All providers of local telephone service in Vermont are subject to a set of service quality standards that were established in Docket 5903. Under those standards, each provider is required to monitor and report the results of its performance in these areas to the Public Utility Commission and the Department of Public Service.
The standards cover five broad areas of service that have a substantial impact on consumers: customer reported troubles, time period for resolving customer troubles, customer service phone answering, service installation performance, and network reliability.
The Docket 5903 order also includes a “consumer bill of rights” that applies to all providers of basic telecommunications services and providers of services that rely upon the underlying basic exchange service. The consumer protection principles adopted by the Commission are:
Consumers shall have the right to:
- know and control what they are buying
- know from whom they are buying
- know the full price of the goods and services that they are purchasing
- reasonable payment terms
- fair treatment by all providers
- impartial resolution of disputes
- reasonable compensation for poor service quality
- have access to basic local exchange service as long as basic local exchange service charges are paid, regardless of whether they have paid any charges for non-basic local exchange services
- be free of improper discrimination in prices, terms, conditions, or offers
- privacy by controlling the release of information about themselves and their calling patterns and by controlling unreasonable intrusions upon their privacy
- join with other consumers for mutual benefit
These principles are embodied in Commission Rule 7.600.