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September 15, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 7:40pm


By CBR Staff Writer

On Monday, the final day of a thirty-day period in which US telecoms carriers had the chance to file a petition with Federal Communications Commission on how the problem of slamming should be addressed, SBC Communications Inc outlined its plans for tougher penalties. Slamming is the deceptive practice of switching telecom customers from one carrier to another without their expressed authorization. SBC, parent of Southwestern Bell, Pacific Bell and Nevada Bell, responded to open solicitation of proposals by the FCC with a plan that would levy fines and severe restrictions on carriers found guilty of slamming customers. Under the SBC proposal, the FCC would adopt a three strikes approach to penalizing guilty parties – defined as any carrier having more than 2% of its order changes disputed in a given month. For the first offense, the carrier would face six months probation and be forced to bring the dispute level below 2%. The second time around, the carrier would be made to pay $5,000 per slam to the authorized regulatory body. After the third time, fines of $10,000 per slam would be levied, in addition to the strike two fines, and a sort of telecom capital punishment – suspension from submitting any further service order changes, which effectively ends the possibility of slamming. SBC says it is unclear how soon the FCC will decide on what new measures it will adopt, but it feels that its plan is unique and would be extremely effective in deterring would-be slammers. the SBC filing came on the same day that attorneys general of 26 states joined in urging the federal government to adopt a tough consumer protection policy on the issue.

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