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California Video Customer Service Act

Rules for video providers: render reasonably efficient service, make repairs promptly, interrupt service only as necessary

By Chris Micheli, August 27, 2022 3:58 pm

California has numerous formal acts in statute. Government Code Title 5, Division 2, Part 1, Chapter 1, Article 4.5 provides the Video Customer Service Act, which is contained in Sections 53088 to 53088.2. Article 4.5 was added in 1992 by Chapter 1198. Section 53088 names the Act.

Section 53088.1 provides definitions for the terms “video provider” and “material breach.” Section 53088.2 requires every video provider to render reasonably efficient service, make repairs promptly, and interrupt service only as necessary. All video provider personnel contacting subscribers or potential subscribers outside the office of the provider are required to be clearly identified as associated with the video provider.

All video providers must provide to all customers a written notice of the programming offered, the prices for that programming, the provider’s installation and customer service policies, and the name, address, and telephone number of the local franchising authority. In addition, all video providers must render bills that are accurate and understandable.

All video providers are required to respond to a complete outage in a customer’s service promptly. They must provide a minimum of 30 days’ written notice before increasing rates or deleting channels. Every video provider is required to allow every residential customer who pays his or her bill directly to the video provider at least 15 days from the date the bill for services is mailed to the customer, to pay the listed charges unless otherwise agreed to pursuant to a residential rental agreement establishing tenancy.

Every notice of termination must include specified information. Also, service may only be terminated on days in which the customer can reach a representative of the video provider either in person or by telephone. A video provider must cease charging a customer for services within seven business days of receiving a request to terminate service.

Video providers are prohibited from disclosing the name and address of a subscriber for commercial gain to be used in mailing lists or for other commercial purposes not reasonably related to the conduct of the businesses of the video providers or their affiliates, unless the video providers have provided to the subscriber a notice, separate or included in any other customer notice, that clearly and conspicuously describes the subscriber’s ability to prohibit the disclosure. 

Disputes concerning the provisions of this article are to be resolved by the city, county, or city and county in which the customer resides. Also, nothing in this division limits any power of a city, county, or city and county or video provider to adopt and enforce service standards and consumer protection standards that exceed those established in this division.

In addition, the legislative body of the city, county, or city and county, may, by ordinance, provide a schedule of penalties for the material breach by a video provider. If the legislative body of a city, county, or city and county adopts a schedule of monetary penalties, then specified procedures must be followed.

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