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E&C Dems Urge Pai to Not Rollback Consumer Protections

Jul 10, 2018
Press Release
FCC Poised to Eliminate Consumer Protections Later This Week

Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Mike Doyle (D-PA) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai today expressing their deep concern ahead of an anticipated vote at the FCC later this week eliminating the agency’s traditional role of helping consumers resolve informal complaints.

Historically, FCC staff has reviewed companies’ responses to informal consumer complaints and urged companies to address consumers’ service problems.  The FCC is poised to abandon this practice on Thursday by adopting a rule that would direct FCC staff to only pass consumers’ informal complaints on to the company and then advise consumers that they file a formal complaint for a $225 fee if they are not satisfied with the company’s response.

“At a time when consumers are highly dissatisfied with their communications companies, this abrupt change in policy troubles us,” Pallone and Doyle wrote. “As the chief communications regulator, the FCC plays a critical role in ensuring consumers—including families, small businesses, and struggling Americans—get fair and honest treatment from their service providers.”

The Democrats continued, “We worry that the proposed change signals that the FCC no longer intends to play this role, and will instead simply tell consumers with limited means and time that they need to start an expensive and complicated formal legal process.  Such an outcome is neither compelled by statute nor a wise public policy decision.  Therefore, we urge you to reconsider this rule revision before the vote on July 12, consistent with applicable law and regulation.”

The letter is available HERE.