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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).

March 19, 1999
  News Media Contact:
Rosemary Kimball at (202) 418-0500


FCC Chairman William E. Kennard pledged continued, vigilant consumer protection from the FCC, and outlined his vision for the "truth-in-billing" initiative to be considered by the FCC next month. He spoke before the 19th Annual Conference of the Consumer Federation of America in Washington, DC.

Noting that phone bills "must be clear and easy to read" and "nothing should be crammed onto them that you don't want or don't understand" Chairman Kennard said that next month the FCC will vote on new truth-in-billing rules which he wants to require that:

  • The bills be clear and understandable;

  • New charges be highlighted;

  • All charges have clear explanations about what they are and who to contact if there is a problem;

  • The bills state clearly which charges, if not paid, will result in termination of service.

Kennard pledged the FCC's continued dedication to protecting consumers. He said, "[I]n a dynamic and robust marketplace, the FCC is the only agency out there which understands the telecom industry and has the expertise to make sure that consumers are protected from those unscrupulous companies who would rather cheat than compete for customers."

In addition to the truth-in-billing initiative, Chairman Kennard mentioned several other ways in which the FCC is protecting consumers. He noted that yesterday the Commission ordered long- distance carriers to post their rates on the Internet, permitting millions of Americans on-line to find out easily about long-distance rates, and newspapers and consumer groups can make this information available to those not yet on-line. He mentioned the severe sanctions the FCC has taken against slammers -- $13 million in fines, including the largest fine ever levied by the FCC. He restated his commitment to ensuring that the benefits of the information age are available to all -- rural and urban, rich and poor, the disability community and those living on Indian reservations.

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