Your level of cable service
Cable services are often provided in tiers. A tier is a category of cable service or services provided by a cable operator for which a separate rate is charged by the cable operator. There are three types of cable service: basic service, cable programming service, and per-channel or per-program (sometimes called pay-per-view) service. The Cortland Cable Commission only has authority to regulate the basic service tier.
Under the federal guidelines, each cable system must maintain a local, toll-free or collect-call telephone line available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. During normal business hours, company representatives must be available to respond to customer inquiries. After normal business hours, (the hours during which most similar businesses in the community are open to serve customers), the cable system may use an answering service or machine so long as messages are answered the next business day.
Extended Call Wait Time
A call to a cable system must be answered -- including time the caller is put on hold -- within 30 seconds after the connection is made. If the call is transferred, the transfer time may not exceed 30 seconds. Also, cable system customers may receive a busy signal no more than three percent of the time.
Extended Service Interruption or Extended Wait for Installation or Service Call
Federal guidelines state that standard installations -- which are those located up to 125 feet from the existing distribution system -- must be performed within seven days after an order has been placed. Except in situations beyond its control, the cable operator must begin working on a service interruption no later than 24 hours after being notified of the problem. A service interruption has occurred if picture or sound on one or more channels has been lost. The cable operator must begin to correct other service problems the next business day after learning of them.
Unexpected Change in Rates or Service and Billing Practices
Thirty days advance written notice must be given to subscribers and local franchising authorities of any changes in rates, programming services or channel positions, if the change is within the control of the cable operator. Cable system bills must be clear, concise and understandable, with full itemization. Cable operators should respond to written complaints about billing matters within 30 days. Refunds must be issued no later than either the customer's next billing cycle or 30 days following resolution of the request, whichever is earlier, or upon the return of equipment when service is terminated. Credits must be issued no later than the billing cycle following the determination that a credit is warranted.