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AT&T, Inc.

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Released: June 29, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1025

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

AT&T, Inc.
)
IC Nos. 11-S003190
)
11-S3119290
Complaints Regarding
)

11-S3185638
Unauthorized Change of
)

Subscriber’s Telecommunications Carrier
)

ORDER

Adopted: June 27, 2012

Released: June 29, 2012

By the Deputy Chief, Consumer Policy Division, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau:
1.
In this Order, we consider the complaints1 alleging that AT&T, Inc. (AT&T)
changed Complainants’ telecommunications service providers without obtaining authorization
and verification from Complainants in violation of the Commission’s rules.2 We conclude that
AT&T actions did not violate our carrier change rules and we deny Complainants’ complaints.
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
See Appendix A.
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, AT&T WorldCom v. FCC, No. 99-1125 (D.C. Cir. May 18, 1999); First Order
on Reconsideration, 15 FCC Rcd 8158 (2000); stay lifted, AT&T 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
(continued….)

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1025

“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; (2) obtains 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 Complainants’ complaints alleging that Complainants’
telecommunications service providers had been changed without Complainants’ authorization.11
(Continued from previous page)


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).
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
See Appendix A.
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1025

Pursuant to Sections 1.719 and 64.1150 of our rules,12 we notified AT&T of the complaints and
AT&T responded.13 We find that, based on AT&T’s responses, coupled with information
received from Complainants’ local exchange carriers (LECs),14 AT&T did not violate our carrier
change rules.15
5.
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 complaints filed against
AT&T ARE DENIED.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Nancy A. Stevenson, Deputy Chief
Consumer Policy Division
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau


12
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).
13
See Appendix A.
14
See Appendix A.
15
If any Complainant is unsatisfied with the resolution of this complaint, such 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
such Complainant. See 47 C.F.R. § 1.719.
3

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1025

APPENDIX A
INFORMAL
DATE OF
DATE OF CARRIER
DATE OF LEC
COMPLAINT
COMPLAINT
RESPONSE
RESPONSE
NUMBER
11-S003190
August 5, 2011
September 15, 2011
October 17, 2011
11-S3119290
May 9, 2011
June 23, 2011
October 26, 2011
11-S3185638
July 27, 2011
September 1, 2011
October 26, 2011
4

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