FCC to Fine Optic $7.62M for Cramming, Slamming, and False Recordings
Federal Communications Commission
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Cir. 1974).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
July 14, 2014
Mark Wigfield, 202-418-0253
FCC PLANS $7.62 MILLION FINE AGAINST OPTIC INTERNET PROTOCOL FOR ILLEGALLY
BILLING AND SWITCHING CUSTOMERS’ PHONE COMPANIES
Long Distance Carrier Allegedly Relied On Fabricated “Authorization” Recordings
Washington, DC – The Federal Communications Commission plans to fine Optic Internet Protocol, Inc., a
Roswell, GA telephone company, $7.62 million for allegedly switching consumers’ long distance telephone
services without their authorization (“slamming”), billing customers for unauthorized charges (“cramming”),
and submitting falsified evidence to government regulatory officials as “proof” of consumers’ authorizations.
“Cheating and lying to consumers are unacceptable, predatory business practices,” said Travis LeBlanc,
Acting Chief of the Enforcement Bureau. “We will vigorously police companies that deceive consumers by
billing them for services they did not authorize or desire.”
Optic provides 1+ dialing long distance service. For a consumer to use Optic’s service, the consumer’s long
distance service provider must be switched to Optic so that long distance calls are carried over Optic’s
network and billed to Optic. Optic allegedly switched complainants’ preferred long distance carriers and also
billed the consumers for long distance service by placing charges for its set-up fee and recurring monthly fee
on their local telephone bills. Optic typically charged customers a $3.95 or $4.95 one-time set up fee as well
as a monthly service fee of $4.95, $8.95, or $29.95.
The Enforcement Bureau reviewed more than 150 complaints against Optic that consumers filed with the
Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, state regulatory agencies, and the Better Business Bureau.
Affected consumers complained that they had never heard of Optic before discovering the company’s charges
on their telephone bills. Several claimed that when they contacted Optic to dispute the charges, they were
told that they or someone in their household had authorized Optic’s service, and that Optic possessed an audio
recording as evidence of the authorization. Optic submitted these audio “verification” recordings to the
Commission, consumers, and state regulatory authorities to make it appear that consumers had authorized the
company’s services, but consumers who listened to these recordings informed the Enforcement Bureau that
the recordings were fabricated and adamantly denied that the voices on the recordings were their own. As a
result, consumers who noticed the unauthorized charges had to expend significant time and effort to attempt
to return to their preferred carriers, to get the charges removed from their bills, and file complaints with law
The Commission charged Optic with willfully and repeatedly placing unauthorized charges on consumers’
local telephone bills, switching consumers’ preferred long distance carrier without verified authorization, and
submitting fabricated audio “verification” recordings, all in apparent violation of the Communications Act.
The Commission is committed to protecting consumers against cramming and slamming and will take
aggressive action against carriers that perpetrate such unjust, unreasonable, and deceptive acts. Since January
2014, the FCC has taken four enforcement actions against carriers for cramming and slamming that have
totaled more than $17 million in proposed penalties and payments to the U.S. Treasury.
For more information about the FCC’s rules protecting consumers from unauthorized charges on phone bills,
see the FCC consumer guide, Cramming - Unauthorized, Misleading, or Deceptive Charges Placed on Your
Telephone Bill. For information about other communications issues, visit the FCC's Consumer website, or
contact the FCC's Consumer Center by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-
FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or by writing to:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
The Notice of Apparent Liability is available at:
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