Findings of Fact

1. D.07-07-043 recognized that in-language market trials might be a way to improve services to California telecommunications consumers who do not read or speak English fluently, but deferred consideration of the issue to Phase II of R.07-01-021 to build a record upon which a decision could be made.

2. The term "market trial" used in reference to the temporary marketing of non-exempt telecommunications services, features or rate plans in a non-English language differs from traditional English language market trials because GO 96-B limits traditional market trials to new services, while in-language market trials are expected to market existing services in a non-English language in which a carrier has not previously marketed.

3. While similar in many ways to traditional market trials and promotions, in-language market trials do not fit squarely within either the definition of traditional market trials or of promotions.

4. Allowing carriers to test the responsiveness of consumers to marketing in a language in which the carrier does not already market services may improve services to California telecommunications consumers who do not read or speak English fluently.

5. A carrier that markets services in a target language during an in-language market trial and enters into long-term contracts with LEP participants who communicate in that target language, then subsequently discontinues in-language support to those consumers during or at the end of the trial, will leave LEP participants with the worst of both worlds: long-term English language agreements they do not understand, and no in-language support to explain or assist them in resolving questions or disputes.

6. The Commission previously required carriers to seek prior approval of traditional market trials by submitting a market trial description package to CD and DRA at least 30 days prior to the market trial start date. D.07-09-019 eliminated the pre-approval requirement for traditional market trials by adopting an information-only filing procedure.

7. The Commission does not require carriers to obtain approval to conduct in-language marketing on a permanent basis.

8. Pre-approval of in-language market trials will likely result in delays in implementing those trials, but would accomplish little.

9. The Commission previously required carriers conducting promotional offerings to submit a post-implementation analysis, including customer response, profitability, revenues, expenses, and customer complaints. Pursuant to D.06-08-030, promotions now require only an advice letter filing that is effective on one-day notice.

10. Selectively examining post-market trial reports from carriers that conduct in-language market trials will not help the Commission determine the effectiveness of the In-Language Marketing Rules as applied to all carriers.

11. Post-market trial reports are not needed as a basis for approving or denying authority to conduct subsequent in-language market trials.

12. A requirement to submit post-market trial reports may discourage carriers from conducting in-language market trials in less commonly spoken languages for which market responsiveness is uncertain. This will undermine the Commission's goal of improving services to telecommunications consumers who do not read or speak English fluently.

13. The Commission currently limits the duration of traditional market trials to 12 months.

14. The services that will be marketed during in-language market trials are not new services to be test marketed prior to their tariffing as permanent offerings, so the one-year duration allowed for traditional market trials is not appropriate or necessary for in-language market trials.

15. The carriers are not seeking complex information from in-language market trials, so lengthy trials are unnecessary.

16. Six months is an adequate and reasonable amount of time for carriers to test a particular language market before they should be required to comply with all of the In-Language Marketing Rules.

17. A traditional market trial may be extended for up to 20 working days when carriers indicate their intention to request authority to offer the trialed service on a permanent basis in order to avoid the interruption of customers' market trial service while a carrier's request for permanent authority to offer the service is pending.

18. It is not necessary or appropriate to grant extensions of time for conducting in-language market trials because the services marketed during in-language market trials are not new, non-tariffed services, and there is no need to tariff those services at the conclusion of a successful market trial.

19. Two years from the conclusion of an in-language market trial before repeating another trial in that language is a sufficient cooling off period to ensure that carriers do not evade compliance with the In-Language Marketing Rules by conducting serial market trials.

20. It is unreasonable discrimination in violation of § 453 for a carrier to charge in-language market trial participants higher prices than other consumers solely because they speak certain languages.

21. It is necessary to establish an objective way to determine that a carrier is complying with the limit on the duration of in-language market trials. Notice to the Commission of the market trial start date and target language serves this purpose.

22. Prior notification to the Commission far in advance of the start date of an in-language market trial is not necessary, as long as the notification is received by the Commission no later than the start date of the in-language market trial.

23. If carriers are allowed to formally notify the Commission as late as the start date of an in-language market trial, there is no risk of compromising a marketing campaign which is unveiled to the public on the same day or close to the date that notice is provided to the Commission.

24. Commission rules currently limit the geographic scope of traditional market trials by prohibiting company-wide market trials. This limitation is to prevent carriers from offering non-tariffed services to a significant portion of their customer base, and is consistent with the intended purpose of traditional market trials to determine the marketability of new services on a small, controlled group of customers.

25. Rather than testing the "marketability of a new service," the purpose of an in-language market trial is to test "in-language marketing of non-exempt services."

26. Confining the geographic scope of in-language market trials to counties or similar geographic units is administratively complex and will not provide any apparent benefits.

27. Given the pricing flexibility granted to carriers by D.06-08-030, limiting in-language market trials geographically will not prevent carriers from extending to the entire state any special conditions applicable to in-language market trials because carriers may, but are not required to, geographically target promotional offerings.

28. Any attempt to impose geographic limits on in-language market trials can be easily frustrated because carriers could get around any Commission-imposed geographic limitations by conducting separate market trials in distinct but contiguous geographic areas where there is an overlap in the media coverage area.

29. Only Verizon California provides specific information about the duration of actual in-language market trials it has conducted. Verizon California's prior in-language market trials have lasted from three to six months.

30. With adoption of the URF, the Commission eliminated pricing restrictions for URF carriers, including those on traditional market trials or promotional offerings.

31. The Commission currently requires carriers that conduct traditional market trials to provide written notice to participants that the trial can be withdrawn at any time during the duration of the market trial, and that participation is entirely voluntary and revocable. This is required in order to reduce the number of customer complaints.

32. The Commission currently requires carriers that conduct traditional market trials to provide written notice to participants that describe the market trial, including the start and end dates of the trial, and all of prices applicable to the market trial services.

33. Providing advance notice to in-language market trial participants that customer service support in the target language will be discontinued will reduce confusion and complaints.

34. Providing participants with 30 days advance notice in the market trial target language that customer service support in the target language will be discontinued does not require carriers to invest in additional infrastructure beyond what is already needed to conduct an in-language market trial.

35. Requiring carriers to comply with Rule IV of the In-Language Marketing Rules, combined with the 180-day limit on the duration of in-language market trials, the minimum notice requirements, and the consumer protections established in R.00-02-004 will provide sufficient protections for LEP consumers during an in-language market trial.

36. CTIA's estimate does not comply with the Phase II Scoping Memo/ACR directive that parties alleging unreasonable or burdensome costs to implement or maintain an option identified in the ACR/Scoping Memo or proposed by another party support that position with specific, detailed cost information, including a description of the methodology and assumptions used in its analysis.

37. AT&T's cost estimates to set up tracking systems within AT&T California and AT&T Mobility, including cost information, the methodology and the assumptions used to develop its estimates, comply with the Phase II Scoping Memo/ACR.

38. AT&T's estimated costs to set up tracking systems within AT&T California and AT&T Mobility are substantial, and are based on a reasonable methodology and assumptions.

39. The Legislature enacted § 2892.3 through SB 318 in 1993. The purpose of SB 318 was to provide criminal penalties against those who seek to avoid payment for cellular telephone services obtained by the use of a cellular device.

40. Establishing fraud notice and reporting requirements applicable only to LEP consumers before considering these issues for other consumers will result in potential confusion, where fraud notice and reporting requirements might apply to some carriers, customers or services but not to others.

41. The type of fraud that R.07-01-021 seeks to address is different than the fraud addressed in § 2892.3.

42. The scope of R.07-01-021 is limited to issues facing LEP consumers, and the Commission is therefore limited to considering § 2892.3 in this context. To consider requiring carriers to report fraud and provide notice to not only LEP consumers but to all customers goes beyond the scope of this proceeding.

43. The Commission is implementing steps that will help it obtain the information it needs to better identify fraud against LEP consumers and to inform those consumers about ways to avoid fraud, and to do this in a way that does not discourage carriers' in-language marketing efforts.

44. Pursuant to D.07-07-043, the Commission established the TEAM Program to manage a statewide network of CBOs to facilitate outreach and further telecommunications education and complaint resolution services to California's LEP consumers.

45. Utilizing CBOs that serve LEP consumers whose primary languages include, but are not limited to, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Thai, Hmong, Arabic, Farsi, Khmer, Armenian, and Russian (Targeted Communities) is a more effective way to reach LEP consumers than relying on carriers to educate LEP consumers.

46. The TEAM Program's education component consists of information about telecommunications choices, consumer rights, and consumer protections, including, but not limited to, issues addressed in the Commission's CalPhoneInfo brochures and advisories.

47. The TEAM Program's outreach component is intended to make LEP consumers in Targeted Communities aware of available information and complaint assistance services, and will use a variety of means, including, among other things, public service announcements, meetings with community leaders and other community organizations, posting information on public bulletin boards and the Internet, and participating in community events.

48. The Commission requires the TEAM Program to, at a minimum, track demographic information for the clients served, type and disposition of complaint handled, and the training or information provided.

49. The Commission requires the TEAM Administrator to submit monthly, quarterly and annual reports that analyze the impact of outreach efforts, educational activities, and complaint resolution services, and to identify areas requiring improvement.

50. The TEAM Program will provide the Commission with useful information on effective ways to help inform and educate LEP consumers about fraud.

51. Carriers have an opportunity to address and resolve customer concerns before the customer turns to CAB because CAB requires callers to contact their carrier before it will assist them.

52. CIMS data alone will not provide the Commission with complete information about the needs of LEP consumers, and no information about those LEP consumers who do not complain to the Commission.

53. "Expressions of dissatisfaction" contained in the Phase II Scoping Memo/ACR's proposed definition would include inquiries about legally required charges which may result from a customer's lack of knowledge, and which should not be treated as complaints. At the same time, excluding "expressions of dissatisfaction" from the definition will not allow the Commission to determine how LEP consumers feel about the services and treatment they receive from carriers.

54. No party has proposed a way to reconcile the dilemma of how to capture information on how LEP consumers feel about the services and treatment they receive from carriers without including expressions of dissatisfaction about legally required charges about which customers may be unhappy.

55. There are significant challenges to defining a "reportable telecommunications complaint," a necessary prerequisite to tracking complaints.

56. The data generated by numerous, diverse carriers using different systems and methods to collect and report that data, will be of questionable reliability because of the subjectivity involved in identifying and classifying complaints or language preferences.

57. There are formidable challenges to carriers implementing LEP complaint and language preference tracking, and considerable uncertainty about the usefulness of information that would be produced by those tracking systems.

58. Requiring carriers to establish systems to track and report LEP consumer complaints or customer language preferences will not provide the Commission with complete, consistent, or reliable information, and the cost of establishing those systems will discourage carriers from serving LEP communities.

59. The alternatives identified at the Tracking Workshop and presented in parties' proposals provide a basis for developing more practical ways for the Commission to obtain information on the needs of LEP consumers.

60. The Commission's efforts to integrate CBOs into its education, outreach and complaint resolution processes will reduce the barriers which discourage LEP consumers from following though with their complaints.

61. The Commission's CalPhoneInfo website is a good start for ensuring that LEP consumers are informed about ways to protect against fraud because the CalPhoneInfo website brochures already provide information on how consumers can protect against many of the most common kinds of fraud.

62. Centralizing information about ways to protect against fraud on the Commission's CalPhoneInfo website will ensure consistency and timeliness of the information available to consumers, and will be easier to maintain and update.

63. Centralizing information about ways to protect against fraud on the Commission's CalPhoneInfo website is more administratively efficient and cost effective than requiring carriers to conduct duplicative efforts. Informal contacts with CAB that are recorded in the CIMS database, are easily identified, and provide objective indications of the kinds of LEP concerns the Commission wants to know about.

64. Publishing information on LEP consumer contacts with CAB will assist consumers in making informed decisions.

65. The quality of a carrier's products and services is an important factor that consumers take into consideration when making purchasing decisions.

66. Customer complaints are an important measure of consumers' satisfaction with a carrier's products and services.

67. Excluding carrier specific information from data on LEP consumer contacts with CAB that should be made publicly available is inconsistent with the State's telecommunications policy to encourage fair treatment of consumers through provision of sufficient information for making informed choices.

68. Appropriate disclosures accompanying published CAB data will adequately address the concern that the Commission is endorsing one carrier over another.

69. Concerns that published information on LEP consumer contacts with CAB will not provide context is easily addressed by including appropriate disclosures with the published data.

70. CDT-Joint Consumer Groups' proposal for carriers to report complaints escalated through a carrier's appeals process and LIF's proposal to track telephone calls to a carrier's in-language customer service each capture only a fraction of all complaints.

71. The quality and reliability of the data produced under CDT-Joint Consumer Groups' or LIF's complaint tracking proposals is not better than that available from the CIMS database but would be more costly and require greater administrative coordination than using CIMS data.

72. Relying on CIMS data has the added benefit of motivating carriers to satisfactorily resolve LEP customer concerns so that customers are not compelled to call CAB for help and have that event recorded in CIMS.

73. Some carriers routinely conduct customer satisfaction surveys.

74. AT&T uses the results from its Marketing Satisfaction and Customer Experience Evaluation surveys to measure the customer service provided by its Language Centers.

75. A customer satisfaction survey will be far less costly than requiring carriers to establish and maintain tracking systems.

76. The Field Research estimate is a reasonable approximation of the costs that will be incurred to conduct a customer satisfaction survey.

77. The estimated cost of the pilot test and customer satisfaction survey are minimal when compared to the costs to establish and maintain carrier operated tracking systems.

78. The issues Field Research identifies with respect to conducting a survey of LEP consumers do not present insurmountable logistical problems.

79. A consumer satisfaction survey of LEP customers will help the Commission better understand how LEP customers are treated by carriers and to identify the concerns of LEP consumers who may not file complaints.

80. A customer satisfaction survey is a reasonable way for the Commission to obtain information about LEP consumers because a customer satisfaction survey is doable at a reasonable cost, will not impose an undue financial burden on carriers, and is feasible using existing infrastructure.

81. The share of the cost of the consumer satisfaction survey and pilot test that would be borne by carriers with less than $10 million in annual intrastate revenues will be approximately $43,000.00, or less than 2% of the estimated cost of the survey and pilot test.

82. Most of the carriers with less than $10 million in annual intrastate revenues would bear a cost obligation of less than $100 each for their share of the cost of the consumer satisfaction survey and pilot test.

83. It will be administratively burdensome and not cost-effective to collect from several hundred small carriers with less than $10 million in annual intrastate revenues their portion of costs for the consumer satisfaction survey and pilot test.

84. It is premature to conclude that a formal and comprehensive proceeding is necessary because it is not yet known which, if any, changes to the In-Language Marketing Rules will be required to better meet the needs of LEP consumers.

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