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Multiline Long Distance, Inc., Slamming Order

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Released: July 19, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-1600

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

IC Nos. 12-S3515686
Multiline Long Distance, Inc.
)
12-S3532450
)
13-S003618
Complaints Regarding
)
13-S003622
Unauthorized Change of
)
13-S3636361
Subscriber's Telecommunications Carrier
)


ORDER

Adopted: July 18, 2013

Released: July 19, 2013

By the Deputy Chief, Consumer Policy Division, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau:
1.
In this Order, we consider the complaints1 alleging that Multiline Long Distance,
Inc., (MLDI) changed Complainants' telecommunications service providers without obtaining
authorization and verification from Complainants in violation of the Commission's rules.2 We
conclude that MLDI's actions did result in unauthorized changes in Complainants'
telecommunications service providers and we grant 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
"slamming," the submission or execution of an unauthorized change in a subscriber's selection


1
See Appendix.
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 13-1600

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) 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 Complainants' complaints alleging that Complainants'
telecommunications service providers had been changed without Complainants' authorization.11
Pursuant to Sections 1.719 and 64.1150 of our rules,12 we notified MLDI of the complaints and


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.
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).
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-1600

MLDI responded.13 MLDI states that authorization was received and confirmed through third
party verification (TPV) in each case. We have reviewed the TPVs that MLDI submitted with its
responses. In each case, MLDI's sales agent failed to drop off the line once the three-way
connection was established as required by our rules.14 Therefore, we find that MLDI's actions
resulted in an unauthorized change in Complainant's telecommunications service provider and
we discuss MLDI's liability below.15
5.
MLDI must remove all charges incurred for service provided to Complainants for
the first thirty days after the alleged unauthorized changes in accordance with the Commission's
liability rules.16 We have determined that Complainants are entitled to absolution for the charges
incurred during the first thirty days after the unauthorized changes occurred and that neither the
Complainants' authorized carrier nor MLDI may pursue any collection against Complainants for
those charges.17 Any charges imposed by MLDI on the subscribers for service provided after
this 30-day period shall be paid by the subscribers to their authorized carrier at the rates the
subscribers were paying to their authorized carriers at the time of the unauthorized changes of
telecommunications service providers.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 complaints filed against
Multiline Long Distance, Inc., ARE 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), Complainants are entitled to absolution for the
charges incurred during the first thirty days after the unauthorized change occurred and neither
the MLDI nor the authorized carriers may pursue any collection against Complainants for those
charges.


13
See Appendix.
14
Our independent third party verification rules state that, once the three-way connections has been
established with the verifier, the carrier's sales agent must drop off the call. See 47 C.F.R. 64.1120(c)(3)(ii). In
the instant cases, the sales agent had not yet dropped off the call when the verifier began stating information
required by our TPV rules (in these cases, the date of the verification). See 47 C.F.R. 64.1120(c)(3)(iii).
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.
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 13-1600

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

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-1600

APPENDIX
INFORMAL
DATE OF

DATE OF
COMPLAINT

COMPLAINT

RESPONSE
NUMBER
12-S3515686
September 25, 2012
November 7, 2012
12-S3532450
November 13, 2012
January 7, 2013
13-S003618
May 11, 2013
June 14, 2013
13-S003622
May 22, 2013
June 25, 2013
13-S3636361
April 8, 2013
May 3, 2013
5

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