How to Report a Complaint About a Cable Operator

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oversees the cable television industry regulations and enforces the compliance of each cable operator. While you should always make an effort to resolve a complaint with the cable operator directly, the FCC does provide certain avenues of recourse for consumers if their complaint goes ignored or is not addressed appropriately. Anyone who subscribes to a cable broadcast service should know how to report a complaint regarding a cable operator.

Call or write your cable operator first to see if your complaint can be handled without getting a regulatory authority involved. Remember to document the times you call and who you speak to. If you send a complaint to the cable operator in writing, make sure you keep a copy of it, along with any written responses you receive.

Contact the franchising authority next, if you do not receive a response from your cable operator regarding your complaint. The FCC assigns a franchising authority to regulate your cable operator on a local level. The appropriate franchising authority is usually identified somewhere on your cable bill.

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Realize that the cable operator makes the decisions about which programs or channels it carries. If your complaint is regarding something of that nature, contact your cable operator directly.

Contact the franchising authority if your complaint is regarding installation and rates associated with basic service, problems with customer service, signal quality or concerns over public and educational channels.

Direct your concerns about profanity or indecency, signal leakage or equipment compatibility to the FCC (see Resources below).

Report a complaint against a cable operator to the FCC if you do not receive a satisfactory response to your concerns (see Resources below).


  • Cable companies typically receive many calls on any given day. Try to remain calm and patient if you have to wait on hold, or if you can't seem to get your complaint resolved quickly.
  • The FCC requires all cable operators with 1,000 or more paid subscribers to make certain documents available to public inspection, such as those pertaining to political and children's programming, performance tests and repair logs.