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the Commission with a copy of its complaint, except that if it is not feasible for the State to provide such prior notice, the State shall serve such notice immediately upon instituting such action. Upon receiving a notice respecting a civil action, the Commission shall have the right (1) to intervene in such action, (2) upon so intervening, to be heard on all matters arising therein, and (3) to file petitions for appeal.
(c) VENUE.-Any civil action brought under this section in a district court of the United States may be brought in the district wherein the defendant is found or is an inhabitant or transacts business or wherein the violation occurred or is occurring, and process in such cases may be served in any district in which the defendant is an inhabitant or wherever the defendant may be found.
(d) INVESTIGATORY POWERS.--For purposes of bringing any civil action under this section, nothing in this Act shall prevent the attorney general from exercising the powers conferred on the attorney general by the laws of such State to conduct investigations or to administer oaths or affirmations or to compel the attendance of witnesses or the production of documentary and other evidence.
(e) EFFECT ON STATE COURT PROCEEDINGS.-Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit an authorized State official from proceeding in State court on the basis of an alleged violation of any general civil or criminal antifraud statute of such State.
(f) LIMITATION.—Whenever the Commission has instituted a civil action for violation of any rule or regulation under this Act, no State may, during the pendency of such action instituted by the Commission, subsequently institute a civil action against any defendant named in the Commission's complaint for violation of any rule as alleged in the Commission's complaint. (g) ACTIONS BY OTHER STATE OFFICIALS.
(1) Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit an authorized State official from proceeding in State court on the basis of an alleged violation of any general civil or criminal statute of such State.
(2) In addition to actions brought by an attorney general of a State under subsection (a), such an action may be brought by officers of such State who are authorized by the State to bring actions in such State for protection of consumers and who are designated by the Commission to bring an action under subsection (a) against persons that the Commission has determined have or are engaged in a pattern or practice which
violates a rule of the Commission under section 201(a). SEC. 203. (15 U.S.C. 5713] ADMINISTRATION AND APPLICABILITY OF
TITLE. (a) IN GENERAL.-Except as otherwise provided in section 202, this title shall be enforced by the Commission under the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.). Consequently, no activity which is outside the jurisdiction of that Act shall be affected by this Act, except for purposes of this title.
(b) ACTIONS BY THE COMMISSION.—The Commission shall prevent any person from violating a rule of the Commission under section 201 in the same manner, by the same means, and with the same jurisdiction, powers, and duties as though all applicable
terms and provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.) were incorporated into and made a part of this title. Any person who violates such rule shall be subject to the penalties and entitled to the privileges and immunities provided in the Federal Trade Commission Act in the same manner, by the same means, and with the same jurisdiction, power, and duties as though all applicable terms and provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act were incorporated into and made a part of this title. SEC. 204. (15 U.S.C. 5714) DEFINITIONS. For purposes of this title:
(1) The term "pay-per-call services" has the meaning provided in section 228(i) of the Communications Act of 1934, except that the Commission by rule may, notwithstanding subparagraphs (B) and (C) of section 228(i)(1) of such Act, extend such definition to other similar services providing audio information or audio entertainment if the Commission determines that such services are susceptible to the unfair and deceptive practices that are prohibited by the rules prescribed pursuant to section 201(a).
(2) The term “attorney general” means the chief legal officer of a State.
(3) The term “State” means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and any territory or possession of the United States.
(4) The term “Commission” means the Federal Trade Commission.
TITLE III-BILLING AND COLLECTION
SEC. 301. (15 U.S.C. 5721) REGULATIONS. (a) IN GENERAL.
(1) RULES REQUIRED.—The Commission shall, in accordance with the requirements of this section, prescribe rules establishing procedures for the correction of billing errors with respect to telephone-billed purchases. The rules prescribed by the Commission shall also include provisions to prohibit unfair or deceptive acts or practices that evade such rules or undermine the rights provided to customers under this title.
(2) SUBSTANTIAL SIMILARITY TO CREDIT BILLING.–The Commission shall promulgate rules under this section that impose requirements that are substantially similar to the requirements imposed, with respect to the resolution of credit disputes, under the Truth in Lending and Fair Credit Billing Acts (15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.).
(3) TREATMENT OF RULE.-A rule issued under paragraph (1) shall be treated as a rule issued under section 18(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 57(a)(1)(B)).
(b) RULEMAKING SCHEDULE AND PROCEDURE.—The Commission shall prescribe the rules under subsection (a) within 270 days after the date of enactment of this Act. Such rules shall be prescribed in accordance with section 553 of title 5, United States Code.
(c) ENFORCEMENT.-Any violation of any rule prescribed under subsection (a) shall be treated as a violation of a rule under section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45) regarding unfair or deceptive acts or practices. Notwithstanding section 5(a)(2) of such Act (15 U.S.C. 45(a)(2)), communications common carriers shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission for purposes of this title.
(d) CORRECTION OF BILLING ERRORS AND CORRECTION OF CREDIT REPORTS.-In prescribing rules under this section, the Commission shall consider, with respect to telephone-billed purchases, the following:
(1) The initiation of a billing review by a customer.
(2) Responses by billing entities and providing carriers to the initiation of a billing review.
(3) Investigations concerning delivery of telephone-billed purchases.
(4) Limitations upon providing carrier responsibilities, including limitations on a carrier's responsibility to verify delivery of audio information or entertainment.
(5) Requirements on actions by billing entities to set aside charges from a customer's billing statement.
(6) Limitations on collection actions by billing entities and vendors.
(7) The regulation of credit reports on billing disputes.
(9) Rights of customers and telephone common carriers regarding claims and defenses.
(10) The extent to which the regulations should diverge from requirements under the Truth in Lending and Fair Credit Billing Acts in order to protect customers, and in order to be
cost effective to billing entities. SEC. 302. (15 U.S.C. 5722) RELATION TO STATE LAWS.
(a) STATE LAW APPLICABLE UNLESS INCONSISTENT.-This title does not annul, alter, or affect, or exempt any person subject to the provisions of this title from complying with, the laws of any State with respect to telephone billing practices, except to the extent that those laws are inconsistent with any provision of this title, and then only to the extent of the inconsistency. The Commission is authorized to determine whether such inconsistencies exist. The Commission may not determine that any State law is inconsistent with any provision of this chapter if the Commission determines that such law gives greater protection to the consumer.
(b) REGULATORY EXEMPTIONS.—The Commission shall by regulation exempt from the requirements of this title any class of telephone-billed purchase transactions within any State if it determines that under the law of that State that class of transactions is subject to requirements substantially similar to those imposed under this chapter or that such law gives greater protection to the consumer, and that there is adequate provision for enforcement. SEC. 303. (15 U.S.C. 5723) ENFORCEMENT.
The Commission shall enforce the requirements of this title. For the purpose of the exercise by the Commission of its functions and powers under the Federal Trade Commission Act, a violation of any requirement imposed under this title shall be deemed a violation of a requirement imposed under that Act. All the functions and powers of the Commission under that Act are available to the Commission to enforce compliance by any person with the requirements imposed under this title, irrespective of whether that person is engaged in commerce or meets any other jurisdictional tests in that Act. The Commission may prescribe such regulations as are necessary or appropriate to implement the provisions of this title. SEC. 304. (15 U.S.C. 5724) DEFINITIONS. As used in this title
(1) The term "telephone-billed purchase" means any purchase that is completed solely as a consequence of the completion of the call or a subsequent dialing, touch tone entry, or comparable action of the caller. Such term does not include
(A) a purchase by a caller pursuant to a preexisting agreement with the vendor;
(B) local exchange telephone services or interexchange telephone services or any service that the Federal Communications Commission determines, by rule
(i) is closely related to the provision of local exchange telephone services or interexchange telephone services; and
(ii) is subject to billing dispute resolution procedures required by Federal or State statute or regulation; or
(C) the purchase of goods or services which is otherwise subject to billing dispute resolution procedures required by Federal statute or regulation. (2) A "billing error" consists of any of the following:
(A) A reflection on a billing statement for a telephonebilled purchase which was not made by the customer or, if made, was not in the amount reflected on such statement.
(B) A reflection on a billing statement of a telephonebilled purchase for which the customer requests additional clarification, including documentary evidence thereof.
(C) A reflection on a billing statement of a telephonebilled purchase that was not accepted by the customer or not provided to the customer in accordance with the stated terms of the transaction.
(D) A reflection on a billing statement of a telephonebilled purchase for a call made to an 800 or other toll free telephone number.
(E) The failure to reflect properly on a billing statement a payment made by the customer or a credit issued to the customer with respect to a telephone-billed purchase.
(F) A computation error or similar error of an accounting nature on a statement.
(G) Failure to transmit the billing statement to the last known address of the customer, unless that address was furnished less than twenty days before the end of the billing cycle for which the statement is required.
(H) Any other error described in regulations prescribed by the Commission pursuant to section 553 of title 5, United States Code.
(3) The term “Commission” means the Federal Trade Commission.
(4) The term “providing carrier" means a local exchange or interexchange common carrier providing telephone services (other than local exchange services) to a vendor for a telephone-billed purchase that is the subject of a billing error complaint.
(5) The term "vendor" means any person who, through the use of the telephone, offers goods or services for a telephonebilled purchase.
(6) The term "customer” means any person who acquires or attempts to acquire goods or services in a telephone-billed purchase.
SEC. 401. PROPOSAL FOR DEMONSTRATING THE POTENTIAL OF
INNOVATIVE COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT AND SERV.
ICES. (a) DEMONSTRATION PROPOSAL.-Within 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary of Energy for Conservation and Renewable Energy, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, shall submit to Congress a proposal for demonstrating the ability of new and innovative communications equipment and services to further the national goals of conserving energy and protecting public health and safety.
(b) FACTORS TO BE ADDRESSED.-The demonstration proposal required by subsection (a) shall address
(1) the feasibility of using communications technologies to read meters from remote locations;
(2) the feasibility of managing the consumption of electrical power and natural gas by residences and businesses, thereby reducing the demand for new and additional sources of energy, and controlling the cost of providing improved utility services; and
(3) the public safety implications of monitoring utility services outages during earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, volcanoes, and other natural disasters.
(c) PROJECT TO DEMONSTRATE ENERGY CONSERVATION POTENTIAL.–Upon submission of the demonstration proposal to the Congress, the Secretary of Energy shall consider requesting from the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information the authority to use radio frequencies, pursuant to section 305 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 305), to carry out demonstration projects consistent with the proposal that are designed to demonstrate the energy conservation potential of communications technologies and which are administered by the Secretary of Energy.