The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a major fine against another Nevada-based telecommunications firmed that allegedly changed the preferred long-distance telecommunications service of a group of consumers without authorization (a practice known as “slamming”), and for placing unauthorized charges on consumers’ telephone bills (known as “cramming”).
In a recent Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, the Commission proposed a fine of $5,230,000 against U.S. Telecom Long Distance of Las Vegas, NV for multiple instances of slamming or cramming. In this case, U.S. Telecom Long Distance telemarketers allegedly represented themselves to consumers as employees of their incumbent long-distance carrier. According to the Commission, the company “failed to clearly and plainly describe charges on consumers’ telephone bills in violation of the Commission’s truth-in-billing rules.”
The Federal Communications Act prohibits carriers from changing a subscriber’s selection of telephone service providers without their explicit permission, or for billing them without authorization.
In December 2013, the Commission proposed a fine of over $3 million against another Nevada-based company, Consumer Telecom of Henderson, NV for allegedly switching long-distance telephone service for consumers without authorization. Combined with the January 2014 action against U.S. Telecom Long Distance, the FCC has proposed fines of nearly $9 million related to slamming and cramming activities in the past two months alone.