USAC recognizes that some telecommunications providers will disagree with its actions or decisions regarding contributions to the fund. As is the case with any administrative action or decision made by USAC, affected parties to decisions made by USAC on billing, collection, or disbursement matters can seek an appeal of those decisions. The procedures for filing an appeal with USAC or the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are outlined below.
While in most cases you may write directly to the FCC without first presenting your appeal to USAC, for disputes regarding contributions or billing and collection issues, USAC recommends that you appeal first to USAC, who then has an opportunity to resolve the appeal and grant it, if appropriate.
Any appeal must be filed within 60 days of the issuance of the decision from USAC. Pursuant to FCC rules, failure to meet this requirement will result in automatic dismissal of the appeal. See Section 54.719-54.725 of the FCC's rules for the details associated with filing an appeal.
If you agree with USAC that you missed a filing deadline but you think there were extenuating circumstances, USAC cannot waive the deadline. However, you may ask the FCC to waive the rules in your case by filing a request for a waiver with the FCC. Please note that waivers are not granted often-only in special circumstances and when a deviation from the rules would demonstrably serve the public interest.
If you have a USAC balance but are awaiting a decision from a pending appeal, you are still responsible for keeping your account current. If the amount billed for the current month is not paid in full, you will receive a late fee and the late fee will not be waived unless the disputed charges are later found to be the result of an error by USAC.
If your debt is under appeal, either at USAC or the FCC, you will not be transferred under the Debt Collection Act of 1982 (Public Law 97-365) and the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-134), as amended (the DCIA) to the Secretary of Treasury for further collection. The disputed debt will also not be subject to the “Red Light Rule,” which is included in the additional collections and disbursements rules associated with the Debt Collection Improvement Act, codified at 47 C.F.R. Parts 0 and 1. (See sections 1.1112, 1.1116, 1.1161, 1.1167, and 1.1910 of the FCC's rules).
However, you will continue to receive USAC Collection Letters during the appeals process, and if your appeal is denied, you will be subject to Red Light and to transfer under the DCIA.
There are two appeal options:
Please follow these guidelines when submitting a Letter of Appeal to USAC. Write and mail your letter to:
Universal Service Administrative Company
Letter of Appeal
Billing, Collections, and Disbursements
2000 L Street NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036
Be sure to include:
Explain your appeal and include copies of all relevant documentation. Please provide as much detailed information as possible.
Provide an authorized signature on your letter of appeal when you file your appeal by mail, by express delivery service, by hand delivery, or by facsimile. When you file your appeal, you must include the name, title, telephone number, and email, if available, of the authorized person.
A contributor may file an appeal with the FCC if the contributor disagrees with USAC's response to a Letter of Appeal. The contributor must file its appeal to the FCC within 60 days of the date of the USAC decision.
If you are alleging prohibitive conduct by a third party, there are additional rules for serving a copy on that third party and allowing them to respond. Consult 47 C.F.R. Section 54.721, which can be found in Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations. If you are filing a request for a waiver with the FCC, use the language “Request for Waiver” or “Waiver Request” so the nature of your request is clear.
FedEx, UPS, or other private mail carrier
Hand-delivery or messenger-delivery
For security purposes, hand-delivered or messenger-delivered documents will not be accepted if they are enclosed in an envelope. Any envelopes must be disposed of before entering the building. Hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners.
Please be sure to reference WC Docket No. 06-122 on all communications with the FCC. The appeal transmission, whether electronic or paper, must also provide your company's name and study area code, plus necessary contact information including name, address, telephone number, fax number, and email address of the person filing the appeal. Unless the appeal is made electronically via ECFS, please include a copy of the USAC letter being appealed.