Prepare Now for New Customer Disclosures, Notices, Customer Rights, and Billing
Video providers should be working now with their billing vendors and preparing their customer service reps to meet the December 20, 2020, compliance date for truth-in-billing requirements of the Television Viewer Protection Act. As detailed in our e-Lert earlier this year, this will impact the information cable operators provide to new customers at the point of sale, after the sale, and to all video customers who receive electronic bills. The rules also prohibit video and fixed broadband providers from charging for equipment they have not supplied to the customer.
Customer service representatives must be prepared to provide at the point of sale a breakdown of all monthly charges:
- Any promotional discount and when that discount will expire;
- Related administrative fees, equipment fees, or other charges;
- A good faith estimate of any taxes, fees, or charges imposed by the federal government or a state or local government, whether imposed on the provider or imposed on the consumer but collected by the provider (such as franchise fees); and
- A good faith estimate of any fees or charges that recover any other assessment imposed on the provider by the federal government (such as recovery of FCC cable regulatory fees) or a state or local government.
Be prepared to provide a copy of this information to the new customer within 24 hours of entering into a contract for service, and to allow the customer the right to cancel within 24 hours of receipt of the information without any early termination or other disconnection fees.
Coordinate with your billing vendor to provide the required information on e-bills:
- Breakdown of the total amount charged for video services and all related taxes, administrative fees, equipment fees, or other charges;
- Termination date of the contract; and
- Termination date of any applicable promotional discount.
Ensure you are not charging for video or broadband equipment that you have not provided to the customer, or that the customer has returned.
If you have any questions about these new truth-in-billing requirements, please contact Terri Parrilla or Marty Kluh in JSI’s Maryland office at 301-459-7590.