MCI Settles Slamming Suit With FCC

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Long-distance telephone service provider WorldCom Inc., Clinton, MS, said yesterday that it would pay $3.5 million in cash and implement changes in its telesales operations to settle a Federal Communication Commission inquiry into the company's sales practices.

The FCC said it received 2,900 slamming complaints about WorldCom last year, more than any other carrier. "Slamming" is the practice of switching consumers' long distance carriers without permission.

MCI said the sales employees who were responsible for the activities that the FCC focused on were terminated. The company also recently introduced an internal quality-control team to prevent further customer abuses.

MCI also agreed to:

* establish a code of conduct that all telemarketing agents must sign annually;

* create financial rewards for sales employees that execute quality sales and financial penalties for sales employees that do not adhere to standards;

* terminate sales representatives who intentionally deceive consumers;

* enhance the auditing system to verify consumers' desire to switch long-distance carriers; and

* create a more efficient crediting system for customers.

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