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A. Policy. A cable operator will first resolve customer inquiries and complaints without delay and without involvement of the City. Where a given complaint is not addressed by the cable operator to the customer’s satisfaction, the City may intervene.

These standards are intended to be of general application. A cable operator is free to exceed these standards for the benefit of its customers. However, the cable operator shall be relieved of obligations hereunder if it is unable to perform due to a force majeure event affecting a significant portion of the franchise area.

B. Customer Service.

1. Courtesy. All employees of the cable operator shall be courteous, knowledgeable, and helpful, and shall provide effective and satisfactory service in all contacts with customers.

2. Availability and Accessibility – In Person. The cable operator must maintain, at a minimum, one (1) customer service center located in Everett. This customer service location shall at all times allow customers to make payments, return equipment, or get assistance from knowledgeable staff. The customer service center shall be open Monday through Saturday, excluding legal holidays, with sufficient hours necessary to meet customer demand. The customer service center will be staffed to meet all customer needs with on-site customer service representatives. If, however, the customer service center is required to relocate, the cable operator shall be allowed a reasonable period of time to establish a new location.

3. Availability and Accessibility – On the Telephone. A CSR will be available to respond to customer inquiries during normal business hours. The cable operator shall maintain local or toll free telephone access lines that shall be available during normal business hours for service/repair requests and billing inquiries.

The cable operator shall retain sufficient CSRs and telephone line capacity to ensure that, during normal operating conditions, telephone calls to service/repair and billing inquiry lines are answered within thirty (30) seconds or less, and that any transfers are made within thirty (30) seconds. This standard shall be met no less than ninety (90) percent of the time, measured on a quarterly basis under normal operating conditions. Under normal operating conditions, the total number of calls receiving busy signals shall not exceed three percent (3%) of the total telephone calls.

The cable operator shall not be required to acquire equipment or perform surveys to measure compliance with any of the telephone answering standards above unless and until the City requests such actions based on a historical record of customer complaints indicating a clear failure to comply.

C. Responsiveness.

1. The cable operator shall complete all standard aerial installations within seven (7) days after an order has been placed, unless otherwise requested by the customer. The cable operator shall schedule all standard underground installations within seven (7) days after an order has been placed, unless otherwise requested by the customer. “Standard” installations shall include those that are located within 125 aerial feet or sixty (60) underground trench feet of the cable operator’s distribution system. This standard must be met ninety-five percent (95%) of the time, under normal operating conditions as measured on a quarterly basis. If the customer requests a non-standard installation, or the cable operator determines that a non-standard installation is required, the cable operator shall provide the customer in advance with a total installation cost estimate and an estimated date of completion.

2. Under normal operating conditions, all temporary cable drops shall be converted to a permanent drop within no more than three (3) calendar weeks from the initial installation, or at a time mutually agreed upon between the cable operator and customer.

3. Customers requesting installation of cable service or repair service to an existing installation may choose any available four (4) hour block of time for the appointment during normal business hours.

4. The cable operator shall be deemed to have responded to a request for service under the provisions of this subsection when a technician arrives within the agreed upon time. If the customer is absent when the technician arrives, the technician shall leave written notification of timely arrival. A record that notice was provided shall be kept by the cable operator.

5. If a cable operator representative fails to keep an installation or service appointment for any reason, the cable operator will contact the customer before the end of the scheduled appointment and reschedule the appointment at a time convenient for the customer.

6. The cable operator shall respond to a customer’s letter in writing within two (2) weeks of receipt of the letter. The cable operator shall initiate resolution to a customer’s inquiry, complaint, general question, or comment made by telephone or e-mail within forty-eight (48) hours.

7. Any difficulties that cannot be resolved by the CSR shall be referred to the appropriate supervisor who shall use his/her best efforts to contact the customer within twenty-four (24) hours of initial contact and resolve the problem within a mutually agreeable timeframe.

D. Repairs and Outages.

1. The cable operator shall interrupt service only for good cause and for the shortest time possible. Scheduled interruptions that the cable operator anticipates will last more than four (4) hours shall occur during periods of minimum use of the cable system as reasonably determined by the cable operator.

2. If a customer calls to report poor signal quality or interruptions attributable to the cable operator’s equipment, the cable operator shall begin working on the problem no later than the next day following the customer’s call, provided that the customer is available, or at such later time as is convenient for the customer. If an appointment is necessary, the customer may choose a four (4) hour block of time during normal business hours.

3. Upon discovery of an outage affecting three (3) or more customers, the cable operator shall initiate its outage repair process within two (2) hours, under normal operating conditions.

4. A cable operator shall initiate repairs to customer reported service interruptions, for any cause beyond the control of the cable operator, within twenty-four (24) hours after the conditions beyond its control have been corrected.

5. Under normal operating conditions, if after twenty-four (24) hours service is not restored to a customer, a cable operator shall, upon a customer’s request, provide a refund or credit or other compensation of equal or greater value.

6. The cable operator will track and record all outages and service interruptions that occur within the franchise area.

E. Bills, Credits, Refunds and Deposits. If a customer requests disconnection of any or all services, billing for affected services shall end on the same day as the request, or on the future date for which the disconnect is ordered. However, the customer may continue to be billed for equipment until returned to the cable operator. The cable operator shall issue a credit or refund to a customer within thirty (30) business days after the close of the billing cycle following the return of the equipment and request for disconnection. If a customer was required to provide a deposit, that deposit must be returned when appropriate.

F. Treatment of Property.

1. Removal or trimming of trees and shrubs in the right-of-way will be subject to the regulations of the City.

2. The cable operator shall repair any damage or restore any property to as good a condition as before the work causing such damage or disturbance was initiated. The cable operator shall repair, replace, or compensate all property owners for damages resulting from the cable operator’s installation, construction, service, or repair activities.

3. Except in the case of an emergency involving public safety or service interruption to a large number of customers, the cable operator shall give reasonable notice to property owners or legal tenants prior to entering upon private premises, and the notice shall specify the work to be performed; provided that, in the case of planned construction operations, such notice shall be delivered or provided at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to entry. All work done in the right-of-way shall be subject to time requirements of the permit.

4. Nothing herein shall be construed as authorizing access or entry to private property, or any other property, where such right to access or entry is not otherwise provided by law.

5. For major construction or installation projects, the cable operator shall notify by mail or door hanger the adjacent property owners/legal tenants in advance of the right-of-way work. In the case of an emergency, the cable operator shall attempt to contact the property owner or legal tenant in person, and in the event personal contact is not made, the cable operator shall leave a door hanger notice.

6. The cable operator shall clean all areas surrounding any work site of debris caused by the cable operator’s activities.

G. Services for Customers with Disabilities.

1. For any customer with a disability, the cable operator shall upon a customer request and at no charge deliver and/or pick up converters at the customer’s home.

2. The cable operator shall provide TDD/TYY service with trained operators who can provide assistance for hearing-impaired customers at no charge.

3. The cable operator shall comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

H. Customer Information.

1. The cable operator shall provide to customers an accurate, comprehensive service agreement and customer installation packet upon installation, including the following information:

a. Products and services offered by the cable operator, including channel positions of programming carried on the cable system.

b. The cable operator’s complete range of service options and the prices for those services and conditions of subscription to programming and other services.

c. Installation and service maintenance policies, including the customer’s and cable operator’s responsibilities for equipment.

d. Billing and complaint procedures for investigation and resolution of customer service complaints, including the address and telephone number of the cable operator’s office(s), the cable operator’s policies on deposits, credit balances, and returned check charges.

e. Policies concerning protection of customer privacy as required under law.

f. The availability of a parental control/lock out device and the procedures for channel blocking.

g. Service termination procedure.

h. A description of the manner that will be used to provide notice of changes in rates, services, or service terms and conditions.

i. The phone number of the Customer Service Department that is responsible for handling cable questions and complaints for the cable operator. This information shall be prominently displayed in the installation packet.

2. The cable operator shall provide customers with written notification of any changes in rates, programming, services, or channel positions as soon as possible in writing. Customers shall be given a description of the changes, a phone number for questions, and the effective date. Notice must be given to customers a minimum of thirty (30) days in advance of such changes if the change is within the control of the cable operator.

3. All officers, agents, and employees of the cable operator, its contractors, and subcontractors who are in personal contact with customers shall have visible identification cards bearing their name and photograph.

4. Every vehicle of the cable operator, its contractors, and subcontractors, shall be clearly identified to the public as a vehicle of the cable operator.

I. Safety.

1. The cable operator shall install and locate its facilities, cable system, and equipment in compliance with all federal, state, local, and company safety standards, and in such manner as shall not endanger persons or property.

2. Whenever the cable operator receives notice that an unsafe condition exists with respect to its equipment, the cable operator shall investigate such condition immediately, and shall take such measures as are necessary to remove or eliminate any unsafe condition.

J. Complaints to the City.

1. Any customer shall be entitled to lodge any complaint directly with the City. The customer may lodge the complaint either by calling the City or by filing a written complaint by letter or in electronic form.

2. If the City decides that further action is warranted, the City may intercede and attempt to help reach a resolution and/or require the cable operator to address the inquiry in a timely manner. Upon request by the City, the cable operator shall notify the City of the status of the inquiry and any subsequent resolution.

3. The cable operator shall maintain, in a manner consistent with the privacy rights of customers, an accurate and comprehensive file of complaints regarding the cable system or the cable operator’s operation of the cable system, by number and type and their disposition; service requests, identifying the number and nature of the requests and their disposition; and outages, service interruptions and their disposition.

K. Remedying Violations. If the City has reason to believe that the cable operator has failed to comply with any of these standards, or has failed to perform in a timely manner, or if similar complaints repetitively arise, the City may require in writing that the cable operator remedy the noncompliance. If the noncompliance is not remedied to the satisfaction of the City, the City may opt to follow the liquidated damages procedures or seek other remedies set forth in the franchise, or pursue any other remedies at law or in equity.

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