Register April 2013 No. 688
Chapter ATCP 123
ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES
Subchapter I — Definitions and General Provisions
Subchapter II — Subscription and Billing Practices
Disclosure to subscriber.
Negative option billing.
Automatic renewal or extension.
Activities regulated by public service commission.
Subchapter III — Customer Access to Video Services
Large telecommunications video service provider; customer access to video service.
Extension or waiver.
Video service access requirements; limitations.
"Appointed provider of long distance telecommunications services" means a provider of long distance telecommunications services selected for a consumer according to procedures prescribed by the federal communications commission after the consumer fails to select a provider.
"Bill" means to represent to a consumer, directly or by implication, that the consumer is obligated to pay a stated amount for electronic communications service pursuant to an existing contract with the provider of that service.
"Consumer" means any individual to whom a provider sells, leases, or offers to sell or lease an electronic communications service primarily for personal, family or household purposes.
"Disclose" means to make a clear and conspicuous statement that is designed to be readily noticed and understood by the consumer and, if the disclosure is made in writing, which is designed to be retained by the consumer.
"Electronic communications service" means a service, such as telecommunications service, video service, cable service as defined under 47 USC 522
(6), service provided by a multichannel video programming distributor as defined under 47 USC 522
(13), and internet access service as defined in 47 USC 231
(e)(4), which involves the conveyance of voice, data, video programming or other information at any frequency over any part of the electromagnetic spectrum. "Electronic communications service" includes the collection, storage, forwarding, switching and delivery of information incidental to the electronic communications service. "Electronic communications service" does not include broadcast service as defined in s. 196.01 (1m)
, Stats., or the transmission of information by means of non-electronic media such as hard-copy newspapers or magazines.
"Long distance telecommunications service" means a long distance toll service provided on a direct-dialed, single message, dial-1 basis between local exchanges.
"Person" means an individual, corporation, cooperative, partnership, limited liability company, business trust, or business association or entity.
"Provider" means a person that sells, resells, leases, or offers to sell, resell or lease an electronic communications service to consumers. "Provider" includes an employee or agent that is authorized to act on behalf of and in the name of a provider.
ATCP 123.01 Note
Note: For example, "provider" includes a telemarketer or other person who sells electronic communications service on behalf of and in the name of a provider.
"Service offering" means an electronic communications service that is offered under a single name or at a single price. A "service offering" includes a category of electronic communications service for which a separate rate is charged by the provider.
"Subscription" means a contract between a provider and a consumer for an electronic communications service that is provided or billed to the consumer on a continuing or periodic basis. "Subscription" includes an oral, written or electronically recorded contract, and includes any material amendment to an existing contract.
"Written" or "in writing" means legibly printed on a tangible non-electronic medium, such as paper, which is delivered to a consumer, or legibly printed in electronic form on a television screen or computer monitor if the consumer can readily retrieve, store or print the video image for future reference. "Written" or "in writing" does not include presentation on a medium, such as a billboard, which cannot be conveniently retained by a consumer.
ATCP 123.01 History
Cr. Register, July, 1996, No. 487
, eff. 1-1-97; correction in (3) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Register November 2002 No. 563
; CR 08-027
: r. and recr. Register December 2008 No. 636
, eff. 1-1-09; corrections in (14) and (15) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register April 2009 No. 640
Subch. II of ch. ATCP 123 Note
Note: This subchapter regulates subscription and billing practices related to telecommunications services and cable television services provided to consumers.
Subch. II of ch. ATCP 123 Note
State administrative rules may, under certain circumstances, be preempted by federal law or administrative action. A provision of this subchapter that conflicts with federal law may be preempted.
Except as provided under sub. (4)
, a provider shall disclose to a consumer the material terms of a proposed subscription at or before the time that the consumer subscribes. The disclosure shall include all of the following:
A clear identification of each service offering included in the subscription, including the material consumer features, functions or capabilities which comprise that service offering.
ATCP 123.02 Note
Note: For example, the identification of a video service offering should identify the channels that comprise the offering.
The price which the consumer must pay for each service offering. Prices may be disclosed as price schedules, rates or formulas, provided that the consumer can readily determine the total amount which he or she must pay. The price shall include the price for all goods and services which the provider bills to the consumer in connection with the service offering.
All incidental charges that may affect the total amount payable by the consumer, including charges for connecting, changing or disconnecting service. This paragraph does not apply to finance charges or late payment charges if the provider discloses all of the following in writing when the provider first bills the consumer for the principal amount to which those finance charges or late payment charges apply:
The circumstances under which the finance charges or late payment charges will apply.
The amount of the finance charges or late payment charges, or the method for computing those charges if their amount is not yet known.
The effective date of the subscription unless all of the following apply:
The effective date depends on the action of a third party outside the provider's control.
The provider discloses a good faith estimate of the effective date and a means by which the consumer may verify the effective date.
Any limitations on the consumer's right to cancel the subscription at any time.
(2) Disclosure in writing.
Except as provided under sub. (3)
, a provider shall make the disclosures under sub. (1)
in writing. The provider shall disclose the material terms of the subscription in context with each other, and shall not separate those material terms by promotional information.
(3) Oral or electronic disclosure; written confirmation.
If a consumer subscribes orally or electronically, the provider may make the disclosure under sub. (1)
orally or electronically, provided that both of the following apply:
The provider confirms the disclosure in writing on or before the 15th day after the consumer subscribes, or on or before the day that the provider first bills the consumer under the subscription, whichever is later. The provider may confirm the disclosure as part of a regular billing statement to the consumer.
ATCP 123.02 Note
Note: A provider may incorporate by reference, in its written confirmation under par. (a), information contained in a telephone book or other periodic reference document provided to the subscriber.
Notifies the consumer that the consumer may cancel the subscription at any time without incurring any cancellation charge or disconnect fee.
Notifies the consumer that the consumer may cancel the subscription, without incurring any cancellation charge or disconnect fee, prior to a specified cancellation deadline which is not less than 3 days after the consumer receives the written confirmation under par. (a)
(4) Long distance telecommunications rates; exemption.
A provider of long distance telecommunications services need not disclose specific long distance rates under sub. (1)
if the provider discloses all of the following under sub. (1)
A method by which the consumer may readily determine, without cost to the consumer, the specific rate for long distance telecommunications service between two points. Rates disclosures under this paragraph need not include discounts under par. (b)
that will apply.
Any discounts that will apply to long distance rates disclosed to the consumer under par. (a)
(5) Pay-per-view video programming charges; exemption.
A provider of pay-per-view video programming is not required to disclose per-view charges under sub. (1)
if all of the following apply:
The consumer does not incur the per-view charges unless the consumer specifically orders the services to which those charges pertain.
The provider discloses the per-view charges at or before the time that the consumer orders the services to which those charges pertain.
The provider discloses under sub. (1)
any subscription charges which the consumer must pay for the right to order pay-per-view services under par. (a)
ATCP 123.02 History
Cr. Register, July, 1996, No. 487
, eff. 1-1-97; CR 08-027
: am. (5) (title) and (intro.) Register December 2008 No. 636
, eff. 1-1-09.
Except as provided under sub. (2)
, no provider may initiate any price increase or other subscription change without giving the consumer prior notice of that price increase or subscription change. The provider shall give the notice at least 25 days, but not more than 90 days, prior to the subscription change. The provider may give the notice as part of a regular billing statement to the consumer.
ATCP 123.04 Note
Section 100.209 (2)
, Stats., requires a multichannel video programming distributor, as defined in 47 USC 522
(13), to give a consumer at least 30 days advance written notice before deleting a service or instituting a rate increase.
(2) Exemptions. Subsection (1)
does not apply if any of the following apply:
The consumer orders the subscription change, and the provider complies with s. ATCP 123.02
in connection with that order.
The subscription change does not alter the price of the service offering or the total amount billed to the consumer, and does not materially alter the consumer features, functions or capabilities which comprise the service offering.
The subscription change merely expands a service offering currently billed to the consumer without doing any of the following:
Increasing the price of that service offering or increasing the total amount billed to the consumer.
Combining that service offering with another service offering which the consumer can order separately, but which the consumer has not affirmatively ordered.
Making other material changes to the consumer features, functions or capabilities which comprise that service offering.
The subscription change results from the expiration of terms granted to the consumer under an introductory or other promotional offer, provided that the provider disclosed both of the following to the consumer at or before the time that the consumer subscribed: