FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
News media information 202/418-0500
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
July 21, 2000
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:|
John Winston (202) 418-7450
Washington, D.C. - Today the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) released an order adopting a Consent Decree between the Commission and Qwest Communications International Inc. (Qwest). Today's action terminates a Commission investigation into the unauthorized conversion of consumers' preferred carriers (slamming) by Qwest. Under the terms of the Consent Decree, Qwest will make a voluntary contribution to the United States Treasury in the amount of $1,500,000.
The Consent Decree follows the FCC's receipt of numerous complaints regarding Qwest and its merged partner, LCI International Telecom Corp. The Commission issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) against Qwest for $2.08 million in October 1999. Of the thirty alleged slamming violations at issue in the NAL, twenty-two involved Qwest's reliance on forged authorization forms or letters of agency to effectuate the changes. After issuing its Response to the Commission's NAL, Qwest entered into negotiations with the Commission staff.
In addition to the monetary payment, Qwest has agreed to take comprehensive actions to deter slamming, including: 1) increased third party verification for residential change requests (including safeguards to verify the consumer's identity as the authorized person requesting the change); and, 2) a revised slamming prevention program including financial disincentives and disciplinary provisions for its distributors.
The Consent Decree follows seven other slamming enforcement actions by the Commission or the Enforcement Bureau this year, totaling over $10 million. Many of these actions like today's, involve commitments by carriers to take strong measures to protect consumers against slamming.
Action by the Commission July 19, 2000, by Order (FCC 00-254). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Powell, Tristani; Commissioner Furchgott-Roth concurring in part and dissenting in part, and issuing a separate statement.
File No. ENF-99-11
Enforcement Bureau Contacts: John Winston at (202) 418-7450, Cynthia Bryant at (202) 418-8164.