FCC Rules State Commissions May Resolve Slamming Disputes

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The Federal Communications Commission ruled April 13 that state commissions should be allowed to resolve disputes over slamming, or the practice of switching consumers' telephone service without their permission.

Previously, the FCC was handling such disputes while waiting for the telecommunications industry to produce an independent arbitrator, which the industry did not do.

Also, the FCC adopted a rule that requires slammers to pay authorized carriers 150 percent of any payments they receive from slammed subscribers. The authorized carrier then must turn over 50 percent of the payments made by slammed consumers back to those consumers.

Telemarketing agents or companies are sometimes blamed for slamming, which generated 21,868 complaints to the FCC last year.

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