Consumer Rights

We welcome you as a customer. The following information is to acquaint you with the operating rules and practices of our Company and Your Rights to Information Concerning Rates, and to inspect or Obtain a Copy of the Applicable Tariffs and Service Rules.

The services provided by Company, are public utility services which are offered by the Company, subject to the rules, regulations and charges set forth in its tariffs, which tariffs shall at all times control the provision of such communication services. In the event of a conflict between such tariffs, and the information contained in this notice, the tariffs shall prevail. The tariffs are subject to change and are available for inspection at the Company’s business office during office hours.

Upon application for residential service, we explain the lowest-priced alternatives available at your location giving full consideration to equipment options and installation charges, if any, incident thereto.

The Company shall notify customers affected by a change in rates or schedule of classification.

The information contained in the Company’s tariff is a matter of public record and the Company shall make available to the public at its business office, all of its tariffs currently on file with the Commission. The Company shall lend assistance to seekers of information there from and afford inquirers an opportunity to examine any such tariffs upon request. The Company shall provide copies of any such portion of the tariffs at a reasonable cost to reproduce.

When A Deposit Or Additional Deposit May Be Required

When you apply for telephone service you must establish satisfactory credit. If satisfactory credit can not be established, a deposit may be required by the Company. The deposit will earn interest at the annual rate set by the Utility Commission. The deposit will be returned after one (1) year if the customer has established good credit. The deposit plus interest will be applied to the customer’s final telephone bill and any balance refunded if service is disconnected prior to establishment of good credit.

Good credit is defined as not being delinquent in payment of your telephone bill. Good credit will be established if during 12 consecutive months of service with the Cooperative you have not, on more than one (1) occasion, been delinquent in payment of your telephone bill or been disconnected for non-payment.

If you cannot provide satisfactory credit references or do not have a good payment record or cannot provide a guarantee satisfactory to the Company, you may be required to make an initial deposit equivalent to two months’ local service. Separate terms apply for long distance.

Time Allowed To Pay Outstanding Bills

The customer is responsible for payment of all charges for exchange service and equipment furnished the customer and toll free messages (including special service billing charges) originating at the customer’s station on which charges have been reversed with consent of the person called.

The services and facilities furnished by the Company may be suspended for failure of the customer to pay any sum due as set forth below. However, the customer may continue to receive local service as long as full payment for local service is timely made. Failure to pay long distance charges in a timely manner may result in the disconnection of your long distance service.

The customer shall pay all charges for local services and facilities monthly in advance and shall pay for toll message service (including charges for special billing services), teletypewriters exchange service messages and service charges when billed.

When warranted, in the judgment of the Manager, special bills for Long Distance charges may be rendered and are due and payable on demand.

Bills for telephone service shall normally be rendered monthly; shall show the period of time covered by the billings; and shall show a clear listing of all charges due and payable. The Company will provide you with an itemization of local service charges upon written request. Itemized toll statements shall be included in each bill. Customer billings sent through the United States mail shall be sent in an envelope.

All bills for local, toll and miscellaneous services are due and payable at the office of the Company at P.O. Box 280 in Stanton, Martin County, Texas, on or before the due date which is fifteen (15) days after issuance. A bill for telephone service is delinquent if unpaid by the due date. The postmark, if any, on the envelope of the bill, or an issuance date on the bill, if there is no postmark on the envelope, shall constitute proof of the date of issuance. If the due date falls on a holiday or weekend, the due date for payment purposes shall be the next work day after the due date.

Refusal of Service and Bill Corrections

The Company may decline to serve an applicant until the applicant complies with state and municipal regulations and the approved rules and regulations and the Company on file with the commission or for any off the reasons identified below.

  1. If the applicant’s installation or equipment is known to be hazardous or of such character that satisfactory service cannot be given or the applicant’s facilities do not comply with all applicable state or municipal regulations.
  2. If the applicant fails to comply with the rules pertaining to operation of nonstandard equipment or unauthorized attachments which interfere with the service of others.
  3. If the applicant has acted as a guarantor for another customer and failed to pay the guaranteed amount, when the guarantee was made in writing to the Company and was a condition of service.
  4. If the applicant intends to deceive the Company by applying for service at a location where another customer received, or continues to receive, service and the bill is unpaid at that location and the Company can show that that change in identity was made to avoid or evade payment of the Company’s bill.
  5. If the applicant is indebted to any telephone company for the same kind of service as that applied for; provided however, that in the event the indebtedness of the applicant for service is in dispute, the applicant shall be served upon complying with the deposit requirement as provided in the Company’s tariff. This does not apply to Prepaid Local Telephone Service.
  6. For refusal to make a deposit if applicant is required to make a deposit as provided in the Company’s tariff.

Failure to receive a bill and disconnect notice does not relieve the Customer of the responsibility for payment in accordance with the provisions set forth in the Company’s tariff.

If billings for the telephone services are found to differ from the Company’s lawful rates for the services being purchased by the customer, a billing adjustment shall be calculated by the Company.

If the customer is due a refund, an adjustment shall be made for the entire period of over charges.

If the customer was undercharged, the Company may back bill the customer for period not exceed six (6) months from the date the Company initially notifies the customer of the amount of undercharge and the total additional amount that will be due. Said amount shall be added to the next regular billing. If the underbilling is $50.00 or more, the Company shall offer to such customer a deferred payment plan option, for the same length of time as that of the underbilling.

If the customer questions any long distance charges, the particular calls in question may be deducted from the bill, upon notification to the Company, until the charges have been verified or adjusted. The balance of the bill is due and payable by the due date.

In the event of a dispute between you and the Company regarding any bill for telephone service, the Company will investigate the particular case and report the results to you. In the event the dispute is not resolved, the company will inform you of the complaint procedures of the Public Utility Commission.

Upon receipt of a complaint Wes-Tex will investigate and advise you of the results within 21 days and you may receive the results in writing.

If you cannot resolve a dispute between you and the Company to your satisfaction, you may request and be given an opportunity for a supervisory review and inform you of the results within 10 days and you may receive the results in writing. Should any disputes not be resolved after the supervisory review, any complaints you may have can be directed to the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

Steps That Must Be Taken Before The Company May Terminate Service

In the event of failure by the customer or those otherwise responsible to pay any regular bill or any part thereof, the Company may disconnect service if the bill has not been paid within twenty-six (26) days from the date of issuance if proper notice has been given. Proper notice shall consist of a separate mailing or hand delivery at least ten (10) days prior to a stated date of disconnection. If mailed, the cutoff day may not fall on a holiday or weekend but shall fall on the next work day after the tenth day.

The notice will have the words “Termination Notice” or similar language prominently displayed on it. The notice will also have printed on it, or attached to it, a statement that if you are in need of assistance with payment of your bill, or are ill and unable to pay your bill, you may be eligible for an Alternative Payment Plan.

If disconnection of service will prevent the summoning of emergency medical help for a seriously ill resident your physician may provide written documentation to the Company to extend the time to pay the bill.

Service will not be restored unless or until all amounts due on the date are paid in full including restoration of service charges or all deferred payment plan entered into.

The customer is responsible for all collection costs including attorney’s fees incurred by the Company to effect collection as a result of any breach of contract by the customer.

Grounds For Termination Of Service By The Company

The Company may disconnect telephone service after giving ten (10) days written notice to the customer for:

  1. Failure to pay a delinquent account for the Company’s tariffed charges or to make deferred payment arrangements by the date of disconnection;
  2. Failure to comply with the terms of a deferred payment agreement except as it relates to PLTS;
  3. Failure to establish and maintain a satisfactory deposit, as set forth in the Company’s tariff within 10 (ten) days after the Company has served or mailed notice requiring the customer to do so;
  4. Violation of the Company’s rules as pertaining to the use of service of others, or the operation of nonstandard equipment, if a reasonable attempt has been made to notify the customer and the customer is provided with a reasonable opportunity to remedy the situation;
  5. Failure of the guarantor to pay the amount guaranteed, when the Company has a written agreement, signed by the guarantor, that allows for disconnection of the guarantor’s service for nonpayment.
  6. Failure of a residential customer to pay long distance charges incurred after toll blocking was imposed.

The Company may disconnect telephones service without notice to the customer when:

  1. Service is connected without authority by a person who has not made an application for service;
  2. Service was reconnected without authority after termination for nonpayment;
  3. There are instances of tampering with the Company’s equipment or evidence of theft of service, or other acts to defraud the Company.

The Company may suspend or terminate telephone service to any persons, firm, or corporation who obtains, attempts to obtain, or assists another to obtain local or long distance message telecommunications service; by rearranging, tampering with, or making connection with any facilities of the Company by any trick, scheme, false representation, or false credit device, or by or through any other fraudulent means or device whatsoever, with intent to avoid the payment in whole or in part, of the regular charge for such service.

The Company may disconnect, without advance notice, the telephone service used by a customer in connection with a plan or a contrivance to secure a large volume of telephone calls to be directed to such customer or the telephone of any designated customer at or about the same time, resulting in preventing, obstructing or delaying phone service of other.

Services and facilities will not be furnished, or if being furnished by the Cooperative, will be discontinued to any person, firm or corporation, if any law enforcement agency, acting within jurisdiction, advised that such service is being, or will be used, in violation of the law.

Steps Necessary To Have Service Reconnected After Involuntary Termination

A Restoration of Service Charge is applicable where service has been discontinued for failure to establish credit or for failure to pay a regular bill. The Company may request the customer to submit cash, money order or cashier’s check in payment of bill and reconnection charges and not accept a personal check or moneys not guaranteed when the history of a customer account warrants such action.

If the customer’s service has been terminated and his deposit applied to the balance of his account, he is no longer a customer of the Company and it will be necessary to re-apply for telephone service as a new applicant and customer.

No allowance will be made for loss of service during the period service is disconnected for nonpayment, if payment is made and service is reconnected before the completion of an order to terminate the service. Subsequest to the completion of an order to terminate service, it may, at the option of the Company, be reestablished only on the basis of a new application.

Service may be terminated prior to the expiration of the initial contract period upon notice being given to the Company, and upon payment of the termination charges in addition to all charges due for service which has been furnished.

Every applicant who previously has been a customer of the Company and whose service has been discontinued for nonpayment of bills shall be required to pay all amounts due the Company, and reestablish credit before service is rendered.

How To Register A Complaint With The Public Utility Commission Of Texas

In the event that the Company shall refuse to serve an applicant under the provisions of these rules, the applicant may file a complaint with the Public Utility Commission of Texas thereon.

The Company shall direct its personnel engaged in initial contact with an applicant or customer for service, seeking to establish or reestablish credit under the provision of these rules, to inform the customer, if dissatisfied is expressed with the Company’s decision, of the customer’s right to file a complaint with the Commission at this address:

Public Utility Commission of Texas
Office of Customer Protection
PO Box 13326 Austin, Texas 78711-3326
(512) 936- 7120 or in Texas (toll-free) 1-888-782-8477
Fax: (512) 936-7003
TTY and Relay Texas (toll-free) 1-800-735-2989.

Customer-Provided Equipment

Under the Federal Communications Commission’s registration program, you may supply your own telephone or other terminal equipment and connect it directly to the nationwide telephone network.

The equipment must be approved by FCC and you are responsible for its proper connection, maintenance and repair. FCC rules also require that you notify the Company before connecting your equipment. Your equipment may not be connected to coin telephone service and party lines.

Access To Customer’s Premises

The Company’s agents and employees shall have the right to enter said premises at any reasonable hour for the purpose of installing, inspecting, maintaining, or repairing the equipment and facilities or for making collections from coin telephones or upon termination of the service, for the purpose of removing such equipment and facilities.

The customer agrees to exercise normal care of the Company’s equipment and facilities on the customer’s premises. In the event of loss, damage or destruction of such equipment to its original equipment to its original condition will be billed to the customer.

Statement of Billing Rights For Interstate Pay-Per-Call Services

For billing disputes or inquires, please call 432-756-3393. You have 60 days from the date of your bill to dispute a 900 billing error. You have the right to withhold payment of the disputed 900 charges during the billing error review. No collection activity for disputed 900 charges will occur while the charges are under investigation. After investigation, if it is determined that the disputed 900 charges are legitimate, AT&T or the Information Provider may proceed with outside collections against your account for non-payment of these charges. Your local and long distance service cannot be disconnected for nonpayment of 900 charges. Failure to pay legitimate 900 charges may result in involuntary blocking of your access to 900 services.

Voluntary blocking of access to 900 services is available upon request from your local exchange carrier. You should not be billed for pay-per-call services not offered in compliance with Federal Laws and Regulations. These consumer rights are provided under the Federal Tel. Disclosure and Dispute Resolution Act. If you orally communicate an allegation of a billing error via the toll free number on the 900 bill page, it will be considered sufficient notification of a billing error. The billing entity forfeits the amount of any telephone billed purchase (up to $50.00 per transaction) if it fails to comply with the Rules billing error resolution requirements.

Texas Universal Service Fund (TUSF) Surcharge Notice

You may notice a charge call the “Texas Universal Service Fund Charge” (TX USF Charge). This charge pays for the Texas Universal Service Fund (USF). The Texas USF has been established by the State of Texas to help pay for keeping local phone rates affordable for low income customers and to support programs for the deaf and hard of hearing. The Texas USF encompasses several assistance programs including one which allows the deaf and hard of hearing to purchase necessary telecommunications equipment.

Traditionally, an annual charge supported some of these programs. Now all of them will be financed by a monthly charge on your bill.

If you have questions about this charge or how it is calculated, please call one of our business offices.