ALBANY, N.Y., May 25 -- The New York State Public Service Commission issued the following determination:
CASE 12-V-0443 - In the Matter of the Rules and Regulations of the Public Service Commission, Contained in 16 NYCRR, in Relation to Complaint Procedures--Appeal by Mr. Thomas L. Campanile of the Informal Decision Rendered in Favor of Time Warner Cable (100113).
The Commission received an appeal by Mr. Thomas F. Campanile (Mr. Campanile or the complainant) from an informal review decision, dated September 20, 2012, in favor of Time Warner Cable (TWC or the company). The informal review officer found no basis to credit Mr. Campanile $114.68 for a claimed, three-month overcharge for a HD converter box. For the reasons discussed below, the Commission upholds the informal review officer's decision.
On January 6, 2011, Complainant contacted the Department of Public Service, Office of Consumer Services (OCS) to file a complaint relating to a bill dispute with TWC. Mr. Campanile had filed a previous case with OCS against TWC in 2009.(1) His 2011 case alleged a sole issue; according to complainant he had been incorrectly charged for a HD converter box (2) from July 1 to September 30, 2010 because it had only been installed on September 8, 2010. On June 30, 2011 TWC responded to complainant and OCS stating that all credits due to Mr. Campanile had been provided. Mr. Campanile continued to dispute the $114.68 amount relating to his HD converter box and requested an informal hearing on July 13, 2011.
OCS made many attempts to schedule and conduct an informal hearing; however, no such hearing was held due to the unavailability of the complainant. Mr. Campanile requested an informal hearing on September 15, 2011, after receiving an initial determination from OCS on August 5, 2011. An informal hearing was scheduled October 12, 2011 however, it was not held. Another hearing was scheduled but not held on July 11, 2012 (3); Mr. Campanile states that he did not receive notice of the hearing.
Instead, on September 20, 2012, the assigned officer rendered an informal review determination (IRD).(4) The informal review officer examined, at length, the TWC invoices for the period in question; however, he was unable to substantiate any discrete charge on Mr. Campanile's bills for a HD converter box. Consequently, he concluded that the TWC bills were correct and no bill adjustment was due the complainant.
POINTS ON APPEAL
By letter dated October 1, 2012, the complainant appeals the informal review officer's decision, disagreeing with the process employed, the review officer's determinations, and the final result.
The Commission finds that reasonable and proper efforts were made to hold an informal hearing in this case; however, due to Mr. Campanile's seasonal residency in the State, and the difficulties encountered in corresponding with him, there was no informal hearing held.(5) Mr. Campanile's appeal does not request a hearing at this time and the Commission finds that a hearing is not likely to yield any new or useful information concerning the complaint or the customer's account transactions with TWC. Accordingly, the Commission finds that all necessary determinations can be made on the established record and on the basis of the informal review officer's September 20, 2012 determination.
At the conclusion of Mr. Campanile's earlier complaint with TWC in 2009, the matter of the HD converter box charges remained outstanding and unresolved. On July 14, 2011, TWC provided its accounting of the customer billings to the informal review officer. The company provided a spreadsheet showing the charges, payments, and credits applied to Mr. Campanile's account between October 2009 and June 2011. TWC states that there is no charge reflected on any billing statement for a HD converter. Instead, the company points to the "All The Best Package" that Mr. Campanile began to receive on September 8, 2011. Previously, he had subscribed to Broadcast Basic and Standard Service. On September 8, his rate changed and he received a discount for the package which appeared as a credit on his bill. TWC's position is as follows:
It is our assumption, however, that Mr. Campanile wanted to retroactively apply this package discount he began receiving on September 8th to his services effective July 1st. Unfortunately, Mr. Campanile did not subscribe to our All The Best Package in July--he subscribed to individual services and was charged the corresponding rate for his services. TWC offers different rates for different products based on a number of factors.
5 The September 20, 2012 informal review decision recites the multiple efforts made to hold an informal hearing and to notify the complainant in advance.
Since TWC did not start charging Mr. Campanile for a HD converter until September 8, 2010, there is no basis for providing a credit in the amount of $114.68. A discount package cannot be applied retroactively, and our detailed billing statements do not show a charge for an HD converter as Mr. Campanile asserts.
As to the informal review officer's handling of this case, the Commission finds that he did not favor either party and was impartial (6), exhibiting no prejudice or favoritism. As the September 20, 2012 determination demonstrates, the officer neither accepted TWC's assessment of the billing confusion and uncertainty; nor, did he accept the complainant's unsubstantiated assertions concerning a HD converter box charge.(7)
Further, the IRD fully demonstrated the officer's familiarity with the account billing information and his ability to evaluate it. Complainant's spreadsheet of his account billings payments and credits, from October 2009 to December 2010, merely asserts a $114.68 outstanding balance is attributable to an HD converter box charge but it does not otherwise demonstrate this to be the case. In these circumstances, the informal review officer correctly found that the adjustments that the complainant received in his prior case were sufficient and the account balance was accurate at the completion of those proceedings. From its review of the record in this case, the Commission finds that the $114.68 bill credit that complainant seeks is not derived, in whole or in part, from any of the bills TWC submitted to the complainant for the services he received.
Further, no amount of examination of the TWC bills, or Mr. Campanile's summary spreadsheet, is able to yield the $114.68 HC converter box charge that the complainant has presented here. Thus, the Commission finds that the informal review officer's determination is a proper resolution of the case.
To assure that all aspects of this case have been properly addressed, the complaint file has been thoroughly reviewed. The Commission determines that the record in this case contains no basis to provide the complainant a $114.68 bill credit on account of a HD converter box. Therefore, the complainant's appeal is denied and the informal review decision is upheld.
1. Case 020392. Mr. Campanile received $733.15 in bill credits from TWC in this case.
2. HD converter box is a high definition digital converter box for non-high definition televisions. This converter box allows the reception of HD signals.
3. The hearing date is incorrectly stated as July 4, 2012 in the complainant's appeal.
4. 16 NYCRR Section 12.6(b) provides that the presence of either the customer or the utility is not required. Additionally, an informal review is an option when the customer is unable or prefers not to participate in an informal hearing.
6. 16 NYCRR Section 12.6(a)(2)
7. 16 NYCRR Section 12.1(c)states that, "a customer making a complaint is responsible for providing staff with any facts that he or she possesses in support of his or her position."
Targeted News Service, source News Service