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FCC officially changes rules for formal complaints

It includes a new $225 fee.

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Win McNamee via Getty Images

The FCC has voted to change its rules around formal complaints from the public. Now, complainants will have to pay a $225 fee to bring their issue to the commission via the official process. Informal complaints, however, are still free.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel had some choice words to say about her agency's decision.

As several House Democrats noted in a recent letter to the FCC's chairman Ajit Pai, making consumers pay the large fee if an informal complaint is not resolved "ignores the core mission of the FCC — working in the public interest."

According to the FCC, the new rules streamline the process, requiring defendants to answer complaints filed against them within a 30-day period. Complainants who file with the $225 fee must reply within 10 days after that. The new rules also require "executive level" pre-filing discussions for all formal complaints, and make plain the practice of providing staff-supervised mediation services to both sides. The Commission set a 270-day "shot clock" for resolution of formal complaints, as well.

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