FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
February 17, 2000
News Media Contact:|
Rosemary Kimball (202) 418-0500.
John Winston (202) 418-7450
FCC Imposes $2 Million Forfeiture Against Long Distance Direct, Inc.
For Slamming and Cramming Consumers
Washington, D.C. - Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) imposed a $2 million forfeiture on long distance telephone company Long Distance Direct, Inc. (LDDI) for slamming, the practice of switching a consumers' telephone company without their consent, and cramming, the practice of placing a charge on a consumer's phone bill for unauthorized products or services. This forfeiture follows a $1.36 million forfeiture imposed on Amer-I-Net Services Corporation on February 9, 2000 for slamming violations.
The FCC found that LDDI violated the Communications Act and FCC rules by substituting itself as the long distance carrier for 25 consumers without their consent. Additionally, LDDI placed unauthorized fees for ``membership'' in the ``Friends to Friends'' psychic services hotline and ``other'' charges on consumers' telephone bills. The FCC found these violations particularly egregious because many consumers had no contact with LDDI or the ``Friends to Friends'' psychic services hotline prior to being slammed and crammed. Other consumers state that they had telephoned an 800 number purporting to be the ``Friends to Friends'' psychic hotline, but never spoke to anyone or in any way authorized service by LDDI or ``membership'' in the psychic services hotline.
LDDI is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Long Distance Direct Holdings, Inc., both headquartered in Pearl River, New York. The consumers slammed and crammed by LDDI reside in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Illinois.
Action by the Commission February 9, 2000, by Memorandum Opinion and Order (FCC 00-46). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell, and Tristiani.
Enforcement Bureau contact: John Winston at (202) 418-7450.
Telecommunications Consumers Division contacts: Colleen Heitkamp at (202) 418-0974.