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Consumer Rights

Statement of Nondiscrimination

Margaretville Telephone Company is the recipient of Federal financial assistance from the Rural Electrification Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and is subject to the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, and the rules and regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture which provide that no person in the United States on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, or handicap shall be excluded from participation in, admission or access to, denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any of this organization’s programs or activities.

The person responsible for coordinating this organization’s nondiscrimination compliance efforts is Douglas G. Hinkley, President. Any individual, or specific class of individuals, who feels that this organization has subjected them to discrimination may obtain further information about the statutes and regulations listed above from and/or file a written complaint with this organization; or the Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250; or the Administrator, Rural Electrification Administration, Washington, D.C. 20250. Complaints must be filed within 180 days after the alleged discrimination. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible.

Your Rights And Responsibilities As A Residential Customer

As a Margaretville Telephone Company, Inc. customer, you have certain rights and responsibilities. These rights and responsibilities result from New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) Rules Governing Provision of Telephone Service to Residential Customers.

Questions Or Problems

Contact us as soon as possible if you have any questions or complaints about your telephone service. We will try to give you a prompt answer. Our representatives are available to help you between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM during business days.

To get your questions answered fully and as quickly as possible, we suggest you call our Business Office at 586-3311. If you prefer, you can write to Margaretville Telephone Company, Inc., P.O. Box 260, Margaretville, NY 12455 or visit our Business Office. As with any correspondence, please include your telephone number and as much information about the problem as you can. Whether you phone, write, or visit, our service representatives will do their best to handle your inquiry promptly and considerately. If, however, you are not satisfied with our representative’s response, please ask to speak to a supervisor. If you are still not satisfied, you can call or write to the Public Service Commission (PSC) at Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, N.Y. 12223. They have a staff available to give you assistance if you request it. The telephone number is 1-800-342-3377 (toll free) between 8:30 AM and 4:45 PM on business days.

While your complaint is being considered by the Public Service Commission, we will not disconnect your service for failure to pay the amount in question. However, all undisputed bills must be paid when due to ensure continued service.

Billing

We have a responsibility to provide reliable telephone service to our customers, and you have a responsibility to pay bills for telephone service promptly. Bills are due by the payment date shown on your monthly bill.

Where to pay. The most convenient way to pay is by mail, using the return envelope enclosed with your bill. You can also pay in person at our Business Office, 50 Swart St., Margaretville NY

Final Termination Notice

If payment is not received 23 days from the date of the bill, Margaretville Telephone Company, Inc. has the right to mail you a Termination Notice. Termination of service (you will be unable to either make or receive calls) may occur no sooner than 20 days after the notice is mailed. This Termination Notice allows you the opportunity to arrange payment and avoid interruption of service.

The Termination Notice also advises you of the availability of a Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) and describes its provisions. (See Deferred Payment Agreement.) If you are eligible for, and sign a DPA, we will not disconnect your service as long as you make the agreed upon payments. If there are no questions about the bill and you fail to pay the amount shown on your Termination Notice or, if eligible, do not enter in to a DPA with us, your service will be terminated. Should you qualify for the Special Protections, your service will not be terminated. Customers with terminated service or cancelled accounts may be required to pay a deposit to reestablish service.

Application For Partial Payments Only

If you make a partial payment, which does not exactly equal a past due total balance, and it is received within the first 10 days after the first of the month, your payment will be applied first to past due charges for basic service, then to past due charges for other services prior to application to any current charges.

Such payments received 11 days or more after the first of the month will be applied first to total basic service charges, including current charges, prior to application to charges for other services.

When Service Can Be Terminated

We are allowed to terminate residential telephone service for nonpayment only between 8:30 AM and 4:00 PM Mondays through Thursdays. We cannot terminate service on a public holiday, the day before a holiday, any day our Business Office is closed, or during the period of December 23rd through December 26th and December 30th through January 2nd.

Reconnection of Service

If we terminate your service, we will reconnect it within 24 hours after you have paid the amount due, or signed a Deferred Payment Agreement and made the down payment. If service is terminated, there will be a restoral fee to reconnect the service.

Deferred Payment Agreement

If you have a problem that prevents you from paying your bills, you may be eligible to sign a Deferred Payment Agreement. We are only required to offer a DPA on Basic Local Service. No more than $150.00 can be deferred. Under the DPA you will be obligated to make regular installment payments for a period of time up to 5 months to pay the deferred amount and make payment of current charges for service by the due date stated on each month’s bill. A down payment may be required in the amount of 20% (1/5) of the deferred amount, or in an amount equal to three month’s average billing for your account, whichever is less, plus any past due amount in excess of $150.00. Other long distance charges may be restricted unless satisfactory payment arrangements can be arranged. The agreement can be changed if you show us that there are significant changes in your financial condition beyond your control. If you need assistance in understanding a Deferred Payment Agreement or assistance in reaching an agreement with us, the Public Service Commission has a staff available to help you. You may reach one of their representatives at 1-800-342-3377 (toll free) between 8:30 AM and 4:45 PM on business days.

Special Protections

Medical Emergency – if you are unable to pay your bill and a medical emergency exists in your household, we can help you. If you file a medical certificate with us, signed and submitted on the official stationery of your doctor or an official of the local Board of Health stating the nature of the serious illness or medical condition, we continue your service for 30 days. The medical certificate can be renewed. To do so, your doctor or an official of the local Board of Health must explain the expected duration of the emergency and why service is needed, AND you must demonstrate why you are unable to pay your telephone bill. During the emergency, we will not terminate your service because of nonpayment of the outstanding amount. We will also defer payment of up to $30.00 for each bill you receive while the emergency exists, but you remain responsible for your bills.

Elderly (62 or older), Blind, Disabled – In residences where all members of the household are known to the Telephone Company to be 62 years of age or older, 18 years of age or younger, blind or disabled, we will continue service for an additional 20 days after the date of termination as stated on the Termination Notice. Margaretville Telephone Company, Inc. will attempt to contact the customer or an adult resident at the customer’s premise at least eight days prior to the date on which service may be terminated to try to work out a payment arrangement.

Third Party Notification

All residential customers may choose a third party to receive copies of all credit notices. A third party notice may keep your service from being turned off by mistake.

You may choose a relative, friend, a member of the clergy or a community agency to be a third party for you. The selected party must agree to be a third party and will receive copies of any credit notices we send to you because of overdue bills. The third party can contact us on your behalf and help you work out any payment terms with us. Remember, however, that the third party is NOT responsible for paying your bills.

Application For Special Rights Program

If you believe you may be entitled to certain protections as described, you may obtain the necessary forms from our Business Office.

Please fill in the blanks and check the appropriate box(es). Then sign and date the form and return it to the Business Office. Our address is P.O. Box 260, Margaretville, NY 12455.

Margaretville Telephone Company, Inc. enjoys a good relationship with our customers and stands ready to assist customers in making it possible to continue to enjoy telephone service by making payment arrangements when special circumstances arise.

We sincerely hope you are satisfied with the telephone service we are providing, but if at any time you have a problem, please contact our Business Office and give us an opportunity to correct any problems that may exist.

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