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SECTION 224-A
Consumer protection
Public Service (PBS) CHAPTER 48, ARTICLE 11
§ 224-a. Consumer protection. 1. Notification of commission. Every
cable television company shall notify the commission of any network
change or significant programming change no later than the later
occurring of forty-five days prior to the network change or significant
programming change or five business days after the cable television
company first knows of such change.

2. Notification of subscribers. (a) Every cable television company
shall notify each of its subscribers who are receiving the network of
programming subject to change or are affected by a network change or
significant programming change of such change no later than the later
occurring of thirty-days prior to such change or thirty days after the
cable television company first knows of such change.

(b) Such notice shall be given to each affected subscriber in any one
of the following forms:

(1) (i) by the mailing of separate written notice to the subscriber's
billing address of record;

(ii) by a written notation printed on the subscriber's regular billing
statement; or

(iii) by a written notice accompanying the subscriber's regular
billing statement.

(2) Such notice shall also promptly be given by a written on-screen
visual message prominently displayed on the affected television program
channel or channels, and on the program listing channel of the cable
system, if one is provided, at least once each hour for no less than a
thirty-day period.

(c) Upon application of a cable television company, the commission may
order that no notice need be provided pursuant to this subdivision upon
a written finding under standards to be promulgated by the commission
that a change was not a network change or significant programming change
as defined in subdivisions thirteen and fourteen of section two hundred
twelve of this article.

(d) Upon application of a cable television company, the commission may
order that an applicable form of notice as defined in paragraph (b) of
this subdivision or notice period as provided for in paragraph (a) of
this subdivision be changed for a particular notice, upon a written
finding that such an order is in the best interests of the subscribers
or is otherwise warranted for reasons of practicality. Upon a written
finding that a cable television company's compliance with subparagraph
two of paragraph (b) of this subdivision is technically unfeasible, the
commission may grant to such company a general waiver of compliance. Any
cable television company granted a general waiver pursuant to this
paragraph shall notify the commission within three days if compliance
becomes technically feasible.

(e) Upon application of a subscriber or upon its own motion, the
commission may order that a particular notice be sent to subscribers as
the commission shall determine to be appropriate. The commission shall
make such order only upon finding that the subscribers who shall receive
notice thereunder are receiving the network or programming subject to
the change or will be affected by the network change or significant
programming change.

(f) Notification under this subdivision shall include a description of
the subscriber's rights under this section, as applicable.

3. Failure to give notice. If a cable television company fails to
comply with the notice requirements of subdivision two of this section,
any subscribers affected thereby may downgrade or terminate their
service without charge at any time up to thirty-days after the date on
which proper notice of such change is provided and such downgrade or
termination shall be deemed effective for billing purposes on the date
of such change.

4. Rate, programming, service and equipment information. (a) Each
cable television company shall provide to each of its subscribers at the
time of the initial subscription and at least semi-annually thereafter a
written description, materially accurate as of the first day of the
previous month, of all programming and other services offered on the
cable television system and of the rates and charges relating to such
programming and other services; provided however, that with respect to
the provision of such description to new subscribers the cable
television company shall also provide any notices required by this
article not included in such written description that have been provided
to current subscribers as of the date of the initial subscription. Such
written description shall, in addition, contain a statement of
significant rights accorded the subscriber pursuant to this article and
any other law, or rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto,
such statement to be in a form approved by, or at the option of the
cable television company, prepared and revised as appropriate on a
quarterly basis, by the commission. The commission may extend the time
within which a cable television company must make its semi-annual
mailing where such an extension is in the interest of such company's
subscribers or is otherwise warranted for reasons of practicality. Upon
a finding that a cable television company bills its subscribers only on
an annual basis by use of a coupon book, and makes no other regular
mailing to subscribers more often than quarterly, the commission shall
allow such cable television company to mail such written description to
its subscribers annually.

(b) Each cable television company shall provide to each person who
requests information concerning rates, programming, service charges or
procedures, or who requests any change of service, a written
description, materially accurate as of the first day of the previous
month, of the programs and services offered and of the rates and charges
relating to such programs and services. Such written description shall,
in addition, contain a statement of significant rights accorded the
subscriber pursuant to this article and any other law, or rules and
regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, such statement to be in a form
approved by, or at the option of the cable television company, prepared
and revised as appropriate on a quarterly basis, by the commission. Any
person who makes such a request in person to a cable television customer
service representative or salesperson must immediately be supplied with
a copy of such written description. Any person who makes a request by
telephone must be supplied with such written description sent by first
class mail within ten business days of such request.

(c) Each cable television company shall provide each customer service
representative and each salesperson with copies of the most current
written description and shall advise them of the requirements of this
section.

5. Downgrade and termination following notice of a network change or a
significant programming change. Where an affected subscriber, following
receipt of the notice required under paragraph (a) of subdivision two of
this section, elects in person, in writing or by telephone within
forty-five days of receiving such notice to have service terminated or
to downgrade, no charge may be imposed by the cable television company
for such downgrade or termination.

6. Discontinuance of significantly promoted programming. (a) All cable
television companies shall maintain for one year or such longer period,
not to exceed three years, as the commission shall deem necessary for
the enforcement of this section, and make available to the commission on
request, copies of all advertisements, lists or other notifications
regarding programming sent to or made available to the public.

(b) Any cable television company which promotes repeatedly, and in a
significant manner, the availability of a network on its basic service
tier and within a period of six months following such promotion, makes a
network change by moving such network from the basic service tier to a
more expensive service tier, shall:

(1) for a period of ninety days immediately following such network
change, provide oral and written notification prior to any commitment to
subscribe and prior to installation, that such network is not available,
or is not offered at the service tier where it was previously available,
or was advertised as being available; and

(2) offer to all affected subscribers who request modification of
service within thirty days following notification pursuant to
subdivision two of this section and who commenced their subscription to
the basic service tier within the ninety day period immediately
preceding the final day of such promotion or immediately preceding the
date on which such network was moved to the premium tier, whichever is
earlier, or who commenced their subscription prior to the date on which
such network was moved but within the ninety day period immediately
following the final day of such promotion and provide to all such
subscribers: either (i) refunds of all installation, upgrade, and other
one time charges, imposed on such subscribers within six months prior to
such moving of such network, upon request by an affected subscriber for
termination of service, or (ii) (A) an upgrade at no charge to the
premium service tier which carries such network, and (B) the premium
service tier which carries such network at no charge for the time period
between the last day of the promotion and six months hence.

(c) Where any cable television company promotes repeatedly, and in a
significant manner, the availability on the basic service tier of a
network which is subject to the notice requirements of subdivision two
of this section and, within six months of such promotion, fails, except
in circumstances described in paragraph (b) of this subdivision, to make
available such network as promoted, and the discontinued network was (1)
a substantial inducement to a significant number of subscribers, and (2)
continues to be reasonably available to the cable television company,
such cable television company shall, within thirty days following
notification pursuant to subdivision two of this section, offer to all
affected subscribers who commenced their subscription to the basic
service tier within the ninety day period immediately preceding the
final day of such promotion or immediately preceding the date on which
such network was discontinued, whichever is earlier, or who commenced
their subscription prior to the date on which such network was
discontinued but within the ninety day period immediately following the
final day of such promotion, and upon the request of such subscribers
provide: either (i) a termination of service and the refund of all
installation, upgrade, and other one time charges, imposed on such
subscribers within six months prior to the discontinuance of such
network, or (ii) the continuation of service and a credit to all
subscribers who request such credit equal to a portion of the
subscriber's basic service tier charges for each month or portion of a
month that such network is not available in the period of time between
the last day of the promotion and six months hence, provided however,
that any such subscriber who elects to receive such a credit of basic
service tier changes and who disputes the amount of such credit may
petition the commission for a higher amount of credit within thirty days
of the offer of credit made by the cable television company. Upon any
such petition the commission shall determine the amount of credit, if
any, which shall be provided to all qualified subscribers unless such
group relief is unreasonable in the circumstances. In determining the
amount of the credit, if any, to be provided to such subscribers by a
cable television company, the commission shall fix a fair and equitable
amount.

In fixing such fair and equitable amount the commission shall
consider:

(I) the nature, type, frequency and impact of any notices provided
subscribers that may have provided warning that such a network might be
removed or replaced or lack of such notice, (II) the value to the
affected subscribers of such network, (III) the relative cost to the
cable television company of such network as determined from published
network rate cards, (IV) the value to subscribers, and the cost to the
cable television company, of any network which has been substituted for
the terminated network or provided in lieu of such network, (V) the
availability or nonavailability, at no additional cost to the
subscriber, of any continuing program or network offerings which may be
similar in type or nature to that provided by the terminated network,
and (VI) the nature, type, frequency and impact of the promotion by the
cable television company of the terminated network and, (VII) any other
factor which the commission shall expressly find to be fairly
applicable. Notwithstanding any other provision of this subdivision, in
no event shall the commission require that such a credit be made by a
cable television company in an amount to exceed thirty-three and
one-third percent of the basic service tier charges billed or billable
to the subscriber who requests such credit for each month or portion of
a month that the subject network is not available in the period of time
between the last day of the promotion and six months hence. If the
commission is prevented by law from considering some or all of these
factors the remainder of this subdivision shall continue in effect. For
purposes of this paragraph, the term "credit" shall mean an amount of
money payable to a subscriber under the terms of this paragraph, which
amount may be paid, at the option of the cable television company, in
the form of a reduction in monthly service charges over a period of time
not to exceed six months.

(d) Where an affected subscriber following receipt of any written
notice required under subdivision two of this section that concerns
change of a network on a premium service tier, elects in writing, by
telephone or in person no later than thirty days after receiving such
notice to have service terminated or to downgrade, such subscriber may
demand (1) a rebate of all installation, upgrade, and other one time
charges relating to such premium service tier, imposed on such
subscriber within six months prior to the subject network change or
programming change, and (2) a rebate of monthly service charges that
already have been paid by such subscriber for, and only for, each such
cable television service or subscription tier or level affected by a
network change or programming change, provided however, that such rebate
shall be limited to the prorated amount already paid for the period
following the date of such network change or programming change.

(e) (1) For purposes of this subdivision, the term "promotes
repeatedly and in a significant manner" and the term "reasonably
available" shall have such meanings as the commission shall by
regulation determine.

(2) In any proceeding before the commission to determine whether the
provisions of this subdivision have been complied with, where the
question of whether the availability or promotion of a network
constituted a substantial inducement to subscribers is raised, the
commission shall consider: (i) the nature, type, frequency and impact of
the promotion of such network, and (ii) the nature, type, frequency and
impact of any reasonably prominent notices provided to subscribers that
may have provided warning that such network might be deleted or
replaced.

(3) In addition to any other defenses that may be available under
statutory or common law, it shall be an affirmative defense to any claim
of rebate pursuant to paragraph (b) or (c) of this subdivision that the
notification or advertisement that is claimed to have substantially
induced the subscriber: (i) was on a national or regional network and
did not mention any specific cable company, and (ii) that such cable
television company did not authorize, request, suggest, foster or
cooperate in making such notification or advertisement, and (iii) there
was no material relationship between the cable television company, any
of its officers, or any shareholders owning ten percent or more of its
stock and the company making the advertising, any of its officers, or
any shareholders owning ten percent or more of its stock except for
relationships between or among such companies, officers, or shareholders
for the purchasing of programming.

(4) In any determination made by the commission pursuant to this
subdivision, the commission shall set forth the factors it considered
and the significance given to such factors, including, where relevant,
those factors listed in this subdivision, and the reasons for its
decision. Such requirement may not be waived by any party or counsel.

7. (a) Whenever, upon complaint or upon its own motion, and after
giving public notice and an opportunity for a public evidentiary
hearing, which accords due process to the cable television company, the
commission finds that a cable television company has not complied with
any provision of this section, the commission shall order such
compliance therewith and may order such penalty as is hereinafter
provided.

(b) A determination of the commission, after the procedures set forth
in paragraph (a) of this subdivision have been complied with, that a
cable television company has failed to comply with any provision of this
section shall be considered a violation of subdivision one of section
two hundred twenty-seven-a of this article, and shall subject such
company to the imposition of a money forfeiture pursuant to said
subdivision. Upon a determination by the commission, upon adequate
record evidence, that a cable television company has willfully or
intentionally violated the provisions of this section, or that such a
company has repeatedly violated such provisions so as to permit a fair
inference of a willful or intentional violation by such company, the
commission may direct such company to forfeit to the state of New York a
sum to be set by the commission not to exceed three thousand dollars for
each such violation. If, in any twenty-four month period, a cable
television company violates subdivision two or six of this section on
two separate occasions, such conduct shall constitute prima facie
evidence of repeated, willful violations.

(c) Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to impair, alter,
limit, modify, enlarge, abrogate or restrict any right granted by
statutory or common law to the attorney general or any other person.

8. Other consumer protection regulations. The commission shall adopt
such other rules and regulations, providing consumer protections to
customers of cable television companies, as the commission deems
necessary and proper. The regulations shall include, but not be limited
to, provisions governing applications for service, termination,
reconnection of service, customer notice, late payment charges and
customer complaints.