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Federal Communications Commission
1919 - M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

December 24, 1997


Today the Common Carrier Bureau released the third edition of the Common Carrier Scorecard. The Scorecard, available on the Common Carrier Bureau's home page, highlights the three highest categories of telephone-related consumer complaints and inquiries processed by the Common Carrier Bureau's Enforcement Division during the most recent reporting period; reports telephone-related complaint trends; and includes an overview of how companies performed individually and as a group. Additionally, the Scorecard provides valuable consumer tips on how to avoid scams and what to do if problems occur.

During 1996, 36% of the consumer telephone-related complaints processed by the Enforcement Division involved the unauthorized change of a consumer's chosen telephone company without their knowledge or consent, a practice called "slamming;" 13% involved 900 number pay-per-call services and other types of information services; and 12% involved interstate operator service provider rates and services.

This edition of the Scorecard provides in-depth information about information services. Examples of information services include medical, stock market, sports and product information. Also available are so-called "adult" services, "chat" lines and psychic advice. Consumers are protected from deceptive information service call practices by federal law and Commission and Federal Trade Commission rules.

The Scorecard also explains the actions the Commission has taken to protect consumers against slamming and the high rates charged by some operator service providers.

The Scorecard shows that although the largest companies generally received the most complaints, the ratio of complaints filed against the largest companies was far below some of their smaller competitors after adjusting for company size. Additionally, the Scorecard points out that many consumers have tried to resolve their complaint with at least one of the companies involved with their complaint before seeking assistance from the Commission.

The Scorecard offers some tips on how companies can significantly reduce consumer complaints filed against them by consumers. Some suggestions include:

dealing with valid consumer complaints quickly without "passing the buck;" providing consumers more information about their services; improving their overall customer service programs; and maintaining better billing and service records.

As competition intensifies, consumers will be using their telephones more to access a wide variety of telecommunication services. The Scorecard provides valuable information consumers can use to make informed choices about which companies and services they want to use. The Scorecard can be accessed and downloaded from the World Wide Web at:


Copies of the report are also available by calling the FCC's fax-on-demand at (202)418-2830 [document number: 6726] or by calling International Transcription Services, Inc. at (202)857-3800 to purchase a copy.

- FCC -

Common Carrier Bureau News Media Contact: Rochelle Cohen (202) 418-1500
Enforcement Division Contact: Kathie A. Kneff (202) 418-0700
Industry Analysis Division Contact: Craig Stroup (202) 418-0940
Consumer Protection Branch Contact: Brian J. Benison (202) 418-2800