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Released: July 29, 2011

Federal Communications Commission

DA 11-1294

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Frontier Communications
)
IC No. 11-S3000797
)
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 complaint1 alleging that Frontier Communications
(Frontier) changed Complainant's telecommunications service provider without obtaining
authorization and verification from Complainant in violation of the Commission's rules.2 We
conclude that Frontier's actions violated the Commission's carrier change rules 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 11-S3000797, filed February 25, 2011.
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 11-1294

"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 February 25, 2011, alleging that
Complainant's telecommunications service provider had been changed to Frontier 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 11-1294

Frontier of the complaint.12 Frontier has failed to respond to the complaint within 30 days. The
failure of Frontier to respond or provide proof of the verification within the required 30 days is
presumed to be clear and convincing evidence of a violation.13 Therefore, we find that Frontier's
actions resulted in a violation of our carrier change rules and we discuss Frontier's liability
below.14 We also will forward a copy of the record of this proceeding to our Enforcement
Bureau to determine what additional action may be necessary.
5.
Frontier 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.15 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 Frontier may
not pursue any collection against Complainant for those charges.16 Any charges imposed by
Frontier on the subscriber for service provided after this 30-day period shall be paid by the
subscriber to their authorized carrier at the rates the subscriber was paying at the time of the
unauthorized change.17
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 against
Frontier 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 Frontier
may not pursue any collection against Complainant for those charges.


12
Notice of Informal Complaint IC 11-S3000797 was mailed on March 11, 2011. On March 21,
2011, the Commission received the certified mail return receipt confirming delivery was made on March 14, 2011.
13
See 47 C.F.R. 64.1150(d).
14
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.
15
See 47 C.F.R. 64.1160(b).
16
See 47 C.F.R. 64.1160(d).
17
See 47 C.F.R. 64.1140, 64.1160.
3

Federal Communications Commission

DA 11-1294

8.
IT IS FURTHER 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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