Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

Preferred Long Distance, Inc. Slamming Order

Download Options

Released: December 13, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-2366

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Preferred Long Distance, Inc.
)
IC Nos. 13-S003609
)
13-S003656
Complaints Regarding
)
13-S003663
Unauthorized Change of
)
13-S3609582
Subscriber’s Telecommunications Carrier
)
13-S3609590
)




ORDER

Adopted: December 6, 2013

Released: December 13, 2013

By the Deputy Chief, Consumer Policy Division, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau:
1.
In this Order, we consider the complaints1 alleging that Preferred Long Distance,
Inc. (PLD changed Complainants’ telecommunications service providers without obtaining
authorization and verification from Complainants in violation of the Commission’s rules.2 We
conclude that PLD’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


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 13-2366

“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) 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 PLD 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 13-2366

PLD responded.13 PLD states that authorization was received and confirmed through third party
verifications (TPV) in each case. We have reviewed the TPVs that PLD submitted with each
response. In each case, PLD’s verifier stated that the purpose of the recorded conversation was
to “avoid any unauthorized changes to your phone service and to confirm accurate data.”
However, the purpose of the TPV recording is to verify a subscriber’s intent to change their
preferred carrier. As we emphasized in the Fourth Report and Order, “any description of the
carrier change transaction…must not be misleading” 14 We find that PLD’s actions were in
violation of our carrier change rules, and we discuss PLD’s liability below.15
5.
PLD 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 PLD may pursue any collection against Complainants for
those charges.17 Any charges imposed by PLD 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
PLD, 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 PLD nor the authorized carriers may pursue any collection against Complainants for those
charges.


13
See Appendix.
14
See Fourth Report and Order, 23 FCC Rcd 493 (2008)(emphasis added); see also 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 13-2366

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 13-2366

APPENDIX
INFORMAL
DATE OF

DATE OF
COMPLAINT

COMPLAINT

RESPONSE
NUMBER
13-S003609
April 5, 2013
April 15, 2013
13-S003656
August 6, 2013
September 27, 2013
13-S003663
August 14, 2013
September 13, 2013
13-S3609582
February 22, 2013
April 4, 2013
13-S3609590
February 20, 2013
April 5, 2013
5

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.

close
FCC

You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.