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CABLE TV VIEWERS -- KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!

 WASHINGTON, July 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs (USOCA) wants cable television viewers to know their rights under new federal rules that make sure cable television companies are responsive to their customers. Since local governments are responsible for establishing and enforcing the rights of cable customers, everyone should know these new rights
and how and where to complain about customer service problems. These customer service guidelines became effective July 1, 1993.
 Customer Service Rights
 -- Local governments may require cable companies to:
 -- set up local, or otherwise free, 24-hour telephone service to
 take customer calls;
 -- answer telephone calls promptly, generally within 30 seconds
 under normal conditions;
 -- make standard cable service hook-ups within 7 days of a
 customer's request;
 -- have convenient customer service and bill payment locations
 open during normal work hours;
 -- make appointments for cable service or hook-ups either at a
 specific time of day, or within a specific time frame of not
 over 4 hours; not cancel appointments after the close of
 business on the day before the appointment;
 -- let a customer know if an appointment will be delayed, and if
 the customer wants, arrange another appointment at the
 customer's convenience;
 -- begin work to restore loss of either picture or sound within
 24 hours after a customer lets the company know of a service
 problem;
 -- give 30-day's notice of any cost, programming or channel
 changes if such changes are within the cable company's
 control;
 -- send customers clear and understandable bills, including an
 individual listing of charges during the billing period.
 How To Complain
 -- If the above rules are not followed, cable customers should:
 First,
 -- contact the local cable company, since many problems can be
 settled directly between the customer and the company;
 Second,
 -- contact the "local franchise authority." Local governments,
 through state, city, county or village franchise authorities, are
 charged with regulating the local cable company and will have
 options on enforcing these new requirements. (Note: Cable
 companies are required to provide the name and telephone number
 of the local franchise authority to everyone receiving cable
 service. Customers also can obtain this information by calling
 either their city, county or municipal government.)
 Third,
 -- provide the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with copies
 of written complaints to the cable company and the local
 franchise authority if they fail to resolve a problem. Send to:
 FCC, Complaints and Investigations Branch, Mass Media Bureau,
 2025 M St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20554. Even though the FCC
 does not enforce these or other local customer service standards
 and cannot respond to individual complaints, it will be watching
 the cable industry's performance and the effectiveness of these
 standards.
 -0- 7/19/93
 /CONTACT: Betsy Wharton of the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs, 202-634-4334/


CO: U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs ST: District of Columbia IN: TLS SU: EXE

KD-DS -- DCFNS2 -- 2838 07/19/93 07:36 EDT
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 19, 1993
Words:476
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