The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released its report on inquiries and complaints made by consumers to the agency’s Consumer & Government Affairs Bureau during the quarter ending December 31, 2012.
The Bureau regularly tracks inquiries and complaints from consumers on matters within the scope of the Commission’s jurisdiction. In the area of wireline telecommunications matters, the Bureau is particularly interested in instances of “cramming” (the placing of unauthorized, misleading or deceptive charges on a telephone bill) and “slamming” (the practice of changing a subscriber’s telecommunications service provider or calling plan without the subscriber’s permission). The Commission also tracks violations of the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which includes regulations covering both the “Do Not Call” registry and unsolicited fax advertisements.
During the period from October through December 2012, the Bureau received a total of 38,428 complaints regarding wireline telecommunication services, with 36,230 complaints (94.3% of the total) in the area of TCPA issues alone, and over 2500 complaints in connection with unsolicited fax advertisements. This represents a significant increase from the 29,638 total complaints received during the October-December 2011 period, with 26,893 (90.7% of the total) involving TCPA issues.
In the area of inquiries, the Bureau also received 7460 inquiries in connection with wireline telecommunications, including 4388 inquiries dealing with TCPA issues, during the period from October through December 2012. This compares with 6072 total inquiries during the comparable period in 2011, of which 3552 were related to TCPA issues.