Having your voice heard at the Federal Communications Commission could soon cost you hundreds of dollars, according to congressional Democrats Tuesday who oppose a looming rule change by the nation’s top telecom and cable regulator. But that may not be the case after all, a review of the FCC proposal shows. From a report: At issue is a proposal that the FCC is expected to vote on Thursday that looks at the agency’s process for handling “informal” complaints — the kind you might file if you’ve received an unwanted robocall or if you’ve heard something indecent on the radio. Under the proposal, the FCC could soon pass the informal complaints it receives directly to the companies that consumers are complaining about, the lawmakers said in a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. That might result in FCC staff no longer reviewing those submissions, they said. And customers who receive no relief from the companies would then be forced to lodge a “formal” complaint at the FCC, an existing procedure that costs $225. “To advise consumers that they file a $225 formal complaint if not satisfied ignores the core mission of the FCC — working in the public interest,” wrote Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.). The controversy was first reported by the Verge. Staffers for the House Energy and Commerce Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The FCC said in a statement that the lawmakers had misunderstood the proposal. “The item would not change the Commission’s handling of informal complaints,” the agency said.
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