The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission's (IURC) consumer affairs division today reached a settlement agreement with America's Tele-Network Corporation (AT-N) for telephone slamming and cramming violations. The settlement, pending Commission approval, requires AT-N to pay a $50,000 fine for numerous telephone slamming and cramming violations. Slamming is the transfer of a consumer from one phone company to another without the consumer's knowledge or consent. Cramming involves the placing of charges on a consumer's phone bill for services that were not requested or used by the consumer.
"This case serves as notice to telecommunication providers that unscrupulous marketing practices for telecommunications services will not be tolerated in Indiana," said Indiana's Consumer Counselor Anne E. Becker. "We will continue to scrutinize slamming and cramming complaints and work with the Commission to punish violators to the extent allowed under Indiana law." This is the first proceeding that uses the IURC's fining authority, which became effective on July 1, 1999. The IURC can fine a company up to $2,500 for each slamming or cramming violation.
The settlement requires AT-N to cease all marketing in Indiana for six months. Before restarting marketing activities, the OUCC and IURC must be convinced that the company is complying with Indiana regulations. AT-N also is required to file quarterly reports with the IURC and the OUCC. The OUCC has a free brochure available for consumers interested in learning more about slamming and cramming. The brochure is available online at www.state.in.us/oucc or by calling the OUCC toll-free at (888) 441-2494.
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