Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

AT&T Corporation

Download Options

Released: January 29, 2004

Federal Communications Commission

DA 04-166


Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554



In the Matter of
)


)

AT&T Corporation
)
IC No. 03-S84731

)
Complaint Regarding
)
Unauthorized Change of
)
Subscriber’s Telecommunications Carrier
)


ORDER


Adopted: January 27, 2004

Released: January 29, 2004



By the Acting Deputy Chief, Policy Division, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau:

1.
In this Order, we consider the complaint filed by Complainant1 alleging that
AT&T Corporation (AT&T) changed Complainant’s telecommunications service provider
without obtaining authorization and verification from Complainant in violation of the
Commission’s rules.2 We conclude that AT&T’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


1
Informal Complaint No. IC-03-S84731, filed August 6, 2003.

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); reconsideration pending. 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 Carriers, 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 04-166



“slamming,” the submission or execution of an unauthorized change in a subscriber’s selection
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 authorization; (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 August 6, 2003, alleging that
Complainant’s telecommunications service provider had been changed from Southwestern Bell
to AT&T without Complainant’s authorization. Pursuant to Sections 1.719 and 64.1150 of our
rules,11 we notified AT&T of the complaint and AT&T responded on September 15, 2003.12

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 04-166



AT&T has submitted an electronic letter of agency as proof of authorization of the switch.
However, AT&T has failed to include the electronic signature of the Complainant as required by
our rules.13 We find that AT&T has failed to produce clear and convincing evidence that
Complainant authorized a carrier change.14 Therefore, we find that AT&T’s actions resulted in
an unauthorized change in Complainant’s telecommunications service provider and we discuss
AT&T’s liability below.15

5.
AT&T 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.16 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 neither
Southwestern Bell nor AT&T may pursue any collection against Complainant for those
charges.17 Any charges imposed by AT&T on the subscriber for service provided after this 30-
day period shall be paid by the subscriber to Southwestern Bell at the rates the subscriber was
paying to the authorized carrier at the time of the unauthorized change.18

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 AT&T Corporation 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
Southwestern Bell nor AT&T Corporation may pursue any collection against Complainant for
those charges.



(Continued from previous page)

12
AT&T Corporation’s, Response to Informal Complaint No. IC 03-S84731, filed September 15,
2003.

13
See 47 C.F.R. § 64.1130((b).
14
See 47 C.F.R. § 64.1150(d).

15
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.
16
See 47 C.F.R. § 64.1160(b).
17
See 47 C.F.R. § 64.1160(d).

18
See 47 C.F.R. §§ 64.1140, 64.1160.

3



Federal Communications Commission


DA 04-166



8.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Order is effective upon release.




FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION




Nancy
A.
Stevenson,
Acting
Deputy
Chief
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.