CA Pub Util Code Section 2890


A telephone bill may only contain charges for products or services, the purchase of which the subscriber has authorized.


When a person or corporation obtains a written order for a product or service, the written order shall be a separate document from any solicitation material. The sole purpose of the document is to explain the nature and extent of the transaction. Written orders and written solicitation materials shall be unambiguous, legible, and in a minimum 10-point type. Written or oral solicitation materials used to obtain an order for a product or service shall be in the same language as the written order. Written orders may not be used as entry forms for sweepstakes, contests, or any other program that offers prizes or gifts.


The commission may only permit a subscriber’s local telephone service to be disconnected for nonpayment of charges relating to the subscriber’s basic local exchange telephone service, long-distance telephone service within a local access and transport area (intraLATA), long-distance telephone service between local access and transport areas (interLATA), and international telephone service.


(1)A billing telephone company shall clearly identify, and use a separate billing section for, each person, corporation, or billing agent that generates a charge on a subscriber’s telephone bill. A billing telephone company may not bill for a person, corporation, or billing agent, unless that person, corporation or billing agent complies with paragraph (2).


Any person, corporation, or billing agent that charges subscribers for products or services on a telephone bill shall do all of the following:


Include, or cause to be included, in the telephone bill the amount being charged for each product or service, including any taxes or surcharges, and a clear and concise description of the service, product, or other offering for which a charge has been imposed.


Include, or cause to be included, for each entity that charges for a product or service, information with regard to how to resolve any dispute about that charge, including the name of the party responsible for generating the charge and a toll-free telephone number or other no cost means of contacting the entity responsible for resolving disputes regarding the charge and a description of the manner in which a dispute regarding the charge may be addressed. Each telephone bill shall include the appropriate telephone number of the commission that a subscriber may use to register a complaint.


Establish, maintain, and staff a toll-free telephone number to respond to questions or disputes about its charges and to provide the appropriate addresses to which written questions or complaints may be sent. The person, corporation, or billing agent that generates a charge may also contract with a third party, including, but not limited to, the billing telephone corporation, to provide that service on behalf of the person, corporation or billing agent.


Provide a means for expeditiously resolving subscriber disputes over charges for a product or service, the purchase of which was not authorized by the subscriber. In the case of a dispute, there is a rebuttable presumption that an unverified charge for a product or service was not authorized by the subscriber and that the subscriber is not responsible for that charge. With regard to direct dialed telecommunications services, evidence that a call was dialed is prima facie evidence of authorization. If recurring charges arise from the use of those subscriber-initiated services, the recurring charges are subject to this section.


If an entity responsible for generating a charge on a telephone bill receives a complaint from a subscriber that the subscriber did not authorize the purchase of the product or service associated with that charge, the entity, not later than 30 days from the date on which the complaint is received, shall verify the subscriber’s authorization of that charge or undertake to resolve the billing dispute to the subscriber’s satisfaction.


For purposes of this section, “billing agent” is the clearinghouse or billing aggregator.


This section shall become operative on July 1, 2001.
Last Updated

Aug. 19, 2023

§ 2890’s source at ca​.gov