92-f. Prepaid telephone calling card consumer protections. 1. Definitions. For the purposes of this section, unless the context or subject matter otherwise requires, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
a. "Company" means any entity providing prepaid calling services to the public using its own or a resold telecommunications network;
b. "Prepaid calling services" or "services" means any prepaid telecommunications service that allows consumers to originate calls through an access number and authorization code, whether manually or electronically dialed;
c. "Prepaid calling card" or "card" means any object purchased for a sum certain that contains an access number and authorization code that enables a consumer to use prepaid calling services. It does not include any object of that type used for promotional purposes;
d. "Cellular telephone services" means commercial mobile telephone services.
2. Disclosure requirements. Any company that provides prepaid calling services through prepaid calling cards shall be required to print legibly on each card the following information:
a. name of the company;
b. toll-free customer service number;
c. toll-free network access number, if such number is required to access service;
d. authorization code, if such code is required to access service;
e. any expiration date or expiration policy; and
f. instructions for use of the card.
3. Any company that provides prepaid calling services through prepaid calling cards shall print legibly on each card or packaging the following information:
a. any surcharges or fees, including monthly fees per-call access fees, or surcharges for the first minute of use that may be applicable to the use of the prepaid calling card or prepaid calling services within the United States;
b. any additional or different prices, rates, or unit values applicable to international usage of the prepaid calling card or prepaid calling services;
c. any minimum charge per call, such as a three minute minimum charge;
d. any charge for calls that do not connect; and,
e. any recharge policy.
4. Customer service requirements. a. Any company that provides prepaid calling services shall establish and maintain a toll-free customer service telephone number with a live operator to answer incoming calls twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to receive customer complaints and to provide information, including, but not limited to, the following:
i. description of rates, surcharges and fees;
ii. description of the company's recharge, refund, and expiration policies;
iii. if applicable, the amount of value remaining on the consumer's account; and
iv. terms and conditions of service and monthly service charges.
b. Any company offering prepaid cellular telephone services shall be deemed to be in compliance with the requirements of this section if, when a request for information is made outside of normal business hours, that company provides the information requested on the next business day.
5. Return and refund policies. Any company that provides prepaid calling services shall provide a refund to any purchaser of a prepaid calling card or service if the network services associated with the card or service fail to operate in a commercially reasonable manner. The refund required by this section shall be in an amount not less than the value remaining on the card in the form of a replacement card or additional time on the card and shall be provided to the consumer within sixty days from the date of receipt of notification from the consumer that the card has failed to operate in a commercially reasonable manner.
6. Cards without a specific expiration date or policy printed on the card and with a balance of service remaining shall be considered active for a minimum of one year from the date of purchase, or if recharged, from the date of the last recharge.
7. In the case of prepaid calling cards or services utilized at a pay phone, the company may provide a voice prompt notification of any applicable pay phone surcharges, in lieu of providing notice of surcharges as required by subdivision three of this section.
8. Enforcement. The commission shall have the power, consistent with federal law, to assess a penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars against any company that provides prepaid calling cards or services that knowingly fails or neglects to comply with any provision of this section or any regulation or order of the commission implementing or enforcing the provisions of this section. All moneys recovered from any administrative penalty shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the general fund.
Last modified: September 11, 2016