Proposed FCC changes try to discourage people from complaining

Posted: , by Georgi Zarkov Georgi Zarkov

Proposed FCC changes try to discourage people from complaining
The FCC and its chairman, Ajit Pai, have been in the public eye for a while now, most notably for the removal of the net neutrality guidelines. Their next questionable move is apparently to stop listening to their complaints at all. Don't worry though, you will still be able to get their attention for the low price of $225!

The move came to light after two Democratic senators – Frank Pallone and Mike Doyle wrote a letter to chairman Pai, stating their concern about changes in the way informal complaints to the FCC will be treated.

The FCC allows for two types of complaints to be submitted – informal and formal. The informal complaints are easy to file by consumers and require no paperwork. For a formal complaint, the necessary forms must be filed along with a $225 fee, starting a long and complicated process. Currently, most of the informal complaints are handled by the FCC itself, but a proposed change in the rules will allow the commission to pass those complaints to the companies that people have trouble with. You can probably already see where the issue lies.

Here is the paragraph regarding the change, it's part of a 38-page document called "Streamlining 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."

To sum it up: If you have a problem with a carrier and it's not resolved, you can file an informal complaint to the FCC. It will then send the complaint to that same carrier that didn't help you. If the carrier continues to not help you, you're left with the option to file a formal complaint, paying a fee in the process.

According to FCC representatives, informal complaints will not be handled differently, and the purpose of the changes is to improve the process and reduce costs. They also state that the senators misunderstood the text and their concerns are unjustified. The text clearly says that the commission will forward complaints, instead of "may" or similar wording, which would leave the decision to the discretion of the FCC. What will actually happen, we will only know if the new text goes into effect.

If this change is passed, it will make it even harder for consumers to defend themselves against policies that are not in their best interest.

via: The Verge

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