postal mailing address, and e-mail address).
If you do not see the VPD you were looking for, please confirm that you entered the correct zip
code. If the VPD you are looking for is still not appearing, please contact the FCC's Consumer Call
Center for assistance: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322); TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-
5322) or by e-mail to
In addition to being able to locate the VPD's contact information on the FCC's website, you can
also find VPD contact information in the following ways:

If you subscribe to a pay service (e.g., cable or satellite), the VPD's contact information
should be in your bill;

If you have over-the-air broadcast only TV, the contact information for the TV station
should be in the phone directory.

All VPDs with websites must post their contact information there.


If you suddenly experience closed captioning problems while watching a program on television
(e.g., the captions suddenly disappear or become garbled) we encourage you to contact your VPD

immediately because the VPD may be able to fix the problem on the spot. You may contact the VPD by
phone, email or fax in such situations. Unless you later place your concerns in writing (in the form of a
complaint discussed below), the FCC will not become involved in resolving the problem.


As noted, the FCC's closed captioning rules now allow you to file a complaint with either the
FCC or your VPD (i.e., your cable, satellite or other subscription TV service or the TV station, if you do
not pay for TV service). Your complaint must be in writing. If you file your complaint with the FCC, the
FCC will forward the complaint to your VPD.
Your written complaint must be filed within 60 days of the captioning problem. After receiving a
complaint, either directly from you or from the FCC, the VPD will have 30 days to respond to the
complaint. If you file your complaint with your VPD first, and it does not respond within 30 days, or if a
dispute remains, you can send your complaint to the FCC, but must do so within 30 days of the VPD's
response, or 30 days after the date when the VPD should have responded.
You have two ways of filing your complaint:
(1) You can file your written complaint with the FCC by using the on-line complaint form found
at: This form was recently revised to include more specific
questions to assist the Commission in resolving complaints.
(2) You can also file your complaint with the FCC's Consumer Center by writing up a description
of the program (see below) and either e-mailing it to; faxing it to 1-866-418-0232; or
sending it to:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

If you choose to send in a letter or e-mail rather than use Form 2000C, please make sure to

include the following information:

your name, mailing address, and other contact information, such as a videophone or TTY number
or e-mail address;

the television channel number, call sign [for example WXYZ], and network;

the name of the subscription service, if you pay to receive television;

the location of the TV station or subscription service if you have it;

the date and time when you experienced the captioning problem;

the name of the program or show with the captioning problem;

a detailed description of the captioning problem, including specifics about the frequency and type
of problem (e.g., garbling, captions cut off at certain times or on certain days, captions missing
only with HD programming);

any additional information that may assist in processing your complaint, such as a description of
your television receiver set up, including the make and model of your television or computer;
whether you are using a computer to receive television signals; the type of any recording devices
attached to the receiver; and the kinds of cables used to attach the components.

EXAMPLE: "On Monday February 6, 2010, I was watching Channel 52 (XYZ Channel), and the show
"The Bad Guys" at 9 p.m. had no closed captioning, and during the re-run on Wednesday February 15,
2010, at 9 p.m. on Channel 52 (XYZ Channel) the closed captioning only appeared in the last 15 minutes
of the program. I have an HD TV cable box that I rent from ABC cable company. The manufacturer
listed on the box is CDE company."
In addition to the information listed above, you may provide the FCC with any other information that may
help explain the problem you experienced, (e.g., written out examples of garbled closed captions) and you
may send videotapes to the FCC, if available.
For additional information on the FCC's closed captioning rules please see our Factsheet at
The closed captioning regulations are at The
complaint procedure is in the regulations at 47 CFR Part 79.1(g), which is attached to this Public Notice.
To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print,
electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to or call the Consumer & Governmental
Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice) or 202-418-0432 (TTY). This Public Notice can be downloaded
in Word and Portable Document Formats (PDF) at
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau Contact: Amelia Brown (202) 418-2799 (voice),
(202) 418-7804 (TTY),, or Traci Randolph (202) 418-0569 (voice), (202) 418-
0537 (TTY),

Section 79.1(g): Complaint procedures

(1) Complaints concerning an alleged violation of the closed captioning requirements of this
section shall be filed with the Commission or with the video programming distributor
responsible for delivery and exhibition of the video programming within sixty (60) days of
the problem with captioning. A complaint must be in writing, must state with specificity the
alleged Commission rule violated and must include some evidence of the alleged rule
(2) Complaints filed first with the Commission will be forwarded to the appropriate video
programming distributor. The video programming distributor must respond in writing to the
Commission and the complainant within 30 days of the receipt of the complaint from the
(3) Complaints sent to a video programming distributor regarding programming by a
television broadcast station or other programming for which the video programming
distributor is exempt from closed captioning responsibility pursuant to paragraph (e)(9) of
this section, shall be forwarded by the video programming distributor within seven (7) days
of receipt to the entity responsible for closed captioning of the programming at issue. The
video programming distributor must also notify the complainant and the Commission that it
has forwarded the complaint. Entities receiving forwarded complaints must respond in
writing to the complainant within 30 days of the forwarding date of the complaint.
(4) If a complaint is first filed with the video programming distributor, the video
programming distributor must respond in writing to the complainant within thirty (30) days
after receipt of a closed captioning complaint. If a video programming distributor fails to
respond to the complainant within thirty (30) days, or the response does not satisfy the
consumer, the complainant may file the complaint with the Commission within thirty (30)
days after the time allotted for the video programming distributor to respond. If a consumer
re-files the complaint with the Commission (after filing with the distributor), the Commission
will forward the complaint to the distributor, and the distributor shall respond to the
Commission and the complainant within thirty (30) days of receipt of the complaint from the
(5) In response to a complaint, a video programming distributor is obligated to provide the
Commission with sufficient records and documentation to demonstrate that it is in
compliance with the Commission's rules.
(6) Certifications from programming suppliers, including programming producers,
programming owners, networks, syndicators and other distributors, may be relied on to
demonstrate compliance. Distributors will not be held responsible for situations where a
program source falsely certifies that programming delivered to the distributor meets our
captioning requirements if the distributor is unaware that the certification is false. Video
programming providers may rely on the accuracy of certifications. Appropriate action may
be taken with respect to deliberate falsifications.
(7) The Commission will review the complaint, including all supporting evidence, and
determine whether a violation has occurred. The Commission shall, as needed, request
additional information from the video programming provider.
(8) If the Commission finds that a violation has occurred, penalties may be imposed,
including a requirement that the video programming distributor deliver video programming
containing closed captioning in an amount exceeding that specified in paragraph (b) of this
section in a future time period.

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.


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.