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Guideline on Interacting with FCC

This article will cover how to file complaints, and how to file comments on FCC’s proceedings.

 

Filing complaints with FCC

Sending complaints to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can seem to be a rather daunting task, but it need not be.  Thanks to FCC’s recent overhaul of their website, consumers can now easily send complaints to the FCC electronically by heading on over to their website, and filing a complaint.  We’re confident that once you’re at their website, you’ll see it is very easy!

Alternatively, you can call them at 1-888-225-5322.

 

FCC ASL Specialist Hotline

If you prefer, they even have an ASL specialist available to help!  The FCC has unveiled a new type of support service specifically designed for consumers who are deaf and hard of hearing to communicate in their primary language, American Sign Language.   The “ASL Consumer Support Line,” announced by Chairman Tom Wheeler in June 2014, allows deaf and hard of hearing consumers to engage in a direct, interactive video call with a consumer specialist at the FCC who can provide assistance in ASL for filing informal complaints or obtaining consumer information.

Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing can use the ASL Consumer Support Line by calling 844-4-FCC-ASL (844-432-2275) or 202-810-0444. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday.

The direct ASL video concept was first conceived by FCC staff members in the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau’s Disability Rights Office who have observed that direct access to communication, rather than through intermediaries such as interpreters or video relay service (VRS), provide greater autonomy to the consumers.   This direct video access will allow consumers who are deaf and hard of hearing to communicate in their native language, ASL, with ease and confidence that their messages are being delivered in an exact manner.

FCC has shared a video that expands on how their ASL Specialist hotline works:

 

After filing a complaint, what happens next?

Complaint Submission and Notification
If you’ve submitted a complaint about a telecommunications billing or service issue, your complaint is being processed by the FCC’s Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division.
Tracking Your Complaint
You will be given a tracking number and you can check on the status of your complaint online.
Gathering Information
You may be contacted by an FCC consumer representative for more information necessary to complete the complaint.
Reviewing your complaint
Not all complaints are actionable or constitute a rule violation.
Serving the Complaint
When all required information has been gathered, the FCC sends your complaint to the service provider.
Service Provider Response
The provider is required to respond in writing to the complaint within 30 days of receipt of the complaint.  The Provider must copy you on the response.

Finding Solutions
The FCC cannot resolve all individual complaints, but they can provide information about your possible next steps. Complaints about issues such as loud commercials, the Do Not Call List, robocalls, unwanted telephone calls, unsolicited faxes and similar issues covered by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act are shared among FCC bureaus and offices.

FCC does not resolve individual complaints on these issues. However, the collective data they receive helps them keep a pulse on what consumers are experiencing, may lead to investigations and serves as a deterrent to the companies they regulate.

 

Filing comments with FCC on their proceedings

Consumers can easily send comments on FCC proceedings to the FCC electronically in either one of two ways.

  • Using the online Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS)
  • Sending e-mail to ecfs@fcc.gov

The FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) serves as the repository for official records in the FCC’s docketed proceedings and rulemakings from the year 1992 onward. Consumers can research, retrieve, view, and print any document in the system, including earlier non-electronic FCC documents that have been scanned into the system.

Comments can be submitted interactively through the ECFS.  You can either send an attached file containing your comment (Adobe Acrobat PDF, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, WordPerfect, ASCII Text, or Lotus 123) or send a short message written online.  The complete ECFS Users Manual and instructions concerning how to submit comments to the FCC is available.

You will need docket numbers in order to successfully file comments. FCC provides a resource that will help you to find numbers for open docket items.

If you need further assistance, you can contact the Help Desk at ecfshelp@fcc.gov or (202) 418-0193.