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Schwarzenegger-appointed commissioners (not yet confirmed!) on the California's PUC have killed the 8-month old CA Telecom Consumer Bill of Rights, after five years of effort by consumer advocates, telephonyonline.com :
Upon its approval last year, the Telecommunications Consumer Bill of Rights was widely viewed as the toughest statewide wireless phone regulations in the U.S. Its creation was prompted by consumer complaints alleging false advertising and confusing billing practices, which the bill attempted to combat with a provision granting dissatisfied subscribers the right to cancel their contracts without penalty within the first 30 days of service. The regulations also mandated clearer explanations of all rates, taxes and fees; listing contract terms in easy-to-read 10-point type; and more assistance for non-English speaking customers.

... The CPUC's decision also generated objections from state Attorney General Bill Lockyer and all 58 of California's district attorneys, who claim that wireless-based consumer complaints are diverting their time and energy from other law enforcement issues.

www.smdailyjournal.org :
Consumer advocates worry that this week's decision by the California Public Utilities Commission to suspend protections for cell phone users signals a shift within the powerful regulatory agency, tipping its focus toward the interests of business.

They warn it could lead to fewer consumer protections and another attempt at electricity deregulation, which resulted in blackouts and soaring utility costs just four years ago.

... Thursday's vote to suspend the bill of rights was the PUC's first major decision since the Dec. 31 departure of commissioners Loretta Lynch and Carl Wood, who were considered strong advocates for consumers and had reached the end of their terms.

In their place, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Dian Grueneich, an attorney with a background in energy and environmental issues, and high-tech entrepreneur Steve Poizner, who spent $6 million of his own money in an unsuccessful bid for the state Assembly last fall.

Grueneich was sworn in last week. Poizner has not yet been sworn in, so he didn't take part in Thursday's vote. Neither has been confirmed by the Senate yet but can serve for up to a year without confirmation.

www.sfgate.com :

The California Public Utilities Commission decided Thursday to suspend its 8-month-old bill of rights for telephone customers, considered among the most sweeping consumer protection rules in the country.

... Geoffrey Brown, the only other commissioner to vote for the rules last year, condemned the suspension in a lengthy speech, saying it was a first step toward gutting the regulations. Brown said he was particularly upset that the proposal was rushed onto the PUC's agenda without a hearing or much notice.

"This is the most shameful process I've seen in my four years on the commission," Brown said. "This ill-considered, hurried action will haunt us for years."

www.wirelessweek.com :

The rules now must go back to CPUC Commissioner Susan Kennedy's office for review, from which, say bill of rights proponents, it will most likely never re-emerge. Kennedy, a staunch pro-business Democrat, backed the suspension among the CPUC commissioners and was its most vocal opponent last year.

Proponents of more consumer-friendly rules said their efforts to get more billing and service protections for consumers would now probably start again from scratch. The process of getting the consumer bill of rights from an idea to state law took about five years.

Which do you use more for voice calls?

  • Landline 30%
  • Wireless 69%
  • Broadband 0%
13 votes