The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a fine of more than a $1 million against a Florida-based telecommunications firm that allegedly changed the preferred long-distance telecommunications service of a group of consumers without authorization, a practice known as “slamming.”
In a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture issued in August 2012, the Commission proposed a fine of $1,108,000 for LDC Telecommunications of Clearwater, FL for switching telephone service of 27 consumers without authorization. The Commission’s action in this case caps a nearly four year process, during which the Commission’s Consumer & Government Affairs Bureau sent LDC 44 separate complaints from consumers who claimed that their long-distance phone service was switched without their authorization.
Section 258 of the federal Communications Act prohibits carriers from changing a subscriber’s selection of telephone service providers without their explicit permission. The Commission’s forfeiture guidelines have established a base forfeiture amount of $40,000 for each instance of slamming, resulting in a proposed forfeiture of $1,080,000 for LDC. In addition, the Commission proposed an additional forfeiture of $28,000 for LDC’s failure to respond to seven separate communications from the Commission related to individual slamming complaints that fell within the one year statute of limitations.