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What is "Slamming?"
"Slamming" is the illegal and unauthorized switching of a consumer's preferred long-distance carrier. You have the right to choose any long distance carrier, calling plan and service features. Your choices are taken away when you are slammed.
How Does Slamming Occur?
Although slamming may be the result of a mistake, it often occurs when a phone company deceives you into signing up for different services. Tactics include checks or contest entry forms with fine print or telemarketers making confusing offers.
Federal Protections against Slamming
The FCC allows you to file a complaint if you have been slammed and takes the profit out of slamming for telephone companies. Before a telemarketing company can place an order to switch a customer's telephone service the company must use one of the following methods to verify the authorized switch:
- Obtain a written or electronic Letter of Agency (LOA) from the customer containing specific information about the switch. Advertising promotions using checks are permitted but must meet strict guidelines.
- Provide a toll-free number that the consumer can call to confirm the order to switch telephone companies.
- Have an independent third party verify the customer's authorization to switch.
State Law Protections against Slamming
Some states have statutes and regulations specifically forbidding slamming. A lawyer can assist you with the laws of your state.
I Think I Have Been Slammed. What Should I Do?
- Contact the unauthorized company to request in order to fix the problem. If you have not paid the bill, advise the company that you will not pay for the first 30 days of service.
- Inform your authorized telephone company of the slam. Tell them to reinstate the same calling plan and have them remove the "change of carrier charges."
- File a complaint with the appropriate government agency or contact a lawyer.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you feel that you have been slammed, you may contact the FCC or relevant state agency. Filing a complaint with a regulatory agency may prevent you from taking legal action and often provides inadequate relief. If you or your business suffered significant financial loss, a consumer protection lawyer can assist you with the overlapping federal and state laws involved and can explain all of your legal options.
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Last Modified: 07-14-2015 02:44 PM PDT
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