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BILL OF RIGHTS
The South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff wants telephone utility customers to know their rights and responsibilities and whom to contact for assistance when they have questions or problems regarding regulated telecommunications service(s).
BE AN INFORMED CUSTOMER. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.
1. As a general rule, you have the right to establish telephone service if you satisfactorily establish your credit and neither you nor any member of your household is indebted to the telephone utility, if you provide the telephone utility with necessary and reasonable access to your property, if you are within the operating area of the company, and if your utilization does not pose a hazardous or dangerous condition. If you have any questions concerning your right to service, you should contact the telephone utility serving your area.
2. You have the right to advice from your telephone utility as to what facilities and services are available in your area.
3. You have the right to a telephone directory published at regular intervals, listing the name, address and telephone numbers of customers, except public telephone and telephone service unlisted at the customer’s request. In the event of an error in your telephone listing, you have the right to request the telephone utility to intercept all calls to the listed number for a reasonable period of time provided existing central office equipment will permit and the number is not in service. In the event of an error or omission in the listing of a customer, such customer’s correct name and telephone number shall be in the files of the directory assistance operators.
4. You have the right to establish telephone service if you satisfactorily establish your credit and neither you nor any member of your household is indebted to the telephone utility. You may be required to post a deposit if any one of the following conditions exist: 1) you have had two 30-day arrearages in the past 24 months or you have been sent two or more late payment notices in the past 9 months, 2) you cannot furnish either an acceptable co-signer or guarantor, who is a customer of the utility within the State of South Carolina, to guarantee payment, 3) your gross monthly billing increases, 4) you have had your service terminated by any telephone utility for non-payment or fraudulent use, or 5) the utility determines, through use of commercially acceptable methods, that your credit and financial condition warrants a deposit. You have the right to have all conditions of obtaining service explained to you by the utility’s personnel.
5. If you are required to make a cash deposit, the maximum amount cannot exceed an amount equal to an estimated two (2) months (60 days) bill for a new customer or an amount equal to the total actual bills of the highest two (2) consecutive months based on the experience of the preceding six (6) months for an existing customer. If you make a cash deposit with the utility, you have the right to have the deposit returned to you (plus interest at a rate prescribed by the Commission) after two years unless you have had two 30-day arrearages in the past 24 months, or have had service denied or interrupted for non-payment of bills, or have been sent two late payment notices in the past nine (9) months, or have had a returned check in the past six (6) months; or if you discontinue service with the telephone utility.
6. You have the right to pay your bill without incurring late-payment charges if no unpaid balance is brought forward from the previous billing date. If a balance is brought forward, a maximum of one and one-half percent (1½%) may be added to that balance to cover the cost of collection and carrying accounts in arrears.
7. You have the right to a timely and accurate bill. You have the right to receive, upon request, information as to the utility’s billing procedures.
8. If equal access is available, you have the right to select the Long Distance Carrier of your choice provided the carrier is operating within your service area.
9. Prior to telephone service being disconnected for non-payment, you have the right to written notice from the telephone utility that you have five (5) days to make settlement on your account. In cases involving abnormal and excessive use of toll service, service may be denied two (2) days after written notice is given to the customer, unless satisfactory arrangements for payment are made.
10. If the telephone utility has overcharged or undercharged you, you have the right to an adjustment as allowed by the Public Service Commission of South Carolina’s rules and regulations.
11. You have the right to contact the telephone utility at all hours in case of emergency or unscheduled interruptions in your telephone service.
12. You have the right to have questions or complaints promptly and thoroughly investigated by the telephone utility.
13. If you need assistance with a complaint against your telephone utility that you cannot resolve by dealing with the telephone utility on your own, you have the right to call on the Office of Regulatory Staff’s Consumer Services Department. Consumer Services will work with you and the telephone utility in an effort to resolve your complaint. The Office of Regulatory Staff is located in Columbia and can be reached by calling its toll free telephone number, 1 800-922-1531 or, if from the Columbia area, (803) 737-5230 or at www.regulatorystaff.sc.gov.
14. If, after working with the telephone utility and the Office of Regulatory Staff’s Consumer Services Department, you are not satisfied with the outcome of this process, you have the right to file your complaint with the Public Service Commission. To file a complaint with the Public Service Commission you must complete their Consumer Complaint form. This form is available online at www.psc.sc.gov/consumer/info.asp or you can request that a form be mailed to you by calling the Public Service Commission’s Docketing Department at 803-896-5100. The completed complaint form should be mailed to the Public Service Commission, Post Office Drawer 11649, Columbia, South Carolina 29211 or faxed to 803-896-5199.
The South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff wants to inform you of your rights and responsibilities as a consumer, wants you to understand the responsibilities of your telephone company, and wants you to call upon its Consumer Services Department if you need assistance. This statement gives you a summary of your rights as a customer of a telephone utility. Not all telecommunications services are regulated. More detailed provisions are set out in law, commission rules and regulations, and the tariffs of the telephone utility. -Revised January 2010
CUSTOMER PROPRIETARY NETWORK INFORMATION (CPNI)
It is the official policy of the Hargray that all access, use, disclosure or distribution of CPNI be in accordance with the customer privacy safeguards set forth in the Communications Act and the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") Rules, and that all Hargray employees, agents and independent contractors who handle the Hargray's CPNI are aware of these customer privacy safeguards and comply fully with them.
CPNI is defined in Section 222(f) of the Communications Act as (A) information that relates to the quantity, technical configuration, type, destination, and amount of use of a telecommunications service subscribed to by any customer of a Wireline or Wireless telecommunications carrier, and that is made available to the carrier by the customer solely by virtue of the carrier-customer relationship; and (B) information contained in the bills pertaining to telephone exchange service or telephone toll service received by a customer of a carrier (except that CPNI does not include subscriber list information).
Generally, CPNI includes personal information regarding a consumer's use of his or her Wireline and/or wireless telecommunications services. CPNI encompasses information such as: (a) the telephone numbers called by a customer; (b) the frequency, duration and timing of a customer's phone calls, and (c) the telecommunications and information services purchased by a customer (including, but not limited to, local exchange, toll, cellular, paging, data transmission, call waiting, call forwarding, call blocking, Primary Interexchange Carrier (PIC) freeze, three-way calling, conference calling, voice mail, Internet access, call back, caller identification, call trace and toll denial services).
For over Fifty years, customers have counted on Hargray to respect and protect the privacy of information we obtain in the normal course of providing service. While we are working hard to serve you in new and exciting ways, our commitment to protecting your privacy remains as strong as ever.
The Information We Obtain
The information we obtain from you is generally necessary for us to provide your services and design new services for your future use. For example, we need to know your name, address and the services you buy from us to properly provide and bill for those services. When you call us, our representatives pull up your records and may refer to your bill, your calling patterns, and other information we have to answer questions you may have or recommend how we can best serve you.
We may also use information in our records to protect our customers, employees or property - for instance, to investigate fraud, harassment or other types of unlawful service activities involving Hargray or other carriers that we do business with. In some cases, it may be necessary to provide this information to the government or third parties who make a lawful demand for it.
We share information within our Hargray companies to enable us to better understand our customers' product and service needs, and to learn how to best design, develop, and package products and services to best meet those needs. Like any large business, we structure our company to include a number of smaller companies. Currently, our primary lines of business include local and long distance services, Wireless services, Cable TV services, Web hosting, Internet access for businesses and consumers, and Directory Publishing. We also offer other products and services, for example, Centrex Services, Security Systems, Calling Features, Voice Mail services, and Cable & Directory advertising.
Accuracy of the Information
We want to make sure the information we obtain and use about customers is accurate. To that end, we strive to verify that our customer records are correct. Much of this information is reflected in your monthly bill. If you see an inaccuracy on your Hargray bill, and you let us know, we can correct it.
Security and Accountability
We have information systems that collect and store customer information in addition to systems that store our own business records. These systems have different types of security as appropriate for the information stored. Hargray requires employees to keep customer information confidential and we hold them accountable for their actions.
Providing Services to Enhance Your Privacy
Non-published numbers, Caller ID and Caller ID blocking services, and Anonymous Call Rejection, are among the privacy services Hargray offers to enhance your privacy.
Disclosure of Information Outside Hargray
As a general rule, without your permission, Hargray does not release confidential customer information to unaffiliated third parties unless we have a business relationship with those companies where the disclosure is appropriate. For example, we may hire outside companies as contractors or agents; or we might be engaged in a joint venture or partnership with a company. We provide information to these other companies only as needed to accomplish our business objectives and the companies are bound by requirements to keep Hargray customers' information confidential.
There are exceptions to the general rule. For example, when you dial 911, information about your location may be transmitted automatically to a public safety agency, we might provide information to regulatory or administrative agencies so that they can accomplish their regulatory tasks (for example, responding to a customer complaint) or to maximize the efficiencies of our own processes (such as getting mailing addresses correct, for example). Other disclosures will be driven by legal requirements imposed on Hargray. Hargray complies with "legal process," such as a subpoena or court order or other similar demand, associated with either criminal or civil proceedings.
Disclosure of Account Information
If you tell us in writing to release your account information, we will do so and provide that information to the person you tell us to.
Your account information is released to other carriers when you give us your permission. This most often occurs with respect to a sale of service they want to make or have made to you. Unless we are advised that permission from you has been granted, we do not release the information.
We may provide account information to collection agencies when customers do not pay their bills. We restrict the use that can be made of this information to collection activities only for our charges and for the charges we bill for others.
Other carriers use Hargray to bill for their charges. In this case, they provide us with information about you, including your calling patterns, and we bill you on their behalf. In turn, we provide them with non-sensitive information about your service, such as the date your service was established or disconnected; whether you have toll or 900 blocking services, whether you have a calling card or not and when it was issued, how you pay your bills and if they are paid on time.
Disclosure of Customer Telephone Numbers, Names and Addresses
Telephone number, name and sometimes address information is "released" by Hargray in different ways. It is sometimes released as "lists" to entities that are entitled by law to receive the information or which have entered into contracts with Hargray to receive it. The information is sometimes released through the network "transactionally," such as when your phone number and name are released through a Caller ID mechanism. Sometimes the information is provided in reports to those persons who are being called by you and want to know more about who is calling them and when. Whether a number is recognized as "published" or not will generally depend on the medium by which the number is captured and released.
For example, a person can ask Hargray to include them in directories (that is "publish" their number) or not. Persons can ask to not be published in directories but included in Directory Assistance (non-listed numbers). Or persons can ask not to be either in directories or Directory Assistance (non-published). All of these terms refer to a "listing" status.
However, the telephone network does not recognize a number as published/listed or non-listed or non-published. Thus, the network will "pass" that number to interconnecting carriers (local, long distance, wireless) and to called parties. Only if the network (a) has the capability to block the number; and (b) you have invoked a blocking mechanism will the called party (but not the carriers in between) be unable to see the calling number.