FCC Announces More Massive Fines for Slamming, Cramming

Continuing its fight against telephone service providers who illegally switch the designated long distance carriers without subscribers’ permission, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued another massive round of financial penalties against three related companies.

According to the FCC, telemarketers for the three California-based companies, Central Telecom Long Distance, Consumer Telecom and U.S. Telecom Long Distance, called consumers and falsely claimed to be calling on behalf of the consumers’ actual long distance service provider. The telemarketers then reportedly misused consumers’ answers to questions to switch their long distance service to one of their companies. For those customers who became aware of the deception and changed back to their original carrier, the companies continued to charge them a recurring monthly fee, and even resorted to sending separate bills when the charges were disallowed by the legitimate carrier.

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau reviewed over 260 consumer complaints about the three companies as part of its investigation prior to issuing Notices of Apparent Liability in December 2013. Although the companies responded to the Notices and argued for a reduction or waiver in the proposed fines, the FCC ultimately determined a total forfeiture of $11 million.

View the text of the Commission’s Forfeiture Notice against Consumer Telecom.

View the text of the Commission’s Forfeiture Notice against U.S. Telecom Long Distance.

View the text of the Commission’s Forfeiture Notice against Central Telecom Long Distance.

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