Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

011 Communications Slamming Order

Download Options

Released: March 21, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-514

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

011 Communications
)
IC No. 10-S2884154
)
10-S2887259
Complaint Regarding
)
Unauthorized Change of
)
Subscriber’s Telecommunications Carrier
)
)

ORDER

Adopted: March 20, 2013

Released: March 21, 2013

By the Deputy Chief, Consumer Policy Division, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau:
1.
In this Order, we consider the complaint1 alleging that 011 Communications (011)
changed Complainant’s telecommunications service provider without obtaining authorization
and verification from Complainant in violation of the Commission’s rules.2 We conclude that
011’s actions did result in an unauthorized change in Complainant’s telecommunications service
provider and we grant Complainant’s complaint.
2.
In December 1998, the Commission released the Section 258 Order in which it
adopted rules to implement Section 258 of the Communications Act of 1934 (Act), as amended
by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (1996 Act).3 Section 258 prohibits the practice of
“slamming,” the submission or execution of an unauthorized change in a subscriber’s selection


1
Informal Complaint No. IC 10-S2884154 November 22, 2010. Informal Complaint No. IC 10-
S2887259 is a duplicate of 10-S2884154.
2
See 47 C.F.R. §§ 64.1100 – 64.1190.
3
47 U.S.C. § 258(a); Telecommunications Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-104, 110 Stat. 56 (1996);
Implementation of the Subscriber Carrier Selection Changes Provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996;
Policies and Rules Concerning Unauthorized Changes of Consumers’ Long Distance Carriers
, CC Docket No.
94-129, Second Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, 14 FCC Rcd 1508 (1998) (Section
258 Order), stayed in part, MCI WorldCom v. FCC
, No. 99-1125 (D.C. Cir. May 18, 1999); First Order on
Reconsideration, 15 FCC Rcd 8158 (2000); stay lifted, MCI WorldCom v. FCC, No. 99-1125 (D.C. Cir. June 27,
2000); Third Report and Order and Second Order on Reconsideration, 15 FCC Rcd 15996 (2000), Errata, DA No.
00-2163 (rel. Sept. 25, 2000), Erratum, DA No. 00-2192 (rel. Oct. 4, 2000), Order, FCC 01-67 (rel. Feb. 22, 2001);
Third Order on Reconsideration and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, 18 FCC Rcd 5099 (2003);
Order, 18 FCC Rcd 10997 (2003); Fourth Report and Order, 23 FCC Rcd 493 (2008). Prior to the adoption of
Section 258, the Commission had taken various steps to address the slamming problem. See, e.g., Policies and
Rules Concerning Unauthorized Changes of Consumers' Long Distance Carriers
, CC Docket No. 94-129, Report
and Order, 10 FCC Rcd 9560 (1995), stayed in part, 11 FCC Rcd 856 (1995); Policies and Rules Concerning
Changing Long Distance Carrier
s, CC Docket No. 91-64, 7 FCC Rcd 1038 (1992), reconsideration denied, 8
FCC Rcd 3215 (1993); Investigation of Access and Divestiture Related Tariffs, CC Docket No. 83-1145, Phase I,
101 F.C.C.2d 911, 101 F.C.C.2d 935, reconsideration denied, 102 F.C.C.2d 503 (1985).

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-514

of a provider of telephone exchange service or telephone toll service.4 In the Section 258 Order,
the Commission adopted aggressive new rules designed to take the profit out of slamming,
broadened the scope of the slamming rules to encompass all carriers, and modified its existing
requirements for the authorization and verification of preferred carrier changes. The rules
require, among other things, that a carrier receive individual subscriber consent before a carrier
change may occur.5 Pursuant to Section 258, carriers are absolutely barred from changing a
customer's preferred local or long distance carrier without first complying with one of the
Commission's verification procedures.6 Specifically, a carrier must: (1) obtain the subscriber's
written or electronically signed authorization in a format that meets the requirements of
Section 64.1130; (2) obtain confirmation from the subscriber via a toll-free number provided
exclusively for the purpose of confirming orders electronically; or (3) utilize an independent
third party to verify the subscriber's order.7
3.
The Commission also has adopted liability rules. These rules require the carrier
to absolve the subscriber where the subscriber has not paid his or her bill. In that context, if the
subscriber has not already paid charges to the unauthorized carrier, the subscriber is absolved of
liability for charges imposed by the unauthorized carrier for service provided during the first 30
days after the unauthorized change.8 Where the subscriber has paid charges to the unauthorized
carrier, the Commission’s rules require that the unauthorized carrier pay 150% of those charges
to the authorized carrier, and the authorized carrier shall refund or credit to the subscriber 50% of
all charges paid by the subscriber to the unauthorized carrier.9 Carriers should note that our
actions in this order do not preclude the Commission from taking additional action, if warranted,
pursuant to Section 503 of the Act.10
4.
We received Complainant’s complaint on November 22, 2010, alleging that
Complainant’s telecommunications service provider had been changed to 011 without
Complainant’s authorization. Pursuant to Sections 1.719 and 64.1150 of our rules,11 we notified
011 of the complaint and 011 responded on January 3, 2011.12 011 states that authorization was


4
47 U.S.C. § 258(a).
5
See 47 C.F.R. § 64.1120.
6
47 U.S.C. § 258(a).
7
See 47 C.F.R. § 64.1120(c). Section 64.1130 details the requirements for letter of agency form
and content for written or electronically signed authorizations. 47 C.F.R. § 64.1130.
8
See 47 C.F.R. §§ 64.1140, 64.1160. Any charges imposed by the unauthorized carrier on the
subscriber for service provided after this 30-day period shall be paid by the subscriber to the authorized carrier at
the rates the subscriber was paying to the authorized carrier at the time of the unauthorized change. Id.
9
See 47 C.F.R. §§ 64.1140, 64.1170.
10
See 47 U.S.C. § 503.
11
47 C.F.R. § 1.719 (Commission procedure for informal complaints filed pursuant to Section 258
of the Act); 47 C.F.R. § 64.1150 (procedures for resolution of unauthorized changes in preferred carrier).
12
011’s Response to Informal Complaint No. IC 10-S2884154, received January 3, 2011.
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-514

received and confirmed through third party verification (TPV). We have reviewed the TPV that
011 submitted with its response. The Commission’s rules require that the verification elicit,
amongst other things, confirmation that the person on the call is “authorized to make the carrier
change.”13 In the TPV at issue, the verifier instead asks whether the person on the call is “an
authorized decision maker for these telephone numbers” but did not confirm whether the person
was authorized to make the carrier change. A switch from one carrier to another carrier differs
from merely making changes to the customer’s phone services.14 As we emphasized in the
Fourth Report and Order, “any description of the carrier change transaction…shall not be
misleading” and verifiers should convey explicitly that “the consumer will have authorized a
carrier change, and not, for instance, an upgrade in existing service.”15 We find that 011’s
actions were in violation of our carrier change rules, and we discuss 011’s liability below.16
5.
011 must remove all charges incurred for service provided to Complainant for the
first thirty days after the alleged unauthorized change in accordance with the Commission’s
liability rules.17 We have determined that Complainant is entitled to absolution for the charges
incurred during the first thirty days after the unauthorized change occurred and that 011 may not
pursue any collection against Complainant for those charges.18 Any charges imposed by 011 on
the subscriber for service provided after this 30-day period shall be paid by the subscriber to their
authorized carrier at the rates the subscriber was paying at the time of the unauthorized change.19
6.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 258 of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 258, and Sections 0.141, 0.361 and
1.719 of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.141, 0.361, 1.719, the complaint filed against
011 IS GRANTED.
7.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 64.1170(d) of the
Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. § 64.1170(d), Complainant is entitled to absolution for the


13
See 47 C.F.R. § 64.1120(c)(3)(iii).
14
Cf. Consumer Telcom, Inc.; Complaints Regarding Unauthorized Change of Subscriber’s
Telecommunications Carrier, IC Nos. 09-S0295686 and 09-S0295918, Order on Reconsideration, DA 12-801,
CGB (rel. May 22, 2012) (“the verifier’s question, “Do you have authority to make changes to your long distance
service?” did not confirm that the person was authorizing a change that would result in receiving service from a
different carrier
”).
15
See Fourth Report and Order, 23 FCC Rcd 493 (2008)(emphasis added); see also 47 C.F.R. §
64.1120(c)(3)(iii).
16
If Complainant is unsatisfied with the resolution of this complaint, Complainant may file a
formal complaint with the Commission pursuant to Section 1.721 of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. § 1.721.
Such filing will be deemed to relate back to the filing date of Complainant’s informal complaint so long as the
formal complaint is filed within 45 days from the date this order is mailed or delivered electronically to
Complainant. See 47 C.F.R. § 1.719.
17
See 47 C.F.R. § 64.1160(b).
18
See 47 C.F.R. § 64.1160(d).
19
See 47 C.F.R. §§ 64.1140, 64.1160.
3

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-514

charges incurred during the first thirty days after the unauthorized change occurred and 011 may
not pursue any collection against Complainant for those charges.
8.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Order is effective upon release.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Nancy A. Stevenson, Deputy Chief
Consumer Policy Division
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
4

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.

close
FCC

You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.