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America Net, LLC

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Released: July 29, 2011

Federal Communications Commission

DA 11-1305

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

America Net, LLC
)
IC No. 10-S2809040
)
Complaint Regarding
)
Unauthorized Change of
)
Subscriber's Telecommunications Carrier
)

ORDER

Adopted: July 28, 2011

Released: July 29, 2011

By the Deputy Chief, Consumer Policy Division, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau:
1.
In this Order, we consider the complaint filed by Complainant1 alleging that
America Net, LLC. (America Net) changed Complainant's telecommunications service provider
without obtaining authorization and verification from Complainant in violation of the
Commission's rules.2 We conclude that America Net'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 of


1
Informal Complaint No. IC 10-S2809040, filed October 7, 2010.
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 11-1305

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 October 7, 2010, alleging that
Complainant's telecommunications service provider had been changed to America Net without
Complainant's authorization. Pursuant to Sections 1.719 and 64.1150 of our rules,11 we notified


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).
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 11-1305

America Net of the complaint and America Net responded on December 14, 2010.12 America
Net states that authorization was received and confirmed through independent third party
verification (TPV). We have reviewed the TPV that America Net submitted with its response.
During the course of the TPV, the verifier recited a list of telephone numbers presumably
associated with the business, but did not specifically elicit the "telephone numbers to be
switched."13 Our rules require that the TPV elicit the numbers that are to be switched, rather than
merely verifying numbers associated with a business or residence, or for what purpose the
numbers are used.14 As we emphasized in the Fourth Report and Order, "any description of the
carrier change transaction...shall not be misleading".15 We find that America Net's actions were
in violation of our carrier change rules, and we discuss America Net's liability below.16
5.
America Net 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
neither their authorized carrier nor America Net may pursue any collection against Complainant
for those charges.18 Any charges imposed by America Net on the subscriber for service provided
after this 30-day period shall be paid by the subscriber at the rates the subscriber was paying to
their authorized carrier 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 by
Complainant against America Net, LLC 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
charges incurred during the first thirty days after the unauthorized change occurred and neither


12
America Net's Response to Informal Complaint No. 10-S2809040, received December 14, 2010.
13
See 47 C.F.R. 64.1120(c)(3)(iii).
14
See id.
15
See 47 C.F.R. 64.1120 (c)(3)(iii); Fourth Report and Order, 23 FCC Rcd 493 (2008).
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 such 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 11-1305

America Net nor their authorized carrier may pursue any collection against Complainant for
those charges.
8.
IT IS FURTHERED ORDERED that this Order is effective upon release.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Nancy A. Stevenson, Deputy Chief
Consumer Policy Division
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
4

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