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#4 – Cable Service

Last week the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation held its annual Top 5 Press Conference at the Massachusetts State House, highlighting the top consumer issues from 2014. In previous blogs we described some common problems with our top three issues: insurance, banking and non-depository licensing, and telecommunications.

The fourth most common consumer issue from 2014 was cable service, with just over 2,000 inquiries and complaints. These calls and e-mails were mostly about billing, quality of service, rates and fees, and credit and collections.

The Department of Telecommunications and Cable is responsible for enforcing Massachusetts laws and regulations affecting residential customers of telecommunications and cable companies. The Cable Division, together with the Department’s Consumer Division, investigates and resolves individual consumer complaints, either by informal negotiation between the consumer and the cable operator or by formal adjudicatory proceedings. The Cable Division also tracks patterns of complaints in order to identify and resolve more widespread problems. It is their job to protect consumers from unjust practices and to monitor the quality of service provided.

It’s important to carefully review your monthly statements to make sure you are being charged correctly. If you have a dispute about a charge or fee on your cable bill, immediately contact the cable operator to file a billing complaint. Under state law, the cable operator must be contacted within 30 days from the due date shown on your bill. The cable operator is required to investigate and respond with a decision within 30 business days of receiving your complaint.

For answers to more popular questions on cable television billing, click here.

More information on DTC regulations, new and updates, publications and reports can be found online at the Division of Telecommunications and Cable website.  If you have further inquiries or complaints, contact the Division of Telecommunications and Cable’s hotline at (800) 392–6066 or (617) 305–3531.

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