Slamming is the illegal practice of changing a consumer’s telephone service without permission. Before a telephone company can place an order to switch the telephone service of a customer, the company must have the agreement of the customer. When a customer agrees to switch long distance service, the long distance carrier must obtain the customer’s agreement and authorization to switch using one of the following methods:
The LOA provided by the carrier must be limited strictly to authorizing a change in telephone carrier, and it must be clearly identified as an LOA authorizing the change. The LOA must be written in clear language, and the print must be of sufficient size and readable style, generally comparable in type style and size to any promotional materials, and must make clear to the consumer that the document, when signed, would change his or her telephone carrier.
Only the name of the telephone carrier that will set the consumer's rates can appear on the letter of authorization. The LOA must also contain full translations if it uses more than one language.
NOTE: Advertising promotions that use checks can incorporate an LOA but must meet specific guidelines. A check must contain the necessary information to make it a negotiable instrument and shall not contain any other promotional language or material. The carrier must place the required LOA language near the signature line on the back of the check. In addition, the carrier must print on the front of the check, in easily readable, bold-faced type, a notice that the consumer’s signature will authorize a change in his or her telephone carrier.
If you feel that you have been slammed, call the slamming carrier and tell them that you want the problem fixed. If you have not paid them, tell them that you will not pay for the first 30 days of service. Call the authorized company (local or long distance) to inform them of the slam. Tell them that you want to be reinstated to the same calling plan you had before the slam.
You may also file a complaint with the Consumer Affairs Division. If we determine that your long distance service was changed without your authorization and you have not paid the bill of the carrier that slammed you, you do not have to pay anyone for long distance service for the first 30 days after being slammed. This means you do not have to pay either your authorized telephone company (the company you actually chose to provide service) or the slamming company. You must pay any charges for service beyond 30 days to your authorized company, but at that company’s rates, not the slammer’s rates. If you have paid your phone bill and then discover that you have been slammed, the slamming company must pay your authorized company 150% of the charges it received from you. Out of this amount, your authorized company will then reimburse you 50% of the charges you paid to the slammer. For example, if you were charged $100 by the slamming company, that company will have to give your authorized company $150, and you will receive $50 as a reimbursement.
How can you avoid being slammed? Be a smart consumer.
RSA 374:28-a Slamming Prohibited