"Slamming" is the illegal practice of changing a
consumer's telephone service - local or long distance service - without
permission. The Commission's new slamming
liability rules provide a remedy if you've been slammed and take the
profit out of slamming for telephone companies. The FCC's Enforcement
Bureau will also take action against slammers. These new rules apply to
slamming violations that occur on or after November 28, 2000. (For
slamming violations that occurred before that date, you can still file a
complaint with the Commission.
Are Your Rights If You Have Been Slammed?
You may file a complaint with the relevant state agency or
with the FCC (see below).
If you find that you have been slammed, and you have NOT
paid the bill of the carrier who slammed you:
You do not have to pay anyone for service for up to 30
days after being slammed, neither your authorized telephone company
(the company you actually chose to provide service) nor the slamming
You must pay any charges for service beyond 30 days to
your authorized company, but at that company's rates, not the
If you HAVE paid your phone bill and then
discover that you have been slammed:
The slamming company must pay your authorized company
150% of the charges it received from you.
Out of this amount, your authorized company will then
reimburse you 50% of the charges you paid to the slammer.
For example, if you were charged $100 by the slamming
company, that company will have to give your authorized company $150,
and you will receive $50 as a reimbursement.
With these rules, the Commission has taken the profit out
of slamming and protected consumers from illegal charges.
Can I Do If I've Been Slammed?
If your telephone company has been changed without your
Call the slamming company and tell them you want the
problem fixed. If you have not paid, tell them you will not pay for
the first 30 days of service.
Call your authorized company (local or long distance)
to inform them of the slam. Tell them that you want to be reinstated
to the same calling plan you had before the slam. Tell them that you
want all "change of carrier charges" (charges for switching
companies) removed from your bill.
File a complaint with the appropriate government
agency. See the next section.
I File a Complaint?
See if your state is listed below. If it is, click on the
state name to get directions on how to file your complaint. These states
and commonwealths have agreed to handle your complaint.
If your state is not listed above, then send an e-mail
or written complaint to the FCC. Here is the address:
Consumer Information Bureau
445 12th Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20554
Be sure to include this information:
Your name and address
Your telephone number
Your email address (if you have one)
Name of the phone company which slammed you
Name of the phone company which you authorized to
provide your phone service
A complete statement of the facts
Copies of phone bills containing the charges which you
dispute (Important: if you file using e-mail, your bill must
be attached, electronically, to your e-mail. Otherwise, you must file
by letter and attach paper copies of your bill)
The specific relief that you want
Whether you have paid any of the disputed charges.