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Excel Telecommunications, Inc. Slamming Order

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Released: June 27, 2014

Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-930

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of



Excel Telecommunications, Inc.


IC No. 13-S003619


Complaint Regarding


Unauthorized Change of


Subscriber’s Telecommunications Carrier



Adopted: June 26, 2014

Released: June 27, 2014

By the Deputy Chief, Consumer Policy Division, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau:


In this Order, we consider the complaint1 alleging that Excel

Telecommunications, Inc. (Excel) changed Complainant’s telecommunications service provider

without obtaining authorization and verification from Complainant in violation of the

Commission’s rules.2

We conclude that Excel has taken action to resolve the complaint.


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 of


Informal Complaint No. IC 13-S003619, filed May 15, 2013.


See 47 C.F.R. §§ 64.1100 – 64.1190.


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, AT&T WorldCom v. FCC, No. 99-1125 (D.C. Cir. May 18, 1999); First Order on

Reconsideration, 15 FCC Rcd 8158 (2000); stay lifted, AT&T 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 Carriers, 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 14-930

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


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


We received Complainant’s complaint on May 15, 2013, alleging that

Complainant’s telecommunications service provider had been changed to Excel without

Complainant’s authorization. Pursuant to Sections 1.719 and 64.1150 of our rules,11 we notified


47 U.S.C. § 258(a).


See 47 C.F.R. § 64.1120.


47 U.S.C. § 258(a).


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.


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.


See 47 C.F.R. §§ 64.1140, 64.1170.


See 47 U.S.C. § 503.


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).



Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-930

Excel of the complaint and Excel responded on June 20, 2013.12

Excel has fully absolved the

Complainant of all charges assess by Excel. Based on the information before us, we therefore

find that the complaint referenced herein has been resolved.13


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



IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Order is effective upon release.


Nancy A. Stevenson, Deputy Chief

Consumer Policy Division

Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau


Excel’s Response to Informal Complaint No. IC 13-S003653, received September 23, 2013. On

July 3, 2010, Matrix Telecom, Inc. d/b/a Matrix Business Technologies, purchased the assets of Excel.


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.


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