Basic Local Exchange Service
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is a state agency that has authority over some aspects of the service provided by your local telephone company. When you sign up for service, the company must provide the terms and conditions of your contract or agreement including the price, contract length, and a list of features and services. In addition, a law passed by the Ohio General Assembly in 2010 maintains certain protections for Basic Local Exchange Service (BLES) customers. BLES is the simplest form of landline phone service available. BLES customers can make local calls, but typically do not have additional add-ons such as caller ID and voicemail as part of a bundled or package of services. BLES is offered by both local exchange and some competitive telecommunication companies.
BLES customer protections include:
For BLES customers, a local exchange company (LEC) may require a deposit of no more than 230 percent of a reasonable estimate of one month’s service charges.
BLES customers can request a printed directory at no additional charge. BLES customers will also be provided a free listing in the directory.
The due date must be no earlier than 14 days after the bill is postmarked.
Late Payment Fees
Most LECs charge a late payment fee that is calculated at one and a half percent of the overdue balance. However, late payment fees can vary by company.
A LEC must make reasonable efforts to repair outages within 24 hours, excluding Sundays and holidays.
Out of Service Credits
While the company is expected to repair service within 24 hours, customers experiencing outages over 72 hours will receive credit for one month of service.
A LEC may disconnect BLES customers for nonpayment of any amount past due no earlier than 14 days after the due date appearing on the customer’s bill. Additionally, the customer must be provided notice of the disconnection seven days beforehand.
A LEC must reconnect a customer whose service was disconnected for nonpayment no later than one business day after receipt of payment.
If you have questions regarding your telephone bill or service, contact your phone company. Telephone company contact information is printed on your bill. If your concern is not resolved after contacting the company, you may contact the PUCO Call Center for assistance. The PUCO Call Center can explain rules and work with you and the company to try and resolve problems. You can contact the PUCO Call Center at (800) 686-PUCO (7826) or online at www.PUCO.ohio.gov.