Sources for: They don’t listen!
It’s hard to file a complaint
James Roots, executive director of the Canadian Association of the Deaf, testified before the CRTC (large file) as follows:
With nobody in authority monitoring the captioning, the onus is entirely on the viewer to monitor and file complaints.
While online complaint forms have made the latter task easier, there is still the fact that people watch TV for relaxation. Consequently, they aren’t that much inclined to rouse themselves and reach for the TTY, or to move over to the computer desk to go through the time-consuming process of registering a complaint.
What response do we get when we do file a formal complaint with the Commission? The CRTC asks the broadcaster to respond to us. The licensee tells us that the problem has been fixed, and it will never happen again.
Complaints during an FCC call for comments
Some of the responses dealt explicitly with captioning complaints.
- From WGBH:
he feedback loop between caption consumers and program providers and producers is very weak. Communication between caption consumers and program distributors requires clear points of contact, widely-published voice and TTY numbers and knowledge of relay services, staffing into the prime-time and nighttime hours, and knowledge and understanding of caption quality issues by program providers, local cable operators and local TV stations. Without those means of communication and points of contact, it’s no wonder that complaints rarely reach the providers. Without such a feedback loop, many providers may assume that a low-cost and low-quality captioning service is adequate, not hearing otherwise from consumers.
Complaints from consumers more frequently arrive on the doorstep of the captioning agency, which may or may not be responsible for faulty caption services. That caption agency is reliant on the good will of their clients and has an inherent conflict in bringing complaints to the large corporations which are funding them.
- From TDI itself:
In order to bring a complaint, a consumer needs to (1) know to whom a complaint should be directed, and (2) have the means of transmitting the complaint to that person. At a minimum, consumers should be able to direct a complaint either to the Commission and/or to the distributor. The methods by which complaints can be made should include all of the following, with the expectation that such complaints are investigated upon receipt: E-mail, fax, TTY, mail, phone, and, preferably, a Web site designed to process such complaints.
Consumers often have difficulty determining where they need to file their complaints. Because of the complexities of television programming distribution, the average consumer often does not know who is responsible for compliance with the captioning obligations – most consumers are at a loss as to whether a complaint needs to go to the to the local station, a national network provider, a cable network or the local cable franchise. While it may be advantageous for consumers who are savvy enough to know how to bring their complaints to the appropriate entity in the video industry to do so before going to the FCC, all consumers should have the option of bringing their complaints to the FCC, wherein the complaint can be re-directed to the appropriate distributor for response.