Chairman Pai's Response to Rep. Quigley Regarding Broadband Equipment Rental Fees

On Aug 8, 2019, House Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee Chairman Mike Quigley (D-IL) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to express concern about the FCC failing to act to stop abusive and unwarranted equipment rental fees for broadband service. "These unreasonable fees defy common sense and undermine the FCC's stated 'number one priority' of closing the digital divide." Chairman Quigley described a consumer in Texas who was charged a $10 "rental" fee by Frontier Communications for a router that they neither asked for nor ever received. "I find the lack of action to protect consumers troubling," he wrote.

On Nov 1, Chairman Pai responded by describing the informal complaint process available to consumers. He notes that in the past year, consumers filed approximately 450 informal complaints relating to broadband equipment rental fees. "With respect to jurisdiction over fees for equipment, the FCC does not regulate the fees charged — such matters lie within the purview of other agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission." Chairman Pai went on to say that the Restoring Internet Freedom Order restored the broad authority of the FTC to take enforcement action against unfair acts or practices. "Informal complaints received by the [FCC] raising potentially unfair or deceptive billing practices by Internet service providers have been referred to the FTC."

Chairman Pai's Response to Rep. Quigley Regarding Equipment Rental Fees Rep Quiglley Letter to Chairman Pai