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FCC Proposes $5.2 M Fine Against U.S. Telecom Long Distance, Inc

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Released: January 24, 2014

NEWS
Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

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

:
January 24, 2014
Mark Wigfield, 202-418-0253
E-mail: mark.wigfield@fcc.gov

FCC PROPOSES $5.2 MILLION FINE AGAINST U.S. TELECOM LONG DISTANCE, INC.,

FOR DECEPTIVE SLAMMING, CRAMMING, AND BILLING PRACTICES

Washington, D.C.

– For the second time in as many months, the Federal Communications Commission
has proposed a multi-million dollar forfeiture against a telephone carrier for apparently engaging in
deceptive marketing practices, changing consumers’ preferred long distance carriers without proper
authorization (“slamming”), billing consumers for unauthorized charges (“cramming”), and failing to
describe telephone charges plainly and clearly as required by federal law. Today’s enforcement action
proposes a $5.23 million forfeiture against U.S. Telecom Long Distance, Inc. (USLTD).
Numerous consumers complained that USLTD’s telemarketers had tricked them into believing that the
telemarketers were calling on behalf of the consumers’ existing long distance providers. The consumers
were then shocked to learn that USLTD had switched their preferred long distance carrier and billed them
for charges they had not authorized. In many cases, USLTD apparently took advantage of consumers by
masking the true purpose of the call and then profiting from their obvious confusion about the questions
they were asked. Many of the deceived consumers were elderly, hearing impaired, or infirm. Several
consumers also claimed that USLTD representatives pretended to be calling from the FCC itself.
With today’s action, the Commission continues to make good on prior warnings that it will aggressively
pursue those engaged in deceptive conduct. In fact, because of the egregious nature of USLTD’s apparent
violations, the FCC increased the proposed forfeiture by approximately $3 million. Combined with last
month’s action against Consumer Telcom, Inc., the FCC has now proposed nearly $9 million in
forfeitures in recent enforcement actions for cramming, slamming, and misrepresentation.
Link to Notice of Apparent Liability: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-14-4A1.pdf

-FCC-
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