The FCC Will Only Listen to Your Complaints If You Pay $225

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    Ever since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to remove the guidelines that set net neutrality in place, they have been under the public eye. FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, has been subject to harsh comments for the decisions he made. His latest move, apparently, shows that he has had enough listening to complaints.

    The recent action was first discovered by a couple of Democratic senators, Mike Doyle and Frank Pallone, after they sent a letter to the chairman. The letter contained their concerns on the changes to how the FCC will be treating informal complaints.

    Apparently, the FCC now classifies complaints in two ways: informal and formal. Informal complaints can be filed by consumers easily and do not require any paperwork. Formal complaints, on the other hand, require the filing of necessary forms and the payment of a $ 225 fee.

    Yes, you have to pay to get their attention now.

    But if you think that’s all it takes to get a formal complaint taken seriously, that is just the beginning. There is still a long and complicated process involved in getting this complaint the attention it deserves.

    The FCC earlier made changes to its rules with the way they handle informal complaints. Right now, they are handling these complaints by themselves. But once the new changes will be put in place, the commission will be allowed to pass the complaints to the companies people are dealing with. It totally beats the purpose of having the FCC in place.

    The changes are documented in a paragraph under the 38-page document entitled, “Streaming the Rules Governing Formal Complaint Proceedings.”

    “§ 1.717 Procedure. 
    The Commission will forward informal complaints to the appropriate carrier for investigation and may set a due date for the carrier to provide a written response to the informal complaint to the Commission, with a copy to the complainant. The response will advise the Commission of the carrier’s satisfaction of the complaint or of its refusal or inability to do so. Where there are clear indications from the carrier’s response or from other communications with the parties that the complaint has been satisfied, the Commission may, in its discretion, consider a complaint proceeding to be closed. In all other cases, the Commission will notify the complainant that if the complainant is not satisfied by the carrier’s response, or if the carrier has failed to submit a response by the due date, the complainant may file a formal complaint in accordance with § 1.721 of this part.” 

    What this document says is that if you have an unresolved issue with a carrier, you can send an informal complaint to the FCC. The commission will then forward the complaint to the carrier in question. If the carrier decides to neglect your concern, you have the option of escalate the complaint into a formal one. But you have to pay the fee.

    The chances of that happening, however, are very slim. And if the change takes effect, there’s a big chance that complaints like these will go unnoticed.

    The FCC representatives, however, decline any speculation that they will be handling informal complaints differently. According to them, the purpose of the change is to reduce costs and improve the process. The representatives also iterated that the senators misunderstood the change and that they have unjustified concerns.

    The vote for the change will be held on Thursday at the Open Meeting hosted by the commission.

    Source: The Verge

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