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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of July 29, 2014

Title 47: Telecommunication
PART 64—MISCELLANEOUS RULES RELATING TO COMMON CARRIERS


Subpart O—Interstate Pay-Per-Call and Other Information Services


Contents
§64.1501   Definitions.
§64.1502   Limitations on the provision of pay-per-call services.
§64.1503   Termination of pay-per-call and other information programs.
§64.1504   Restrictions on the use of toll-free numbers.
§64.1505   Restrictions on collect telephone calls.
§64.1506   Number designation.
§64.1507   Prohibition on disconnection or interruption of service for failure to remit pay-per-call and similar service charges.
§64.1508   Blocking access to 900 service.
§64.1509   Disclosure and dissemination of pay-per-call information.
§64.1510   Billing and collection of pay-per-call and similar service charges.
§64.1511   Forgiveness of charges and refunds.
§64.1512   Involuntary blocking of pay-per-call services.
§64.1513   Verification of charitable status.
§64.1514   Generation of signalling tones.
§64.1515   Recovery of costs.

Source: 58 FR 44773, Aug. 25, 1993, unless otherwise noted.

§64.1501   Definitions.

For purposes of this subpart, the following definitions shall apply:

(a) Pay-per-call service means any service:

(1) In which any person provides or purports to provide:

(i) Audio information or audio entertainment produced or packaged by such person;

(ii) Access to simultaneous voice conversation services; or

(iii) Any service, including the provision of a product, the charges for which are assessed on the basis of the completion of the call;

(2) For which the caller pays a per-call or per-time-interval charge that is greater than, or in addition to, the charge for transmission of the call; and

(3) Which is accessed through use of a 900 number;

(4) Provided, however, such term does not include directory services provided by a common carrier or its affiliate or by a local exchange carrier or its affiliate, or any service for which users are assessed charges only after entering into a presubscription or comparable arrangement with the provider of such service.

(b) Presubscription or comparable arrangement means a contractual agreement in which:

(1) The service provider clearly and conspicuously discloses to the consumer all material terms and conditions associated with the use of the service, including the service provider's name and address, a business telephone number which the consumer may use to obtain additional information or to register a complaint, and the rates for the service;

(2) The service provider agrees to notify the consumer of any future rate changes;

(3) The consumer agrees to use the service on the terms and conditions disclosed by the service provider; and

(4) The service provider requires the use of an identification number or other means to prevent unauthorized access to the service by nonsubscribers;

(5) Provided, however, that disclosure of a credit, prepaid account, debit, charge, or calling card number, along with authorization to bill that number, made during the course of a call to an information service shall constitute a presubscription or comparable arrangement if an introductory message containing the information specified in §64.1504(c)(2) is provided prior to, and independent of, assessment of any charges. No other action taken by a consumer during the course of a call to an information service, for which charges are assessed, can create a presubscription or comparable arrangement.

(6) Provided, that a presubscription arrangement to obtain information services provided by means of a toll-free number shall conform to the requirements of §64.1504(c).

(c) Calling card means an identifying number or code unique to the individual, that is issued to the individual by a common carrier and enables the individual to be charged by means of a phone bill for charges incurred independent of where the call originates.

[61 FR 39087, July 26, 1996]

§64.1502   Limitations on the provision of pay-per-call services.

Any common carrier assigning a telephone number to a provider of interstate pay-per-call service shall require, by contract or tariff, that such provider comply with the provisions of this subpart and of titles II and III of the Telephone Disclosure and Dispute Resolution Act (Pub. L. No. 102-556) (TDDRA) and the regulations prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission pursuant to those titles.

§64.1503   Termination of pay-per-call and other information programs.

(a) Any common carrier assigning a telephone number to a provider of interstate pay-per-call service shall specify by contract or tariff that pay-per-call programs not in compliance with §64.1502 shall be terminated following written notice to the information provider. The information provider shall be afforded a period of no less than seven and no more than 14 days during which a program may be brought into compliance. Programs not in compliance at the expiration of such period shall be terminated immediately.

(b) Any common carrier providing transmission or billing and collection services to a provider of interstate information service through any 800 telephone number, or other telephone number advertised or widely understood to be toll-free, shall promptly investigate any complaint that such service is not provided in accordance with §64.1504 or §64.1510(c), and, if the carrier reasonably determines that the complaint is valid, may terminate the provision of service to an information provider unless the provider supplies evidence of a written agreement that meets the requirements of this §64.1504(c)(1).

[61 FR 39087, July 26, 1996]

§64.1504   Restrictions on the use of toll-free numbers.

A common carrier shall prohibit by tariff or contract the use of any 800 telephone number, or other telephone number advertised or widely understood to be toll-free, in a manner that would result in:

(a) The calling party or the subscriber to the originating line being assessed, by virtue of completing the call, a charge for a call;

(b) The calling party being connected to a pay-per-call service;

(c) The calling party being charged for information conveyed during the call unless:

(1) The calling party has a written agreement (including an agreement transmitted through electronic medium) that specifies the material terms and conditions under which the information is offered and includes:

(i) The rate at which charges are assessed for the information;

(ii) The information provider's name;

(iii) The information provider's business address;

(iv) The information provider's regular business telephone number;

(v) The information provider's agreement to notify the subscriber at least one billing cycle in advance of all future changes in the rates charged for the information;

(vi) The subscriber's choice of payment method, which may be by direct remit, debit, prepaid account, phone bill, or credit or calling card and, if a subscriber elects to pay by means of phone bill, a clear explanation that the subscriber will be assessed for calls made to the information service from the subscriber's phone line;

(vii) A unique personal identification number or other subscriber-specific identifier that must be used to obtain access to the information service and instructions on its use, and, in addition, assures that any charges for services accessed by use of the subscriber's personal identification number or subscriber-specific identifier be assessed to subscriber's source of payment elected pursuant to paragraph (c)(1)(vi) of this section; or

(2) The calling party is charged for the information by means of a credit, prepaid, debit, charge, or calling card and the information service provider includes in response to each call an introductory message that:

(i) Clearly states that there is a charge for the call;

(ii) Clearly states the service's total cost per minute and any other fees for the service or for any service to which the caller may be transferred;

(iii) Explains that the charges must be billed on either a credit, prepaid, debit, charge, or calling card;

(iv) Asks the caller for the card number;

(v) Clearly states that charges for the call begin at the end of the introductory message; and

(vi) Clearly states that the caller can hang up at or before the end of the introductory message without incurring any charge whatsoever.

(d) The calling party being called back collect for the provision of audio or data information services, simultaneous voice conversation services, or products; and

(e) The calling party being assessed by virtue of the caller being asked to connect or otherwise transfer to a pay-per-call service, a charge for the call.

(f) Provided, however, that:

(1) Notwithstanding paragraph (c)(1) of this section, a written agreement that meets the requirements of that paragraph is not required for:

(i) Calls utilizing telecommunications devices for the deaf;

(ii) Directory services provided by a common carrier or its affiliate or by a local exchange carrier or its affiliate; or

(iii) Any purchase of goods or of services that are not information services.

(2) The requirements of paragraph (c)(2) of this section shall not apply to calls from repeat callers using a bypass mechanism to avoid listening to the introductory message: Provided, That information providers shall disable such a bypass mechanism after the institution of any price increase for a period of time determined to be sufficient by the Federal Trade Commission to give callers adequate and sufficient notice of a price increase.

[61 FR 39087, July 26, 1996, as amended at 69 FR 61154, Oct. 15, 2004]

§64.1505   Restrictions on collect telephone calls.

(a) No common carrier shall provide interstate transmission or billing and collection services to an entity offering any service within the scope of §64.1501(a)(1) that is billed to a subscriber on a collect basis at a per-call or per-time-interval charge that is greater than, or in addition to, the charge for transmission of the call.

(b) No common carrier shall provide interstate transmission services for any collect information services billed to a subscriber at a tariffed rate unless the called party has taken affirmative action clearly indicating that it accepts the charges for the collect service.

§64.1506   Number designation.

Any interstate service described in §64.1501(a)(1)-(2), and not subject to the exclusions contained in §64.1501(a)(4), shall be offered only through telephone numbers beginning with a 900 service access code.

[59 FR 46770, Sept. 12, 1994]

§64.1507   Prohibition on disconnection or interruption of service for failure to remit pay-per-call and similar service charges.

No common carrier shall disconnect or interrupt in any manner, or order the disconnection or interruption of, a telephone subscriber's local exchange or long distance telephone service as a result of that subscriber's failure to pay:

(a) Charges for interstate pay-per-call service;

(b) Charges for interstate information services provided pursuant to a presubscription or comparable arrangement; or

(c) Charges for interstate information services provided on a collect basis which have been disputed by the subscriber.

[58 FR 44773, Aug. 25, 1993, as amended at 59 FR 46770, Sept. 12, 1994]

§64.1508   Blocking access to 900 service.

(a) Local exchange carriers must offer to their subscribers, where technically feasible, an option to block access to services offered on the 900 service access code. Blocking is to be offered at no charge, on a one-time basis, to:

(1) All telephone subscribers during the period from November 1, 1993 through December 31, 1993; and

(2) Any subscriber who subscribes to a new telephone number for a period of 60 days after the new number is effective.

(b) For blocking requests not within the one-time option or outside the time frames specified in paragraph (a) of this section, and for unblocking requests, local exchange carriers may charge a reasonable one-time fee. Requests by subscribers to remove 900 services blocking must be in writing.

(c) The terms and conditions under which subscribers may obtain 900 services blocking are to be included in tariffs filed with this Commission.

§64.1509   Disclosure and dissemination of pay-per-call information.

(a) Any common carrier assigning a telephone number to a provider of interstate pay-per-call services shall make readily available, at no charge, to Federal and State agencies and all other interested persons:

(1) A list of the telephone numbers for each of the pay-per-call services it carries;

(2) A short description of each such service;

(3) A statement of the total cost or the cost per minute and any other fees for each such service; and

(4) A statement of the pay-per-call service provider's name, business address, and business telephone number.

(b) Any common carrier assigning a telephone number to a provider of interstate pay-per-call services and offering billing and collection services to such provider shall:

(1) Establish a local or toll-free telephone number to answer questions and provide information on subscribers' rights and obligations with regard to their use of pay-per-call services and to provide to callers the name and mailing address of any provider of pay-per-call services offered by that carrier; and

(2) Provide to all its telephone subscribers, either directly or through contract with any local exchange carrier providing billing and collection services to that carrier, a disclosure statement setting forth all rights and obligations of the subscriber and the carrier with respect to the use and payment of pay-per-call services. Such statement must include the prohibition against disconnection of basic communications services for failure to pay pay-per-call charges established by §64.1507, the right of a subscriber to obtain blocking in accordance with §64.1508, the right of a subscriber not to be billed for pay-per-call services not offered in compliance with federal laws and regulations established by §64.1510(a)(1), and the possibility that a subscriber's access to 900 services may be involuntarily blocked pursuant to §64.1512 for failure to pay legitimate pay-per-call charges. Disclosure statements must be forwarded to:

(i) All telephone subscribers no later than 60 days after these regulations take effect;

(ii) All new telephone subscribers no later than 60 days after service is established;

(iii) All telephone subscribers requesting service at a new location no later than 60 days after service is established; and

(iv) Thereafter, to all subscribers at least once per calendar year, at intervals of not less than 6 months nor more than 18 months.

[58 FR 44773, Aug. 25, 1993, as amended at 61 FR 55582, Oct. 28, 1996]

§64.1510   Billing and collection of pay-per-call and similar service charges.

(a) Any common carrier assigning a telephone number to a provider of interstate pay-per-call services and offering billing and collection services to such provider shall:

(1) Ensure that a subscriber is not billed for interstate pay-per-call services that such carrier knows or reasonably should know were provided in violation of the regulations set forth in this subpart or prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission pursuant to titles II or III of the TDDRA or any other federal law;

(2) In any billing to telephone subscribers that includes charges for any interstate pay-per-call service:

(i) Include a statement indicating that:

(A) Such charges are for non-communications services;

(B) Neither local nor long distances services can be disconnected for non-payment although an information provider may employ private entities to seek to collect such charges;

(C) 900 number blocking is available upon request; and

(D) Access to pay-per-call services may be involuntarily blocked for failure to pay legitimate charges;

(ii) Display any charges for pay-per-call services in a part of the bill that is identified as not being related to local and long distance telephone charges;

(iii) Specify, for each pay-per-call charge made, the type of service, the amount of the charge, and the date, time, and, for calls billed on a time-sensitive basis, the duration of the call; and

(iv) Identify the local or toll-free number established in accordance with §64.1509(b)(1).

(b) Any common carrier offering billing and collection services to an entity providing interstate information services on a collect basis shall, to the extent possible, display the billing information in the manner described in paragraphs (a)(2)(i), (A), (B), (D) and (a)(2)(ii) of this section.

(c) If a subscriber elects, pursuant to §64.1504(c)(1)(vi), to pay by means of a phone bill for any information service provided by through any 800 telephone number, or other telephone number advertised or widely understood to be toll-free, the phone bill shall:

(1) Include, in prominent type, the following disclaimer: “Common carriers may not disconnect local or long distance telephone service for failure to pay disputed charges for information services;” and

(2) Clearly list the 800 or other toll-free number dialed.

[58 FR 44773, Aug. 25, 1993, as amended at 59 FR 46771, Sept. 12, 1994; 61 FR 39088, July 26, 1996]

§64.1511   Forgiveness of charges and refunds.

(a) Any carrier assigning a telephone number to a provider of interstate pay-per-call services or providing transmission for interstate information services provided pursuant to a presubscription or comparable arrangement or on a collect basis, and providing billing and collection for such services, shall establish procedures for the handling of subscriber complaints regarding charges for those services. A billing carrier is afforded discretion to set standards for determining when a subscriber's complaint warrants forgiveness, refund or credit of interstate pay-per-call or information services charges provided that such charges must be forgiven, refunded, or credited when a subscriber has complained about such charges and either this Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, or a court of competent jurisdiction has found or the carrier has determined, upon investigation, that the service has been offered in violation of federal law or the regulations that are either set forth in this subpart or prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission pursuant to titles II or III of the TDDRA. Carriers shall observe the record retention requirements set forth in §42.6 of this chapter except that relevant records shall be retained by carriers beyond the requirements of part 42 of this chapter when a complaint is pending at the time the specified retention period expires.

(b) Any carrier assigning a telephone number to a provider of interstate pay-per-call services but not providing billing and collection services for such services, shall, by tariff or contract, require that the provider and/or its billing and collection agents have in place procedures whereby, upon complaint, pay-per-call charges may be forgiven, refunded, or credited, provided that such charges must be forgiven, refunded, or credited when a subscriber has complained about such charges and either this Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, or a court of competent jurisdiction has found or the carrier has determined, upon investigation, that the service has been offered in violation of federal law or the regulations that are either set forth in this subpart or prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission pursuant to titles II or III of the TDDRA.

[58 FR 44773, Aug. 25, 1993, as amended at 59 FR 46771, Sept. 12, 1994]

§64.1512   Involuntary blocking of pay-per-call services.

Nothing in this subpart shall preclude a common carrier or information provider from blocking or ordering the blocking of its interstate pay-per-call programs from numbers assigned to subscribers who have incurred, but not paid, legitimate pay-per-call charges, except that a subscriber who has filed a complaint regarding a particular pay-per-call program pursuant to procedures established by the Federal Trade Commission under title III of the TDDRA shall not be involuntarily blocked from access to that program while such a complaint is pending. This restriction is not intended to preclude involuntary blocking when a carrier or IP has decided in one instance to sustain charges against a subscriber but that subscriber files additional separate complaints.

§64.1513   Verification of charitable status.

Any common carrier assigning a telephone number to a provider of interstate pay-per-call services that the carrier knows or reasonably should know is engaged in soliciting charitable contributions shall obtain verification that the entity or individual for whom contributions are solicited has been granted tax exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service.

§64.1514   Generation of signalling tones.

No common carrier shall assign a telephone number for any pay-per-call service that employs broadcast advertising which generates the audible tones necessary to complete a call to a pay-per-call service.

§64.1515   Recovery of costs.

No common carrier shall recover its cost of complying with the provisions of this subpart from local or long distance ratepayers.



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