Within one year after October 8, 2010, the Commission shall establish regulations that facilitate the filing of formal and informal complaints that allege a violation of section 255, 617, or 619 of this title, establish procedures for enforcement actions by the Commission with respect to such violations, and implement the recordkeeping obligations of paragraph (5) for manufacturers and providers subject to such sections. Such regulations shall include the following provisions:(1) No fee
The Commission shall not charge any fee to an individual who files a complaint alleging a violation of section 255, 617, or 619 of this title.(2) Receipt of complaints
The Commission shall establish separate and identifiable electronic, telephonic, and physical receptacles for the receipt of complaints filed under section 255, 617, or 619 of this title.(3) Complaints to the Commission (A) In general
Any person alleging a violation of section 255, 617, or 619 of this title by a manufacturer of equipment or provider of service subject to such sections may file a formal or informal complaint with the Commission.(B) Investigation of informal complaint
The Commission shall investigate the allegations in an informal complaint and, within 180 days after the date on which such complaint was filed with the Commission, issue an order concluding the investigation, unless such complaint is resolved before such time. The order shall include a determination whether any violation occurred.
(i) If the Commission determines that a violation has occurred, the Commission may, in the order issued under this subparagraph or in a subsequent order, direct the manufacturer or service provider to bring the service, or in the case of a manufacturer, the next generation of the equipment or device, into compliance with requirements of those sections within a reasonable time established by the Commission in its order.
The Commission may consolidate for investigation and resolution complaints alleging substantially the same violation.(4) Opportunity to respond
Before the Commission makes a determination pursuant to paragraph (3), the party that is the subject of the complaint shall have a reasonable opportunity to respond to such complaint, and may include in such response any factors that are relevant to such determination. Before issuing a final order under paragraph (3)(B)(i), the Commission shall provide such party a reasonable opportunity to comment on any proposed remedial action.(5) Recordkeeping
(A) Beginning one year after the effective date of regulations promulgated pursuant to section 617(e) of this title, each manufacturer and provider subject to sections 255, 617, and 619 of this title shall maintain, in the ordinary course of business and for a reasonable period, records of the efforts taken by such manufacturer or provider to implement sections 255, 617, and 619 of this title, including the following:
(i) Information about the manufacturer's or provider's efforts to consult with individuals with disabilities.
(ii) Descriptions of the accessibility features of its products and services.
(iii) Information about the compatibility of such products and services with peripheral devices or specialized customer premise equipment commonly used by individuals with disabilities to achieve access.
(B) An officer of a manufacturer or provider shall submit to the Commission an annual certification that records are being kept in accordance with subparagraph (A).
(C) After the filing of a formal or informal complaint against a manufacturer or provider, the Commission may request, and shall keep confidential, a copy of the records maintained by such manufacturer or provider pursuant to subparagraph (A) of this paragraph that are directly relevant to the equipment or service that is the subject of such complaint.(6) Failure to act
If the Commission fails to carry out any of its responsibilities to act upon a complaint in the manner prescribed in paragraph (3), the person that filed such complaint may bring an action in the nature of mandamus in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to compel the Commission to carry out any such responsibility.(7) Commission jurisdiction
The limitations of section 255(f) of this title shall apply to any claim that alleges a violation of section 255, 617, or 619 of this title. Nothing in this paragraph affects or limits any action for mandamus under paragraph (6) or any appeal pursuant to section 402(b)(10) of this title.(8) Private resolutions of complaints
Nothing in the Commission's rules or this chapter shall be construed to preclude a person who files a complaint and a manufacturer or provider from resolving a formal or informal complaint prior to the Commission's final determination in a complaint proceeding. In the event of such a resolution, the parties shall jointly request dismissal of the complaint and the Commission shall grant such request.(b) Reports to Congress (1) In general
Every two years after October 8, 2010, the Commission shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives a report that includes the following:
(A) An assessment of the level of compliance with sections 255, 617, and 619 of this title.
(B) An evaluation of the extent to which any accessibility barriers still exist with respect to new communications technologies.
(C) The number and nature of complaints received pursuant to subsection (a) during the two years that are the subject of the report.
(D) A description of the actions taken to resolve such complaints under this section, including forfeiture penalties assessed.
(E) The length of time that was taken by the Commission to resolve each such complaint.
(F) The number, status, nature, and outcome of any actions for mandamus filed pursuant to subsection (a)(6) and the number, status, nature, and outcome of any appeals filed pursuant to section 402(b)(10) of this title.
(G) An assessment of the effect of the requirements of this section on the development and deployment of new communications technologies.(2) Public comment required
The Commission shall seek public comment on its tentative findings prior to submission to the Committees of the report under this subsection.(c) Comptroller General enforcement study (1) In general
The Comptroller General shall conduct a study to consider and evaluate the following:
(A) The Commission's compliance with the requirements of this section, including the Commission's level of compliance with the deadlines established under and pursuant to this section and deadlines for acting on complaints pursuant to subsection (a).
(B) Whether the enforcement actions taken by the Commission pursuant to this section have been appropriate and effective in ensuring compliance with this section.
(C) Whether the enforcement provisions under this section are adequate to ensure compliance with this section.
(D) Whether, and to what extent (if any), the requirements of this section have an effect on the development and deployment of new communications technologies.(2) Report
Not later than 5 years after October 8, 2010, the Comptroller General shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives a report on the results of the study required by paragraph (1), with recommendations for how the enforcement process and measures under this section may be modified or improved.(d) Clearinghouse
Within one year after October 8, 2010, the Commission shall, in consultation with the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, trade associations, and organizations representing individuals with disabilities, establish a clearinghouse of information on the availability of accessible products and services and accessibility solutions required under sections 255, 617, and 619 of this title. Such information shall be made publicly available on the Commission's website and by other means, and shall include an annually updated list of products and services with access features.(e) Outreach and education
Upon establishment of the clearinghouse of information required under subsection (d), the Commission, in coordination with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, shall conduct an informational and educational program designed to inform the public about the availability of the clearinghouse and the protections and remedies available under sections 255, 617, and 619 of this title.
(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title VII, §717, as added Pub. L. 111–260, title I, §104(a), Oct. 8, 2010, 124 Stat. 2758; amended Pub. L. 111–265, §2(3), Oct. 8, 2010, 124 Stat. 2795.)
This chapter, referred to in subsec. (a)(8), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.
2010—Subsec. (a)(5)(C). Pub. L. 111–265 substituted "provider," for "provider in the manner prescribed in paragraph (3),".
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