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steven36

FCC passes controversial rule changing how it handles consumer complaints

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steven36
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The Federal Communications Commission passed a proposal to overhaul the agency's procedures for processing consumer complaints Thursday in a contentious party-line vote.

 

https://s7d1.turboimg.net/sp/8835afa077bd87741c5967352cbb262f/fcc_121417gn3_lead.jpg

 

Commissioners clashed over the plan with the Republican majority insisting that the new rules are only clarifying longstanding procedures for filing and responding to complaints.

 

But Democrats at the agency and on Capitol Hill say the change will make the FCC less responsive to informal complaints, and force consumers to go through a formal proceeding to file grievances that costs $225.

 

“This is bonkers,” Jessica Rosenworcel, the sole Democrat on the commission, said at the FCC’s open meeting Thursday. “No one should be asked to pay $225 for this agency to do its job.”

The new rules largely focus on formal complaints, making changes intended to streamline the agency’s process for adjudicating them. But the new order also eliminates text from existing rules regarding the “Commission’s disposition” in handling informal complaints.

 

Republican FCC Chair Ajit Pai and Rosemary Harold, the head of the agency’s enforcement bureau, insisted that there are no substantive changes to how the agency handles the informal complaint process.

 

In a back-and-forth during Thursday’s meeting, Harold called reports to the contrary “false.”

 

Thursday’s vote capped off what turned into a heated political battle.

 

Earlier this week, Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), two of the top Democrats on the committee overseeing the agency, wrote to Pai saying they were concerned that the changes would reduce the FCC’s role in protecting the public interest.

 

An FCC spokesperson dismissed their concerns, saying they were based on a “fundamental misunderstanding” of the proposal.

 

--This report was updated at 1:25 p.m.

 

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Edited by steven36

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It Just Got Easier for the FCC to Ignore Your Complaints

 

It may soon be harder to get the Federal Communications Commission to listen to your complaints about billing, privacy, or other issues with telecommunications carriers like AT&T and Verizon.

 

Today, the agency approved changes to its complaint system that critics say will undermine the agency's ability to review and act on the complaints it receives.

On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that the controversial changes had been dropped from the proposal, but the commission voted 3–1 along party lines to approve it with the changes intact.

"I believe we should be doing everything within our power to make it easier for consumers to file complaints and seek redress," Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC's lone Democratic commissioner, said during today’s meeting. "This decision utterly fails that test."

The FCC has two complaint systems. Formal complaints cost $225 to file and work a bit like a court proceeding. The informal complaint system is free. According to the FCC website, the agency doesn't work to resolve individual informal complaints, but reviews them for trends or patterns that can lead to investigations or actions against carriers.

The changes approved today mostly deal with formal complaints about utility poles. But they include small changes to the informal complaint system that critics say will have an outsized impact on how the agency handles complaints.

At issue is the removal of the words "review and disposition" from the informal complaint rules. The term "disposition" means "resolution."

In a letter on Tuesday, two Democrats in the House of Representatives argued that under the revised rule, FCC staffers would forward consumer complaints to the targeted company, and advise to file a formal complaint, for $225, if they’re not satisfied with the company’s response.

An FCC spokesman told WIRED Wednesday the change to the informal complaint process was only intended to clarify that the agency doesn't act on individual complaints.

But critics worry that by removing the reference to review and disposition, FCC staff will no longer have the authority to review and act on informal complaints.

"Now the FCC can ignore informal complaints completely if it wants to," says Gigi Sohn, a former FCC lawyer who is now a fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law and Policy. "This FCC’s contempt for the public it is legally mandated to serve is remarkable."

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Lol nothing has changed really because they always have  ignored non formal complaints , look at what happen when all them people complained not  to repeal net neutrally . The FCC going do what the FCC is going to do depended on witch party is up in congress and the white house . Now they just made it legal to do what they always done was ignore non formal complaints . I bet you cant show me any proofs of anyone doing a  non formal complaint of it ever doing any good, but theirs lots of proof on the internet that  doing a  non formal complaint was all they got was ignored .

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