CABLE CUSTOMER BILL OF RIGHTS

Seattle Municipal Code, Chapter 21.60

 

SMC 21.60.830  Complaint procedure.

A. Complaints to the Cable Operator. The Cable Operator shall establish written procedures for receiving, acting upon, and resolving Customer Complaints, and crediting Customer accounts in accordance with company policies or Schedule A, "Credits to Customers," herein, whichever is greater, and shall publicize such procedures through printed documents at the Cable Operator's sole expense. For violations of the ordinance codified in Sections  21.60.800 through  21.60.830, credits shall be made to the Customer's account. In the event that the Customer no longer receives Cable Service or Other Services from the Cable Operator, the Cable Operator shall issue a check to the Customer within thirty (30) days of the resolution of the Complaint.

 

Said written procedures shall prescribe a simple process by which any Customer may submit a Complaint in person or by telephone, electronic mail or in writing to the Cable Operator regarding an alleged violation of any provision of these Customer Service Standards, any terms or conditions of the Customer's contract with the Cable Operator, or reasonable business practices.

 

The Cable Operator will make best efforts to resolve Customer concerns or Complaints at the first contact The City will make best efforts to redirect to the Cable Operator all Cable Customers who have contacted the City first with a Cable or Other Service inquiry, concern, or Complaint. Within fifteen (15) calendar days after receiving a Complaint, the Cable Operator shall notify the Customer of the results of its investigation and its proposed action or credit. If the Complaint is in writing, a written response shall be sent to the Customer within two (2) weeks of receipt.

 

The Cable Operator shall also notify the Customer of the Customer's right to file a Complaint with the City in the event the Customer is dissatisfied with the Cable Operator's decision, and shall explain the necessary procedures for filing such Complaint with the City.

 

The Cable Operator's Complaint procedures shall be filed with the City prior to implementation.

 

B. Security Fund. Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of these Standards1 or the effective date of any franchise granted by the City, whichever occurs first, the Cable Operator shall deposit with an escrow agent approved by the City a security deposit of fifty cents ($.50) per Customer. The escrowed funds shall constitute the security funds for ensuring compliance with these standards for the benefit of the City and Customers. The escrowed funds shall be reviewed and maintained annually by the Cable Operator at the level of fifty cents ($.50) per Customer per year, and will be replenished within fourteen (14) days in the event that amounts greater than ten (10) percent of the required fund are withdrawn.

 

The security fund shall serve as security for the payment of any penalties, fees, charges or credits as provided for herein and for the performance by the Cable Operator of all its obligations under these Customer Service Standards.

 

The rights reserved to the City with respect to the security fund are in addition to all other rights of the City, whether reserved by any applicable franchise agreement or authorized by law, and no action, proceeding or exercise of a right with respect to same shall in any way affect, or diminish, any other right the City may otherwise have.

 

C. Complaints to the City. Any Customer who is dissatisfied with any proposed disposition of a Complaint by a Cable Operator or who has not received a decision within the required fifteen (15) day period shall be entitled to have the Complaint reviewed by the City.

 

The Customer may initiate the review either by calling the City or by filing a written Complaint, by letter or in electronic form, together with the Cable Operator's written decision, if any, with the City.

 

The Customer shall make such filing and notification within twenty (20) days of receipt of the Cable Operator's decision or, if no

decision has been provided, within thirty (30) days after filing the original Complaint with the Cable Operator.

 

If the City decides that further evidence is warranted, the City may require the Cable Operator and the Customer to submit, within ten (10) days of notice thereof, a written statement of the facts and arguments in support of their respective positions.

 

The Cable Operator and the Customer shall produce any additional evidence, including any reports from the Cable Operator, which the City may deem necessary to an understanding and determination of the Complaint.

 

The City shall issue a determination within fifteen (15) days after examining the materials submitted, setting forth the basis for its

determination.

 

The City may extend these time limits for reasonable cause and may intercede and attempt to negotiate an informal resolution.

 

If the City determines that the Customer's Complaint is valid and that the Cable Operator did not provide the complaining Customer with the proper solution and/or credit, the City may reverse any decision of the Cable Operator in the matter and/or require the Cable Operator to grant a specific solution as determined by the City in its sole discretion, and/or any credit provided for in these standards; or the City may provide the Customer with the amount of the credit (as set forth in Schedule A) by means of a withdrawal from the security fund.

 

D. Verification of Compliance. The Cable Operator shall maintain, in a manner consistent with the privacy rights of Customers, an accurate an comprehensive file of (1) any and all Complaints regarding the Cable System or the Cable Operator's operation of the Cable System, by number and type and their disposition; (2) service request, identifying the number and nature of the requests and their disposition; (3) service interruptions and their disposition; (4) required Cable Operator contacts with Customers after installation, and (5) Customer privacy information as per SMC Section  21.60.820 F6.

 

Reports detailing compliance with the standards herein shall be provided by the Cable Company on a quarterly basis, within thirty (30) days of the end of the quarter and shall be in a format consistent with the output capabilities of a Cable Operator's call tracking technology sufficient for the City to monitor the Cable Customer Bill of Rights. If the Cable Operator fails to provide such reports on a timely basis, or if they are incomplete, monetary sanctions of up to five hundred dollars ($500.00) for the first quarter, up to one thousand dollars ($1000.00) for the second consecutive quarter of noncompliance, up to one thousand five hundred dollars ($1500.00) for the third consecutive quarter of noncompliance and up to two thousand ($2,000.00) for all subsequent consecutive non-complaint quarters may be imposed to encourage compliance. The Cable Operator shall permit the City to review and audit the information at any time during Normal Business Hours upon reasonable notice.

 

E. Overall Quality of Service. The City may evaluate the overall quality of Customer service provided by the Cable Operator to Customers, in conjunction with any performance review provided for in the franchise agreement; or at any other time, at its sole discretion, based on the number of Customer Complaints received directly by the City or reported by the Cable Operator in its quarterly reports.

 

F. Procedure for Remedying Violations. If the City has reason to believe that the Cable Operator has failed to comply with any of these Standards, or has failed to perform in a timely manner, the City may require in writing that the Cable Operator remedy the alleged noncompliance and provide an opportunity to cure. If the alleged noncompliance is denied or not cured to the satisfaction of the City, the City may impose monetary sanctions or follow other procedures set forth in individual franchise agreements.

 

G. Notice. At the City's request, the Cable Operator shall include on its billing statement, in a clear and conspicuous manner, information on how to contact the City's Office of Cable Communications. At the City's discretion, such information may include, but shall not be limited to, the address, telephone number and e-mail address of the Office of Cable Communications.

 

At least annually, the Cable Operator shall notify its Customers through a bill insert of the existence, location and function of the City's Office of Cable Communications, and shall provide a summary of Cable Customer Bill of Rights codified in this subchapter and the remedies and procedures available to its Customers. Cable modem Internet Customers may receive such notification via e-mail if the Customer does not receive a written bill.

 

(Ord. 120775 Section 1(part), 2002: Ord. 119402 Section 1(part), 1999.)