For Residents: NYC Consumer Rights Regarding Cable Television Service

New York City's cable television companies are required to follow customer service standards primarily by answering customer telephone calls and providing installation and repair service in a timely manner as prescribed in New York City's Cable Television Franchise Agreements along with Rules of the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Below are brief descriptions of consumer rights regarding cable television service in the City of New York through its local franchising authority, New York City's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT).

Solicitation of Subscriptions

Installation

Walk-in or Payment Centers

Billing

Equipment Provided by Franchisee

Service Outages and Service Interruptions

Subscriber Complaints

Notice Requirements

Termination of Service and Disconnection

Credits

Miscellaneous Requirements

Rates and Programming Information
Other Contract Provisions


Solicitation of Subscriptions

Each employee, contractor or subcontractor of Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, RCN or Verizon FiOS TV, who routinely comes in contact with members of the public at their residences, for installation or service, must wear a company provided picture identification card clearly indicating his or her name, the name of the contractor or subcontractor and the name of the cable company.

Cable subscription information should include a description of the cable services provided by the company, a list of rates, terms and conditions for each cable service or tier of cable service, both alone and in combination. Other charges such as installation, additional outlets and the relocating of cable outlets should also be provided.

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Installation

New York City cable television companies shall offer "appointment windows" in time blocks of no more than four (4) hours on weekdays. Cable companies will credit the subscriber or potential subscriber twenty-five dollars ($25) to the subscriber's bill in the next available billing period for missed installation appointments.

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Walk-in or Payment Centers

New York City cable television companies maintain conveniently located Walk-in or Payment Centers in each borough of the City they have a Franchise in so subscribers or potential subscribers may conduct activities and/or transactions regarding their accounts. Customers may also exchange or return cable equipment at these centers. These centers will maintain current copies of billing practices, payment requirements and general information materials. Please contact your provider for locations. RCN will maintain a district service center.

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Billing

Your cable bill is designed to present all information clearly, comprehensively and accurately. Billing must be rendered monthly unless another schedule is authorized by the subscriber. A bill will not be considered delinquent until at least forty-five (45) days have elapsed from the mailing of the bill to the subscriber and payment has not been received by the Company. The procedure for the resolution of billing disputes must be clearly defined. The Company will promptly undertake whatever review is necessary to resolve the dispute. The subscriber may also request assistance from DoITT (see Subscriber Complaints below).

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Equipment Provided by Franchisee

The cable company must give a demonstration, provide a description of the use of their equipment and may also require a deposit. The company is also required to explain any charges for stolen or lost equipment.

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Service Outages and Service Interruptions

New York City cable television companies must maintain an adequate repair and service force at all times. The cable company must also exercise best efforts in scheduling planned outages during minimal usage hours and notify subscribers of any scheduled outage lasting more than four (4) hours. The cable company may not impose any fee or charge for any service call or repair work unless work was necessitated by an act of negligence by the subscriber.

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Subscriber Complaints

New York City cable television companies are required to adequately train their employees and maintain telephone lines so subscriber complaints are resolved quickly, professionally and politely. Complaints may be referred to DoITT before the cable company has issued a resolution.

When you have a cable television problem:

  1. Contact your cable provider and report the problem. Your cable television company must maintain a local exchange or toll-free telephone number available to report a service problem or issue.
  2. If your concerns have not been resolved you can file an online complaint form or visit 311 Online.
    You may also call 311 or write to:

    NYC DoITT - Cable TV
    2 Metro Tech Center, 4th Floor
    Brooklyn, NY 11201

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Notice Requirements

New York City cable television companies must provide notice to this agency and all subscribers no later than thirty (30) days prior to the effective date of programming and rate change, unless the company is unaware of such change at the time. Notifications to subscribers will include any changes in rates or charges or significant terms or conditions, changes in billing practices and notices with respect to programming and/or network changes.

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Termination of Service and Disconnection

A subscriber whose bill has not been paid after it becomes delinquent, so long as proper notice has been provided (see Billing), may be terminated. The cable company cannot discontinue a subscriber's service during the hours that their Walk-in, Payment, District or Service Centers are closed. Prior to disconnection, notice must include the total amount required to be paid to avoid discontinuance and any collection fees, date due and telephone and payment center information where payment can be made. The company cannot refuse to serve a former subscriber whose service was terminated, so long as all past bills and late charges have been paid in full.

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Credits

New York City cable television companies will give credit for every service outage not caused by a subscriber in excess of four (4) continuous hours in any twenty-four (24) hour period, to any subscriber who requests for it either by written or oral notice. The four hour period shall commence at the time the cable television company first becomes aware of the outage. Any missed service appointment by Time Warner Cable, Cablevision or RCN may result in a credit equal to the amount previously billed to the subscriber for all cable services during that prior month's billing period. Cable companies will credit the subscriber twenty-five dollars ($25) to the subscriber's bill in the next available billing period for missed service appointments.

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Miscellaneous Requirements

New York City cable television companies shall make a reasonable effort, within a reasonable time prior to the appointment period, to telephone the subscriber to confirm the appointment. Upon arrival to the subscriber's premises and the technician is unable to secure access, the company will make reasonable efforts to contact the subscriber immediately to determine whether the subscriber is present. Time Warner Cable and Cablevision also have websites for subscribers to confirm their appointments. See Time Warner Cable's Online Appointment FAQs and Cablevision's Optimum Account Center for details.

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Rates and Programming Information

Under the federal Cable Act, New York City may not set or limit the rates cable companies charge for cable television service and may not (with limited exceptions) require or limit what programming cable companies choose to offer.

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Other Contract Provisions

The Cable Television Franchise contracts have many other provisions that affect consumers. If you wish to review the contracts in detail, please visit the Cable Television Franchise Agreements page.