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(a) In addition to those standards stated herein, a franchisee shall comply with all FCC regulations promulgated in the area of customer service, as those regulations may be amended from time-to-time, including those adopted by Report and Order, MM Docket No. 92-263, FCC 93-145 (Released April 7, 1993), which is incorporated herein by reference. In the case of conflict, the standards stated herein shall control.
(b) Unless otherwise provided in a franchise agreement, a franchisee shall maintain at least one business office in the city during normal business hours, which shall include, at a minimum, 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. through 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.
(c) A franchise shall provide all subscribers and the City Manager with at least 30 days advance written notice of any changes in rates, charges, programming, channel positions or initiations or discontinuations of service over the cable system.
(d) “Standard” installations are those that are located up to 150 feet from the existing distribution system.
(e) No charge shall be made to any subscriber for any service call unless the problem giving rise to the service request was:
(1) Caused by subscriber negligence;
(2) Caused by malicious destruction of cable equipment;
(3) Caused by a subscriber tampering with the cable equipment; or
(4) A problem established as being non-cable in origin.
(f) Complaints regarding service problems shall be resolved within five business days.
(g) Disconnection shall be governed by the following provisions:
(1) Voluntary disconnection.
A. A subscriber may terminate service at any time.
B. A franchisee shall promptly disconnect any subscriber who requests disconnection from the cable system. No period of notice prior to voluntary termination of service may be required of subscribers by any franchisee. As long as the subscriber returns equipment within three business days of the disconnection, no charge shall be imposed by any franchisee for such voluntary disconnection or for any cable services delivered after the date the disconnection is requested.
C. Upon disconnection of service, a subscriber may be asked to return the franchisee’s equipment to the franchisee’s business office. Upon the subscriber’s request, the franchisee shall pick up the equipment from the subscriber’s home. If the franchisee is required to pick up the equipment from the subscriber’s home, the franchisee may charge the subscriber for the service in accordance with charges consistent with the franchisee’s standard hourly service charge, provided, however, that no charge shall be made where the subscriber has limited mobility and is unable to return the franchisee’s equipment to its business office.
D. Any security deposit and/or other funds due the subscriber shall be refunded on disconnected accounts after the converter has been recovered by the franchisee. The refund process shall take a maximum of 45 days from the date that disconnection was requested to the date the customer receives the refund.
(2) Involuntary disconnection.
A. If a subscriber fails to pay a monthly subscriber or other fee or charge, the franchisee may disconnect the subscriber’s service outlet.
B. Such disconnection shall not be effected unless an account remains unpaid 45 days after the due date of the monthly subscriber fee or other charge, and unless the franchisee has given at least ten days advance written notice of intent to disconnect to the subscriber in question.
C. After disconnection, upon payment by the subscriber in full of all proper fees or charges, including the payment of the reconnection charge, if any, the franchisee shall promptly reinstate service.
(3) Removal of property.
A. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the franchisee from removing its property from a subscriber’s premises upon the termination of service.
B. At the subscriber’s request, a franchisee shall remove all of its facilities and equipment from the subscriber’s premises within 30 calendar days of the subscriber’s request.
C. Where removal is impractical, such as with buried cable or internal wiring, facilities and equipment may be disconnected and abandoned rather than removed.
(h) With regard to mobility-limited customers, upon subscriber request, the franchisee shall arrange for pick-up and/or replacement of converters or other company equipment at the subscriber’s address or else provide a satisfactory equivalent (such as the provision of a postage-prepaid mailer).
(i) A franchisee shall develop written procedures for the investigation and resolution of all subscriber or city resident complaints, including, but not limited to, those regarding the quality of service and equipment malfunction, which procedures shall be subject to the review of and comment by the City Manager. A subscriber or city resident who has not been satisfied by following the franchisee’s procedures may file a written complaint with the City Manager, who will investigate the matter and, in consultation with the franchisee as appropriate, attempt to resolve the matter. A franchisee’s good faith or lack thereof in attempting to resolve subscriber and resident complaints in a fair and equitable manner will be considered in connection with the franchisee’s renewal application, and a franchisee’s failure to act in good faith may result in appropriate enforcement action against the franchise.
(j) A franchisee shall provide each subscriber, at the time cable service is installed, and at least annually thereafter, written instructions for placing a service call, filing a complaint or requesting an adjustment. Each subscriber shall also be provided with a schedule of the subscriber’s rates and charges, a copy of the service contract, delinquent subscriber disconnect and reconnect procedures, a description of any other of the franchisee’s policies in connection with its subscribers, and prior notice of rate charges. Copies of these instructions shall be provided to the city.
(k) A franchisee may intentionally interrupt service on the cable system only for good cause and for the shortest time possible and, except in emergency situations, only after a minimum of 48 hours prior notice to the city of the anticipated service interruption, provided, however, that planned maintenance which should not require more than two hours interruption of service and which occurs between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. shall not require such 48 hour notice. The franchisee shall give the City Manager not less than 24 hours prior notice of any such planned service interruption.
(l) A franchisee shall maintain a complete record of all service complaints received, whether written, verbal or telephonic, and action taken. These records shall be made available for inspection by the city during normal business hours upon reasonable prior notice at the franchisee’s local business office.
(m) Except for planned service outages between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., or where subscribers are provided reasonable notification in advance, upon a subscriber’s request a franchisee shall provide a pro-rated 24 hour credit to the subscriber’s account for any period of four hours or more within a 24 hour period during which a subscriber experienced an outage of service or substantial impairment of service, whether due to a system malfunction or other cause.
(n) Billing shall be governed by the following provisions.
(1) The franchisee’s first billing statement after a new installation or service change shall be prorated as appropriate and shall reflect any security deposit.
(2) The franchisee’s billing statement must be clear, concise and understandable, must itemize each category of service and equipment provided to the subscriber, and state clearly the charge therefor.
(3) The franchisee’s billing statement must show a specific payment due date not earlier than 15 days after the date the statement is mailed. Any balance not received by the due date may be assessed a late fee consistent with customer protection and usury laws of the State of Ohio. The late fee will appear on the following month’s billing statement.
(4) Subscribers shall not be charged a late fee or otherwise penalized for any failure by the franchisee, its employees, or contractors, including failure to timely or correctly bill the subscriber, or failure to properly credit the subscriber for a payment duly made.
(5) In the event of a billing dispute, the franchisee shall waive a late fee during the period until a final resolution of the dispute is agreed upon between the franchisee and the city.
(o) No charge shall be made for any service or product which the subscriber has not affirmatively indicated it wishes to receive, separate and apart from payment of the regular monthly bill.
(Ord. 97-2, passed 1-9-1997)