Qwest Fined $20.3M, Says Agencies Dumped
The CPUC said that in 1999 and 2000 Qwest failed to adequately supervise its telemarketing agents, leading to the unauthorized switching of the long-distance service of thousands of customers, a practice known as slamming. Thousands more, many of whom spoke Spanish or Asian languages, received unauthorized charges, a practice known as cramming, the commission said.
CPUC ordered Qwest to pay the fine and provide consumers with full refunds within 90 days. In a statement, Qwest called the fine "grossly excessive" and said it implemented a zero-tolerance policy, including the firing of some of its third-party telemarketing providers, that has virtually eliminated slamming and cramming. The company said it was considering an appeal of the fine.