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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).
Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission to Hold Joint Public Forum On Advertising of Long Distance Services Joint Forum Underscores Intergovernmental Agency Cooperation to Protect Consumer Interests
Joint Forum Underscores Intergovernmental Agency Cooperation to Protect Consumer Interests
Washington, DC -- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announce that they will convene a joint public forum on November 4, 1999, to address the advertising and marketing of long distance services, including dial-around services -- often called "10-10" numbers. The forum will provide an opportunity for government, industry, and consumer groups to discuss recent trends in how these long-distance services are advertised and what principles should guide industry advertising.
As a result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and long-standing FCC policies designed to foster competition in the long-distance telecommunications market, many companies are offering consumers a variety of choices in long-distance calling. While consumers benefit from being able to choose the particular service that best meets their long-distance needs, some consumers report being confused and often misled by the nature of the claims made by companies in their advertisements. New services, including "10-10" numbers and discount calling plans, are heavily promoted in prime-time TV commercials, in national newspaper and magazine campaigns, and through major direct mail promotions.The FCC and the FTC have determined that a joint public forum would be an appropriate way to give interested individuals an opportunity to explore the issues raised by the advertising and marketing of these services. For example, participants at the forum will examine mock ads and discuss whether the ads fail to adequately disclose the actual cost to consumers for using the services, or only reveal in fine print important information about additional fees or other charges.
The forum will convene at 8:30 a.m. on November 4th at FCC Headquarters at 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC, in the Commission Meeting Room. The morning session will focus on the current state of long-distance advertising, including dial-around services, as well as applicable law. The afternoon session will feature analysis, by panelists, of mock advertisements for long-distance services and a discussion about what can be done to ensure that ads for long-distance telephone service provide consumers with truthful information on which to make informed purchasing decisions.
The FTC vote to publish the Federal Register notice announcing the public forum was 4-0.
NOTE: Copies of the Federal Register notice announcing the joint public forum, the