Telecommunications complaints rise to top of consumer complaint list
Complaints against energy companies drop to a close second
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Regulated telecommunications companies moved to the top of the consumer complaint list in 2010, while energy companies dropped to a close second.
The Utilities and Transportation Commission’s (UTC) Consumer Protection Help Line opened 722 customer complaints against regulated telephone companies for customers with billing disputes, disconnect threats, quality of service and customer service issues. In 2009, 808 complaints were filed against telephone companies.
The UTC received 697 consumer complaints against regulated energy companies in 2010. In 2009, these companies topped the list with almost 1,000 consumer complaints. Customers opened complaints about billing disputes, disconnect threats, customer service issues and other various concerns.
The solid waste industry was in a distant third. Almost 70 consumers filed complaints against regulated garbage and recycling companies in 2010.
UTC Consumer Protection staff saved consumers more than $325,000 in 2010 through customer credits and refunds. They investigated 1,550 complaints for customers of regulated companies, and issued about 70,000 violations for failure to comply with state laws.
In addition to resolving complaints, the UTC’s Consumer Protection Help Line received about 14,000 phone calls from the public. Staff helped callers find utility assistance, provided information on consumer rights and assisted consumers in locating permitted residential moving companies.
The UTC regulates the rates and services of telecommunications companies; investor-owned electric utilities, natural gas and water companies; garbage-collection haulers; residential moving and charter-bus companies; and commercial ferries. The UTC protects consumers by ensuring that utility and transportation services are fairly priced, available, reliable, and safe.