Goto Section: 76.227 | 76.501 | Table of Contents

FCC 76.309
Revised as of December 7, 2018
Goto Year:2018 | 2020
  § 76.309   Customer service obligations.

   (a) A cable franchise authority may enforce the customer service
   standards set forth in paragraph (c) of this section against cable
   operators. The franchise authority must provide affected cable
   operators ninety (90) days written notice of its intent to enforce the
   standards.

   (b) Nothing in this rule should be construed to prevent or prohibit:

   (1) A franchising authority and a cable operator from agreeing to
   customer service requirements that exceed the standards set forth in
   paragraph (c) of this section;

   (2) A franchising authority from enforcing, through the end of the
   franchise term, pre-existing customer service requirements that exceed
   the standards set forth in paragraph (c) of this section and are
   contained in current franchise agreements;

   (3) Any State or any franchising authority from enacting or enforcing
   any consumer protection law, to the extent not specifically preempted
   herein; or

   (4) The establishment or enforcement of any State or municipal law or
   regulation concerning customer service that imposes customer service
   requirements that exceed, or address matters not addressed by the
   standards set forth in paragraph (c) of this section.

   (c) Cable operators are subject to the following customer service
   standards:

   (1) Cable system office hours and telephone availability—

   (i) The cable operator will maintain a local, toll-free or collect call
   telephone access line which will be available to its subscribers 24
   hours a day, seven days a week.

   (A) Trained company representatives will be available to respond to
   customer telephone inquiries during normal business hours.

   (B) After normal business hours, the access line may be answered by a
   service or an automated response system, including an answering
   machine. Inquiries received after normal business hours must be
   responded to by a trained company representative on the next business
   day.

   (ii) Under normal operating conditions, telephone answer time by a
   customer representative, including wait time, shall not exceed thirty
   (30) seconds when the connection is made. If the call needs to be
   transferred, transfer time shall not exceed thirty (30) seconds. These
   standards shall be met no less than ninety (90) percent of the time
   under normal operating conditions, measured on a quarterly basis.

   (iii) The operator will not be required to acquire equipment or perform
   surveys to measure compliance with the telephone answering standards
   above unless an historical record of complaints indicates a clear
   failure to comply.

   (iv) Under normal operating conditions, the customer will receive a
   busy signal less than three (3) percent of the time.

   (v) Customer service center and bill payment locations will be open at
   least during normal business hours and will be conveniently located.

   (2) Installations, outages and service calls. Under normal operating
   conditions, each of the following four standards will be met no less
   than ninety five (95) percent of the time measured on a quarterly
   basis:

   (i) Standard installations will be performed within seven (7) business
   days after an order has been placed. “Standard” installations are those
   that are located up to 125 feet from the existing distribution system.

   (ii) Excluding conditions beyond the control of the operator, the cable
   operator will begin working on “service interruptions” promptly and in
   no event later than 24 hours after the interruption becomes known. The
   cable operator must begin actions to correct other service problems the
   next business day after notification of the service problem.

   (iii) The “appointment window” alternatives for installations, service
   calls, and other installation activities will be either a specific time
   or, at maximum, a four-hour time block during normal business hours.
   (The operator may schedule service calls and other installation
   activities outside of normal business hours for the express convenience
   of the customer.)

   (iv) An operator may not cancel an appointment with a customer after
   the close of business on the business day prior to the scheduled
   appointment.

   (v) If a cable operator representative is running late for an
   appointment with a customer and will not be able to keep the
   appointment as scheduled, the customer will be contacted. The
   appointment will be rescheduled, as necessary, at a time which is
   convenient for the customer.

   (3) Communications between cable operators and cable subscribers—

   (i) Refunds—Refund checks will be issued promptly, but no later than
   either—

   (A) The customer's next billing cycle following resolution of the
   request or thirty (30) days, whichever is earlier, or

   (B) The return of the equipment supplied by the cable operator if
   service is terminated.

   (ii) Credits—Credits for service will be issued no later than the
   customer's next billing cycle following the determination that a credit
   is warranted.

   (4) Definitions—

   (i) Normal business hours—The term “normal business hours” means those
   hours during which most similar businesses in the community are open to
   serve customers. In all cases, “normal business hours” must include
   some evening hours at least one night per week and/or some weekend
   hours.

   (ii) Normal operating conditions—The term “normal operating conditions”
   means those service conditions which are within the control of the
   cable operator. Those conditions which are not within the control of
   the cable operator include, but are not limited to, natural disasters,
   civil disturbances, power outages, telephone network outages, and
   severe or unusual weather conditions. Those conditions which are
   ordinarily within the control of the cable operator include, but are
   not limited to, special promotions, pay-per-view events, rate
   increases, regular peak or seasonal demand periods, and maintenance or
   upgrade of the cable system.

   (iii) Service interruption—The term “service interruption” means the
   loss of picture or sound on one or more cable channels.

   Note to § 76.309: Section 76.1602 contains notification requirements for
   cable operators with regard to operator obligations to subscribers and
   general information to be provided to customers regarding service.
   Section 76.1603 contains subscriber notification requirements governing
   rate and service changes. Section 76.1619 contains notification
   requirements for cable operators with regard to subscriber bill
   information and operator response procedures pertaining to bill
   disputes.

   [ 58 FR 21109 , Apr. 19, 1993, as amended at  61 FR 18977 , Apr. 30, 1996;
    65 FR 53615 , Sept. 5, 2000;  67 FR 1650 , Jan. 14, 2002;  83 FR 7627 , Feb.
   22, 2018]

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Subpart I   [Reserved]


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Subpart J—Ownership of Cable Systems

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Goto Section: 76.227 | 76.501

Goto Year: 2018 | 2020
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