Phoenix Office
Arizona Corporation Commission
1200 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 542-4251
(800) 222-7000

Utilities Division
Steven M. Olea - Director



Tucson Office
Arizona Corporation Commission
400 W. Congress, Ste. 218
Tucson, AZ 85701
(520) 628-6550
(800) 535-0148


 

Slamming and Cramming
Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is "SLAMMING"?
"Slamming" is any practice that changes your local or long distance wireline telephone company without your knowledge or consent.  It is unfair competition that robs you of your right to choose companies and it most often happens without your knowledge.  It is wrong, and there are things that you can do about it.
Does the Commission have rules against "SLAMMING"?
In Decision 66967 signed on May 11, 2004, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved rules against slamming embodied in R14-2-1901 through 1913 (**LINK TO RULES**).  Those rules require wireline telecommunications companies to abide by strict regulations designed to prevent slamming and restore your service promptly should you become a victim of slamming.  The rules went into effect on July 23, 2004.

The rules give the Commission the authority to assist you in resolving slamming complaints and also allow the Commission to sanction companies that violate the rules.

What can I do to prevent "SLAMMING" on my account?
Under rules imposed by the Commission, you have the right to request that your local wireline carrier place a “freeze” on your account.  An account freeze (also referred to as a PIC freeze or preferred carrier freeze) prevents changes in your telephone service until you agree to lift the freeze.  This is one way to prevent unauthorized changes to your account.
What can I do if I discover that I was "SLAMMED"?
Tell your local telephone company that you did not request a change to the “new” long distance carrier and you want to be switched back.  Tell them that you want to be reconnected with the carrier you had prior to the slamming incident.  Then call the company that slammed you and tell them of the unauthorized change of carrier.  Under rules approved by the Commission, you are not responsible for any charges incurred during the first 90 days of service provided by the unauthorized provider.  If it is after the 90 day period, you will pay only those charges that your regular phone company would have imposed for the calls you made.

You should also request that they coordinate with your local telephone company to credit your account for any fees or charges related to the unauthorized changes.  Keep track of the names and telephone numbers of the people who assist you.

Can the Commission help me resolve a "SLAMMING" complaint?
If you are unable to resolve your complaint with the company that slammed you, the Commission’s Consumer Services section can assist you in resolving slamming complaints.  You may call the Consumer Services numbers below or go to the Can We Help? (/divisions/utilities/cons/) page on this website and follow the instructions for filing a complaint.
To request help from the Arizona Corporation Commission, please call us at the numbers below between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Within Metro Phoenix: 602-542-4251
Within Metro Tucson: 520-628-6550

Outside the Metro Phoenix or Tucson areas, but within Arizona, call toll free

1-800-222-7000 connects you to the Phoenix Office and
1-800-535-0148 connects you to the Tucson Office

How can I protect myself and save money?
Carefully review your telephone bill every month.  Treat your telephone service just like any other major consumer purchase.  You should review your monthly telephone bills just as closely as you review your monthly credit card and bank statements.  Ask yourself the following questions as you review your bills:

·        Do I recognize the names of all the companies listed on my bill?  (Some people receive a consolidated bill for local, long distance and other services, which may be provided by other companies.)

·        What services were provided by the listed companies?

·        Does the bill include charges for calls I did not place or services I did not authorize?

·        Are the rates charged by each company consistent with the rates that the company quoted to me?

·        Are there any announcements or billing inserts that explain changes to the way I receive service or the fees I pay?  (Many people ignore important billing inserts.  It’s worth your time to review these announcements to ensure that you understand what you are paying for.)

Similarly, consider the following tips for avoiding being slammed or crammed:

·        Examine your monthly bill and make sure you understand every charge.  Look for unfamiliar company names, calls you didn’t make or services you didn’t authorize.  If something isn’t clear, call your local telephone company and ask for an explanation.

·        Keep a notepad by the telephone and jot down each phone service that you authorize (i.e. call waiting, caller ID, voice messaging, etc.) as well as any unusual long distance calls.  Also write down the date and time you make any calls to informational or 900 services.

·        Be careful when entering “activation codes” or answering “yes” to questions that may be intended to get you to authorize services you don’t want.

·        Read the fine print before completing contest forms, sweepstakes tickets and certain coupon offers.  Less scrupulous companies may use these methods to get you to accept new services – it always pays to read the fine print.

·        Be sure that you know who is using your telephone at all times and request blocking services when appropriate.  Having 900 numbers blocked from your telephone line will help keep mysterious charges from appearing on your bill.

  • Be aware that the cost of small, incorrect or unauthorized charges for telephone related services adds up over time.  Make sure you know what service was provided for each charge on your bill.
What is "CRAMMING"?
"Cramming" is having services added to your telephone service without your authorization or billing you for services you have not received. Cramming can involve a wide range of unauthorized charges such as non-regulated services like voice mail, personal 800 numbers, paging services, certain long distance calling plans and pay-per-use 900 number calls.  Services such as these are separate and distinct from your regulated local and long distance service.
Cramming may also include regulated service features such as call waiting or caller ID that are offered by your local phone company.  Services of this type are optional and are not part of your basic local telephone service.
Does the Commission have rules against "CRAMMING"?
In Decision 66967 signed on May 11, 2004, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved rules against cramming embodied in R14-2-2001 through 2011 (**LINK TO RULES**).  Those rules require wireline telecommunications companies to abide by strict regulations designed to prevent cramming and promptly refund any unauthorized charges if you are crammed.  The rules went into effect on July 23, 2004.

The rules give the Commission the authority to assist you in resolving cramming complaints and also allow the Commission to sanction companies that violate the rules.

What can I do if I am a victim of "CRAMMING"?
Contact the company billing you for these unwanted services, and advise them to remove the charges.  Under the rules enacted by the Commission, the company must remove the charges from your bill within 45 days.  You should also ask for a full credit back to the date the change was made.  If you are unable to reach a satisfactory resolution of your problem, you can file a complaint against the company with the Arizona Corporation Commission.
Can the Commission help me resolve a "CRAMMING" complaint?
If you are unable to resolve your complaint with the company that crammed you, the Commission’s Consumer Services section can assist you in resolving cramming complaints.  You may call the Consumer Services numbers below or go to the Can We Help? (/divisions/utilities/cons/) page on this website and follow the instructions for filing a complaint.

To request help from the Arizona Corporation Commission, please call us at the numbers below between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Within Metro Phoenix: 602-542-4251
Within Metro Tucson: 520-628-6550

Outside the Metro Phoenix or Tucson areas, but within Arizona, call toll free

1-800-222-7000 connects you to the Phoenix Office and
1-800-535-0148 connects you to the Tucson Office

How can I protect myself and save money?
Carefully review your telephone bill every month.  Treat your telephone service just like any other major consumer purchase.  You should review your monthly telephone bills just as closely as you review your monthly credit card and bank statements.  Ask yourself the following questions as you review your bills:

·        Do I recognize the names of all the companies listed on my bill?  (Some people receive a consolidated bill for local, long distance and other services, which may be provided by other companies.)

·        What services were provided by the listed companies?

·        Does the bill include charges for calls I did not place or services I did not authorize?

·        Are the rates charged by each company consistent with the rates that the company quoted to me?

·        Are there any announcements or billing inserts that explain changes to the way I receive service or the fees I pay?  (Many people ignore important billing inserts.  It’s worth your time to review these announcements to ensure that you understand what you are paying for.)

Similarly, consider the following tips for avoiding being slammed or crammed:

·        Examine your monthly bill and make sure you understand every charge.  Look for unfamiliar company names, calls you didn’t make or services you didn’t authorize.  If something isn’t clear, call your local telephone company and ask for an explanation.

·        Keep a notepad by the telephone and jot down each phone service that you authorize (i.e. call waiting, caller ID, voice messaging, etc.) as well as any unusual long distance calls.  Also write down the date and time you make any calls to informational or “900” services.

·        Be careful when entering “activation codes” or answering “yes” to questions that may be intended to get you to authorize services you don’t want.

·        Read the fine print before completing contest forms, sweepstakes tickets and certain coupon offers.  Less scrupulous companies may use these methods to get you to accept new services – it always pays to read the fine print.

·        Be sure that you know who is using your telephone at all times and request “blocking” services when appropriate.  Having “900” numbers blocked from your telephone line will help keep mysterious charges from appearing on your bill.

  • Be aware that the cost of small, incorrect or unauthorized charges for telephone related services adds up over time.  Make sure you know what service was provided for each charge on your bill.

 

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