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Telecommunications Consumers Division - Subject Summary

The Division is very active in a variety of areas that impact consumers daily. Listed below are some of the significant areas where we have taken action to protect you.

Marketing:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a joint Policy Statement to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive advertising and marketing of long distance services, including dial-around services -- often called "10-10" numbers. The Policy Statement offers guidance to carriers to ensure their advertising is truthful, complete and non-misleading. Additionally, it describes the kind of factors the FCC will consider in determining whether to bring enforcement action against carriers for deceptive advertising practices. You may review the actual wording of the statement in Microsoft Word or Text formats.

Actions Taken

Slamming:

Slamming is the practice of switching consumers' preferred telephone carrier without their consent. Slamming generates a large volume of complaints to the Commission annually. The Commission has proposed a series of forfeitures against companies for slamming.

Actions Taken

Unsolicited Facsimiles:

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) which is contained in section 227 of the Communications Act limits unsolicited advertisements that use automatic telephone dialing systems, artificial (computerized) or prerecorded voice messages, and fax machines. The TCPA also directed the Commission to adopt regulations to protect residential telephone subscribers' privacy rights to avoid receiving other unwanted telephone solicitations. The FCC's telemarketing rules implementing the TCPA took effect December 20, 1992. The Commission has received a consistent flow of letters from consumers involving telemarketing practices subject to the TCPA; over 90% of those letters pertained to unsolicited faxes. The Commission therefore, is intensifying its enforcement and consumer education efforts to ensure that consumers are protected from intrusive and illegal telemarketing practices.

Actions Taken 

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