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FCC Hotline: How to File a Complaint to Federal Communications Commission, USA?

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Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent United States government agency. FCC regulates interstate and international communications by wire, satellite, television, radio, and cable including internet & telecommunications in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. The commission is responsible to implement, regulate, and enforce communications laws and regulations of America.

Have any complaints regarding telecom billing and services? If yes, you can file a complaint to the consumer help center of the Federal Communications Commission of the U.S. Government. The issues include telephone, telecom networks, broadcast, cable, satellite, broadband, internet, and accessibility of connectivity.

You may also report frauds, scams, and any unusual alert to the agency. Consumers can file an informal complaint about Access for People with Disabilities and Emergency Communications. This will help you to reduce the legal procedures and formalities.

The problems with the telecom services like internet, broadband, payment, higher charges, and connectivity (low network, weak net speed, etc.) should be first raised to respective companies or telecom service providers. If not resolved within 30 days, escalate this matter to the Consumer Inquiries and Complaint Center of FCC with appropriate details.

The Issues Can Be Resolved:

  • The matters related to availability, billing, privacy, or telecom services including TV, Broadband, and the Internet (mobile & smart devices).
  • The issues such as loud commercials, unsolicited faxes, Do Not Call List, robocalls, unwanted telephone calls, and other similar cases under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
  • Any issues pertaining to broadcasting, Television telecast, Radio, and other telecommunication & satellite communication services of the companies or entities of the United States (USA).

Note If your complaints are not resolved within 30 days or dissatisfied with the final resolution of the commission, you may file a formal complaint to the FFC bureau.


How to File an Online Complaint to Federal Communications Commission, USA?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the regulatory authority of certain communication services in the United States (as mentioned earlier). If any consumer has a complaint about such telecom and broadcast services, FCC gives an opportunity to file an informal complaint about these problems. As per the service charter of the commission, consumers can report without paying any fee or charges (Free of cost).

Informal Complaint Registration Fee & Resolution Time:

Registration Fee No Charges ($0/-)
Resolution Time 30 Days (Read consumer guides to file an informal complaint to the commission)
Escalation Period Within 6 months (to submit a formal complaint)

Note But, you should remember that the complaint should be only filed after reporting the issue to your respective service provider or telecom operator. If the complaint is not resolved within 30 days by the concerned provider then you should submit the issue to the Commission (FCC).

The major categories of communication services for which you have options to raise a concern are:

  • Phone, Internet, Broadband (optical fiber), and wireless/wired communications of the telecommunication services in all the states in the United States.
  • Television (TV), Broadcasting, Radio, Satellite, and other direct fiber/wireless day-to-day communication services.
  • ACP, Privacy, and collection of personal data or sensitive information by any service provider. Report spam, fraudulent activities, or unsatisfactory resolutions by the operators.

The issues of this category of services may include availability, connectivity, network problem, cramming, slamming, equipment defect, billing (including payments, charges, and fees), and other communication problems.

Some telecom companies against which you may informally complain are AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile US, Comcast, Charter Communications, Lumen Technologies, Altice USA, Cox Communications, and other officially registered carriers/service providers.

Levels to File a Complaint

Follow the levels to complain about the communications services to the Consumer Inquiries and Complaint Center of the Federal Communications Commission. But, you should know the hierarchy for the redressal of the issue.

The three levels to raise a complaint:

  1. Telecom service provider (operator)
  2. Consumer Complaint Center, FCC
  3. Take a legal action

A Detailed Information about These Levels

Level 1: First, you should file a complaint to your telecommunications carrier/ service provider through the available customer care number, e-mail, or online support (mobile app, live chat, etc.). The operators will resolve the disputes within 30 days.

If this not happened within the timeframe, you may approach the appointed nodal authorities of the company and also file an informal complaint to the FCC.

Level 2: Not satisfied with the resolution of the carriers? Has the issue not been resolved within 30 days? You should file an informal complaint to the Consumer Inquiries and Complaint Center of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with relevant information & supporting evidence.

The normal resolution period of the FCC is 30 days. If not satisfied with the response, reply with the reason for dissatisfaction or desired relief from the commission. Yet not satisfied? You may file a formal complaint by taking legal action.

You may submit your complaint through the helpline number or online complaint form of the specific categories. Also, contact the regional bureau or office of the state departments to submit the case. Don’t forget to save the acknowledgment receipt/number of the submitted grievance for future usage.

Level 3: If not satisfied with the final resolution of the FCC (informal complaint), you may file a formal complaint. If the matter is related to a violation of the Communications Act, you may approach the Federal District Court or contact the commission. The fees

Note Your formal complaint must be filed within 6 months of receiving the response to the submitted informal complaint. The fee for a formal complaint will be applicable as decided by the commission or court.

Have you been financially damaged by your telecom carrier? Want to take legal action against the carrier? In these conditions, you may file a formal legal action at the Federal Communications Commission (Enforcement Bureau) or Federal District Court (required legal counsel).

Tips – Before filing a lawsuit, take advice from legal counsel. This will be helpful for further actions.

Note – Some consumer issues which are outside the jurisdiction of the FCC (may be handled by the commission) but legally comes under other federal agencies are:

The list of issues that comes under the jurisdiction of public utility commissions of the respective states (State PUC):

  • Burial of local cable or telephone wires and Installation of non-bundled service
  • Issues with No dial tone to local phone service
  • Stand-alone satellite TV billing or cable TV service, rates, and programming (not including basic tier)
  • Public utilities other than telecommunications

Click the link National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions to find your state PUC. You may also call +12028982200 for an inquiry.

Now, you should know the contact details including the consumer helpline number, official address, and ways to file an online complaint to the commission. Use the details to lodge a grievance as illustrated below.


File an Informal Complaint

Consumer Inquiries and Complaint Center, Federal Communications Commission is the center to file an informal complaint or tell your story about consumer issues related to telecommunications services including service providers/carriers. You may contact the commission through the helpline number (customer care) or online portal (to lodge an online grievance).

Consumer Complaint Center of the FCC for informal complaint (source - fcc.gov)
Consumer Complaint Center of the FCC for informal complaints (source – fcc.gov)

Ways to Submit a Complaint to the Commission:

  • Hotline/ Helpline Number
  • American Sign Language Hotline (ASL Video)
  • Online Complaint Form
  • Written Complaint Letter

If you have complaints about Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) billing, charges, or service issues, the submitted case will be served to the respective service provider. The provider will respond within 30 days. If it exceeds, escalate the issue to the consumer complaint center, FCC.


FCC Hotline (Helpline Number)

Dial the toll-free helpline number/hotline or ASL video call number/web portal (for disabled persons) to file an informal complaint to the consumer complaint center of the FCC. You may also fax your issue via toll-free fax as mentioned below.

Provide the Following Information:

  • The subject of the issue
  • A brief description with the details of the service provider
  • Other relevant information (Don’t share any sensitive or personal details)

Hotlines of the Consumer Complaint Center of the Federal Communications Commission:

FCC Hotline (Helpline Number) 888-CALL-FCC (+18882255322)
ASL Video Call Number 844-4-FCC-ASL (+18444322275)
+12028100444
ASl Video Call Web Portal Click Here
Toll-free Fax +18664180232
TTY 1-888-TELL-FCC (+18888355322)
ACP Helpline No. +18773842575

*Business Hours: 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, ET

Note – After the successful registration of your complaints, don’t forget to ask for the acknowledgment number or reference number. This will help you to track the status and further actions. If not satisfied with customer support, you should lodge an online complaint.

FCC Contact Numbers for other purposes:

24×7 Operations Center, FCC (Emergency Number) +12024181122
Hotline for elections & political candidate matters +12024181440
Media Inquiries Phone No. +12024180500
FCC Official’s Contact Number View/Contact

You can also submit an informal complaint form by fax or postal mail to the commission at the official address. After successful submission, obtain the consumer information through the given toll-free helpline numbers of the center.


FCC Informal Complaint Form

Do you want to file a written complaint? You can do it by filling out the informal complaint form. The format of the form is provided by the FCC to consumers. Fill out the following details after downloading the informal complaint form of the commission:

  • Click to download the Form: Informal Complaint form.pdf (80 KB)
  • Fill out the following information:
    • Contact information (must mention the company name, if applicable)
    • Complaint information (select the category by placing “X”)
    • Name of the company that you are complaining about
    • Describe the issue
  • Attach supporting documents or proof (if you think so)
  • Read carefully the “Privacy Act Statement”

You may submit this complaint form by toll-free fax to +18664180232 or postal mail to:

Address:
Federal Communications Commission,
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division, 45 L Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20554.
Phone No: +18882255322
Fax No: +18664180232

To know the status of the posted complaint form, contact the consumer complaint center (CCC) by toll-free number mentioned above in the helpline table. The acknowledgment receipt will be e-mailed or texted immediately after receiving the form.

Note – If you want to get faster and instant resolution, you should file an online complaint through the given online complaint form. This will also help to reduce the paperwork. For this, you may also call the help center through the hotlines.


Lodge an Online Complaint

Prior to filing an informal complaint, you should lodge a complaint with your provider. If the telecom issue is not resolved within 30 days or fails to provide a satisfactory solution, lodge an online complaint to the Consumer Complaints Center (CCC), Federal Communications Commission.

The telecom issues include these categories:

  • Phone, internet, TV, and radio
  • Access for people with disabilities, emergency communications, Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), and privacy concerns
  • Other consumer issues that come under the jurisdiction of the commission (mentioned in the above section)

The matters of telecom billing or service issues will be first served to the respective company/service provider. After this, if you are not satisfied with the final response of your provider, reply with the reason for dissatisfaction by filling out the online complaint form.

Format of informal complaint form to lodge an online complaint to the Commission (FCC) (source - fcc.gov)
Format of informal complaint form to lodge an online complaint to the Commission (FCC) (source – fcc.gov)

Provide this mandatory information in the online form:

  • Your e-mail address
  • The subject of the issue
  • A short description of the complaint with the company name & communication details
  • The type of issue
  • Attachment (upload relevant document, image, or files)

Note down the reference/acknowledgment receipt details after the successful submission of the online form. These details will be notified by your e-mail id.

Proceed to Open and Fill out the Online Informal Complaint Form of the FCC:

The subject of the Issue File an Online Complaint
Phone service complaint Open Form
Internet-related issues Open Form
Television/ broadcasting Lodge a Complaint
Radio issues Click here
Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Open Form
Disability-related accessibility problems dro@fcc.gov

Note – Click the link to directly file an online complaint to the Consumer Inquiries and Complaint Center of the commission. All the available online forms will be reflected on this portal of the consumer help center. Select the category judicially to submit the issues.

You should remember that the submitted complaint will be resolved within 30 days. If the resolution period exceeds, reply with the details of the acknowledgment receipt by filling out the same informal complaint form.

Tips – Not satisfied with the final response? This can happen, so you should know the next available option. You may file a formal complaint within 6 months of receiving the final response from the FCC.


File a Formal Complaint with FCC

The formal complaints can be submitted to the Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission or the Federal District Court with the specified fee. Before filing a lawsuit, you should take advice from your legal counsel to know the legalities and your rights to take legal action against your telecommunication carrier.

As mentioned earlier, the formal complaint must be filed within 6 months of receiving a final response from the commission.

Formal Complaint Fee As prescribed by the Commission
Submission Period Within 6 months (after the response to the informal complaint from the FCC)
Resolution Period As specified by Fed. Dist. Court or the Commission

If you want to bring a lawsuit based on the violation of the Communications Act or for financial damage by the telecommunications company/carrier, the Federal District Court is the judicial body where you can file the case with the help of your legal counsel. Also, you may file legal action at the FCC.

Note – You can’t file a lawsuit in the Federal District Court about the complaints pertaining to accessibility requirements for Americans with disabilities under Section 255 of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 255.

Click: Take a Legal Action

Before taking legal action, follow this:

  • Federal District Court: For the recovery of damages (financial damage by telecom carriers), you may bring a lawsuit in a United States District Court under section 207 of the Communications Act. 47 U.S.C. § 207. Again, we suggest you contact legal counsel to file a legal action in a federal district court.
  • Federal Communications Commissions: You may also file a legal action or lawsuit at the FCC under Section 208 of the Communications Act. 47 U.S.C. § 208. In addition, You have to submit a prescribed filing fee to the commission with this type of complaint. Mostly this type of legal action is filed when:
    • The person or entity filing the complaint
    • Seeks a written commission ruling which directs a carrier to pay damages resulting from an unlawful act.

To contact the Enforcement Bureau (EB) of the Commission (FFC) you may dial 202-418-7450 or visit the Enforcement Bureau a unit of the Commission responsible for enforcing the provisions of the Communications Act, as amended, the Commission’s rules, orders, and various licensing terms and conditions.

Tips – As per the guidelines of the FCC, one must take legal advice from a legal counsel to represent the case in the commission. Due to the similarity to a court proceeding, evidence and legal arguments are necessary.


Proceedings & Actions

Some Important Links for Proceedings & Actions and Forms:

Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) Click Here
Submit a Standard Filing Click to Submit
Licensing and Filing Forms of FCC View/Download
Proceedings & Actions Click Here

You may visit to file a comment in a proceeding, search EDOCS, and view the most active proceedings in the commission for a new law or change in existing rules.


Support for Online Filing

Have any questions about online filing? The contact details are published below to get support for the questions about each system of respective offices & bureaus. The support hours are Monday to Friday Eastern Time (ET) unless will be notified by the Office/Bureau (except for Federal Holidays).

The FCC System Support: Phone, E-mail, & Links
Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) Phone: +18774803201
TTY: 7173382824
Web: esupport.fcc.gov
Office: 8:00 am-6:00 pm
Automated Reporting Management Information System (ARMIS) Phone: +12024180840
E-mail: armishp@fcc.gov
Office: 7:00 am-4:30 pm
Broadcast Radio and Television Electronic Filing System (CDBS)
Phone: +12024182662
E-mail: CDBShelp@fcc.gov
Office: 8:00 am-4:30 pm
Cable Operations & Licensing System (COALS) Phone: +12024187000
E-mail: coals_help@fcc.gov
Office: 8:00 am-4:30 pm
Call Sign Reservation and Authorization System (CSRS) Phone: +12024181600
Office: 9:00 am-5:30 pm
Children’s Television Programming Report (Form 398) (KIDVID) Phone: +12024181665
Office: 8:30 am-5:00 pm
FCC Registration Number (FRN) Commission Registration System (CORES) Phone: +18774803201
Office: 8:00 am-6:00 pm
Consumer Complaints Center Phone: +18882255322
Office: 8:00 am-5:00 pm
Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) Phone: +12024182448
E-mail: FCC-Disaster@fcc.gov
Office: 8:00 am-5:00 pm
Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) Phone: +12024180193
E-mail: ecfshelp@fcc.gov
Office: 8:00 am-5:00 pm
Electronic Document Management System (EDOCS) Phone: +12024180265
E-mail: EDOCShelp@fcc.gov
Office: 8:00 am-6:00 pm
Electronic Tariff Filing System (ETFS) E-mail: etfs@fcc.gov
Office: 6:00 am-4:30 pm
Equipment Authorization Electronic Filing (EAS) Web: fcc.gov/labhelp
Office: 8:00 am-5:00 pm
Experimental Licensing Branch Electronic Filing (ELS) Phone: +12024182440
E-mail: elb@fcc.gov
Office: 8:00 am-5:30 pm
Billing and Fees Phone: +18774803201 (option 6)
E-mail: arinquiries@fcc.gov
Office: 8:00 am-6:00 pm
General Menu Reports (GENMEN) Phone: +18774803201
Web: esupport.fcc.gov.in
Office: 6:30 am-4:30 pm
IB Electronic Filing Systems (IBFS) Phone: +12024182222
E-mail: ibfsinfo@fcc.gov
Office: 7:30 am-5:30 pm
Licensing Support & Forms Issues Phone: +18774803201, +18882255322
TTY: 7173382824
Web: esupport.fcc.gov.in
Office: 8:00 am-6:00 pm
Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) Phone: +12024182448
E-mail: FCC-Outage@fcc.gov
Office: 8:00 am-5:00 pm
OET Knowledge Database Web: fcc.gov/labhelp/
Office: 8:00 am-5:00 pm
Red Light Status Inquiries Phone: +12024181995
E-mail: arinquiries@fcc.gov
Office: 8:00 am-6:00 pm
FRN Financial and Payments Phone: +18774803201 (option 1)
Office: 8:00 am-6:00 pm
Telecommunications Certification Bodies/Accreditor Electronic Filing Web: fcc.gov/labhelp/
Office: 8:00 am-5:00 pm
Tower Construction Notification System (TCNS) Phone: +18774803201
TTY: 7173382824
Web: esupport.fcc.gov.in
Office: 8:00 am-6:00 pm
Universal Licensing System (ULS) Phone: +18774803201, TTY: 7173382824
Web: esupport.fcc.gov.in
Office: 8:00 am-6:00 pm

Contact the concerned office as mentioned in the table to resolve any query or ask for support for online filing. Need more information? visit the support information page of the commission.


Report Fraud, Waste, and Abuse to the FCC OIG

Members of the public, contractors, grantees, and FCC employees may file a complaint about the allegations of fraud, waste, or abuse to the FCC Officer of Inspector General (OIG) according to the rules of the Inspector General Act of 1978.

You may file a complaint anonymously or request to handle it confidentially without revealing your personal identity. If you desire, may provide information including personal identity and contact information without any restriction.

The type of activities or suspected fraud, waste, and abuse in agency programs may include (as defined by the FCC):

  • Schools and Libraries Program [E-Rate]
  • High Cost
  • Lifeline
  • Rural Health Care Program
  • Contributors
  • Telecommunications Relay Services Fund
  • FCC Auctions Program

Report the administrative misconduct of FCC employee or contractor to OIG that involves:

  • Bribery, Kickbacks, and Gratuities
  • Travel and Purchase Card Fraud
  • Theft and/or Abuse of Government Property
  • Computer Crimes Affecting FCC Infrastructure
  • Threats Against FCC Employees or Facilities
  • Time and Attendance

The ways to report the incident include written complaint letters through postal mail, and by call, e-mail, and fax of the office/bureau of FCC OIG.

Provide this Information:

  • All relevant dates, names, times, and locations of the incident.
  • Name of the program participant/employees or contractor with identifying information like BEN or SPIN number assigned by USAC.
  • A detailed description of the misconduct & allegations
  • Any effort made by you to correct the problem and the current status of the issue.
  • Copy of any evidence or proof (if any).

File this complaint with the FCC OIG through:

Designation FCC Officer of Inspector General (OIG)
Phone Number +18888632244, +12024180473
E-mail hotline@fcc.gov
Fax 2025018134
Postal Mail Office of Inspector General,
Federal Communications Commission, 45 L Street NE, Washington, DC, 20554.

Note The information related to what action has been taken by the OIG will not be revealed. Federal regulations prohibit the disclosure of this information even to the individual submitting the allegation. Want to know more? Visit the page Office of Inspector General of the Commission.


The Category of Issues

You may file an informal complaint to the commission as mentioned earlier in the post, but only if the issue is not resolved within 30 days by the respective service provider. The list of categories of the issues for which you may approach the Federal Communications Commission of USA:

Phone Service

  • Unwanted calls/messages including do not call (DND) and spoofing (If the number is being spoofed, blocked, or labeled as potential spam)
  • Availability – telecom services are not available in your local coverage area or weak connectivity of the network of the service provider.
  • Billing: Problems with the billing of your service provider about service charges, prepaid/postpaid recharge, taxes, fees, inmate calling, surcharges, calling rates, advertised rates, etc.
  • Slamming: If your provider/carrier has been changed without your authorization/permission, report the Slamming issue to the commission.
  • Cramming issue for the unauthorized charges on your phone bill. If you are slammed or crammed, submit these concerns to the authority or regional bureau of the FCC.
  • Equipment: The problems related to your phone or mobile device and equipment including unlocking of device or connectivity issues.
  • Junk Faxes: Are you receiving unsolicited advertisements on your fax machine? To stop these unauthorized ads report to the concerned officials of the commission.
  • Interference: Issues including amateur radios, CBs, signal jammers, and other problems related to interference.
  • Number Portability (MNP): Problems pertaining while changing the service provider or operator through number portability including MNP (mobile number portability).
  • Privacy: Report the incident of privacy breach as soon as possible to protect your personal and sensitive information. The FCC will take an action based on the gravity of the issue.
  • Rural Call Completion: If you are facing any difficulty in calling or call completion in rural areas, report this lack of connectivity or weak network issue (if not resolved by the prior telecom service provider).

Internet

  • Availability: Lack of availability of the network, slow internet speed, weak connectivity, or other issues related to internet & broadband availability.
  • Billing: Higher bill amount, hidden service charges, or matters with the prepaid or postpaid billing of data usage.
  • The issues with equipment, interference, and breach of privacy by the telecom service providers including broadband & wireless communications.

Television (TV)

  • The issues pertaining to availability of service & TV shows, billing (prepaid/postpaid), or loud commercials/advertisements.
  • Also, report the concerns with television services related to the emergency alert system, equipment, indecency, interference, and privacy of personal information.

Radio

  • Any informal complaints about the Radio including the issues of availability, the charges & billing, or pirate/unauthorized operation.

Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

  • Have any issues with eligibility or application status of ACP (affordable connectivity program)? Contact the service provider. If the problem is not resolved within 30 days, escalate an informal complaint to FCC.

Others

  • Any complaints related to emergency communications or Access for People with Disabilities in your area or the services of the commission.

Frequently Asked Questions about Federal Communications Commission

Q. How can I file a complaint about telecom companies/carriers to the FCC?
A. You as a consumer may file an informal complaint to the Consumer Inquiry and Complaint Center of the Federal Communications Commission through the toll-free hotline +18882255322, ASL Video Call +18444322275, fax +18664180232, and online complaint form.

Q. What can I do if I’m not satisfied with the resolution of the informal complaints?
A. You may file a formal complaint or bring a lawsuit against the telecommunications carriers/company in the Federal District Court. Also, you may take legal action by filing a lawsuit against the company in the FCC with the help of legal counsel. The case must be filed within 6 months of the final response to the submitted informal complaint from the Commission.

Q. Where can I first lodge a complaint about telecom service issues?
A. First, you should report the issue to your telecom service provider. If the complaint is not resolved within 30 days or you are not satisfied with the final response then escalate this case to the consumer complaint center of the Commission. Must mention acknowledgment number or reference of the previously submitted complaint.

Q. Where can I complain about the misconduct or suspected fraud, waste, and abuse in the FCC?
A. You may report the misconduct or such activities of the FCC employees, contractor, or member of the public that involves suspected fraud, waste, and abuse to the FCC Office of Inspector General (OIG) through call: +18888632244+12024180473, e-mail: hotline@fcc.gov, fax: 2025018134, or postal mail. The complaint can be filed anonymously or confidentially (choose as per your choice).


Reference

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