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PRODIAL´S INFORMATION SERVICES
 

 

TRY FIRST TO WORK IT OUT WITH THE COMPANY SUPPLYING THE SERVICE. IF THAT DOESN´T WORK, YOU HAVE PLENTY OF OPTIONS.

Consumer Awareness

 
 

Slamming: A long distance company suddenly connects their service to your phone line without first gaining your approval / acceptance / authorization.
Cramming: A company other than your local phone company manages to insert charges on your local phone bill. These are charges for calling cards, services or products which you did not purchase or authorize but which are typically 'vague' in their description.
Jamming: Your local company puts an unauthorized, un-asked-for, 'PIC freeze' or block on your telephone line, preventing change of long distance carriers. This prevents you from changing long distance and LATA carriers, even when you want to.
Scamming: Phone bills, charges, services and products are just as subject to illegal scams or 'doubtful deals' as any credit card or financial account. The customer must be alert to all charges which appear on the phone bill.


SELECT THE TOPIC YOU ARE MOST INTERESTED IN, OR READ ABOUT ALL AVAILABLE CHOICES TO IMPROVE YOUR LONG-DISTANCE AND COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES AWARENESS


FCC  |  FTC  |  CALIF PUC  |  OTHER PUC's  |  TELEPHONE SERVICES Q & A  SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS

    

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

Review the official FCC rules and position on Slamming, including "Rules To Protect Consumers Against Long Distance Service Generated by Telemarketers" and "If You've Been Slammed".

FCC CONSUMER ALERT - "Telephone Slamming"
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/slamming.html
Customers have the right to use any telephone carrier they choose and to change carriers whenever they wish. It is important for customers to select their own telephone company because different companies charge different rates.

Contact the FCC and tell them about your problem. Telecommunications companies do not want trouble from the FCC, so send a copy of your FCC complaint to the company involved.

Federal Communications Commission
1919 M Street NW, Room 254
Washington, D.C., 20554
(The director of the PSD is Martha Contee)


The FCC cannot award monetary or other damages, except under very limited circumstances. However, you may send a typed or legibly printed letter regarding suspected violations of the TCPA or the FCC's rules to:

Federal Communications Commission
Common Carrier Bureau
Consumer Complaints
Mail Stop 1600A2
Washington, D.C. 20554


Your letter should include the information in the following checklist:

• Your name, address and a daytime telephone number.
• The action you are requesting, such as requesting a person or
  business to:
• stop calling your home telephone number;
• add your name to their do-not-call list;
• stop sending unsolicited advertisements to your fax machine; or
• stop placing autodialed calls that simultaneously engage two or
  more of your company's multiline business telephone lines.
• The date you requested to be added to the organization's do-not- call list,
  and the name of the individual you spoke with.
• The home or business telephone number the solicitor called.
• The name, address and telephone number of the organization placing
  the calls.
• The dates and times you received calls or fax messages from
  the organization.
• The telephone number of the fax machine to which unsolicited
  advertisements were sent.
• Copies of any unsolicited advertisements sent to your fax machine.
• Whether or not you have filed suit in state court, including the state where
  any such suit was filed.

For the FCC page on consumers: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO THE TOP


FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

You can also contact the Federal Trade Commission.

If you believe you are the victim of false or deceptive telephone solicitation sales practices, you should send your complaint to:

Federal Trade Commission
Correspondence Branch
Drop H486
6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20580


Another alternative is to write to the Federal Trade Commission at the following address to request information about its Telemarketing Sales Rule which protects consumers from deceptive and abusive telemarketing practices:

Federal Trade Commission
Public Reference Branch
6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20580


Information about the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule is also available on the Internet at the following World Wide Web Site: http://www.ftc.gov


The Federal Trade Commission Guide to eCommerce and the Internet:
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/menu-internet.htm

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CALIFORNIA, MAILING YOUR COMPLAINT TO THE
PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION:

What you must specify in a written complaint?
• Your name
• Mailing address and phone number
• Name of the utility or carrier you are complaining about
• Address and telephone number of the utility or carrier (if applicable)
• The name of the utility or carrier representative you contacted
 (if applicable)
• Your utility account number (if applicable)
• A brief description of your complaint
Please limit your complaint to two pages or less.


Where to mail your complaint?

Issues Concerning Billing and Service:

CPUC - Consumer Affairs Branch
505 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94102


FAXING YOUR COMPLAINT:

To FAX a complaint use

(415) 703-1158 or
(415) 703-1910

California PUC, Telecommunications division is at:
http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/static/industry/telco/index.htm

 

Complete information about filing a California PUC complaint: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/static/forms/complaint.htm

OTHER PUC's

For the link that allows you to click directly to the web page of your state PUC:
http://pscbbs.dps.state.ny.us/stateweb.htm

For a list of all the state utility agencies (PUC, PSC, Dept. of xx, etc.):
http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/crh/utility.htm

More direct references to names and phone numbers of the state agencies that regulate the intrastate telecommunications industry are available on the Internet at the following World Wide Web Site:
http://www.fcc.gov/wcb/iatd/state_puc.html

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CONCERNING TELEPHONE SERVICES

What can I do if my long distance provider was changed without my knowledge or permission?

If your long distance company has been changed without your authorization, you should contact your local telephone company to get switched back to your original carrier within 90 days to avoid any switching charges. To eliminate any future switches without your permission, please contact your local telephone company. You are still responsible for payment of the calls made but you can ask the carrier that switched you to re-rate the calls to your original carrier. If you wish to report the carrier who switched you without your permission or need assistance in getting a credit, you may contact the Consumer Affairs Branch.

Who is responsible for repairing my inside telephone wiring?

A premise visit charge may be required if the phone company has to come out to your home or business to locate a service problem that is found on your side of the telephone block. Repairs to your inside wiring or telephone equipment is a competitive service that may be done by anyone. You may also pay your local phone company a small maintenance fee each month to maintain your service for you.

Do I have a choice of local telephone companies?

Local competition is now available in areas served by Pacific Bell and General Telephone Communications. If you wish to obtain a list of companies approved by the Commission to provide local service in California, please write or telephone the Consumer Affairs Branch.

Is Caller ID legal?

Caller ID is now in effect. For answers to all your blocking questions, contact your local telephone company. If you have concerns or complaints that are not resolved by the phone company, you may contact the Consumer Affairs Branch.

What are the taxes and surcharges on my telephone bill?

The Commission has been ordered by the Legislature to implement the various surcharges that appear on your telephone bill. For an explanation of these surcharges contact the utility that is collecting them. Many municipalities in California have assessed utility taxes. If you have a question concerning the local tax that appears on your bill, contact your city or county office. Also, the federal government collects a 3% excise tax on all telephone charges.

How do I dispute charges on my cellular phone bill?

The FCC has preempted state utility commissions from rate regulation. If you are disputing the rates, please write to:

FCC Mail Stop Code
1600-A
Washington, DC 20554

What do I do if I have trouble with a pay phone?

Customer Owned Pay Telephones (COPT) are privately owned. The phone must have a sign with the name of the owner and instructions on how to report a problem with the phone. The phone should also include the name of the long-distance company providing service, pricing information, and dialing instructions. If you wish to report problems with a pay phone you may contact the Complaint Hotline at 1-800-473-6220.

Why are there so many new area codes?

Californians increased use of telecommunication services such as cellular phones, pagers, modems, faxes and the advent of local service competition has gobbled up phone numbers. To meet this demand area codes in California will double from 13 to 26 by the next century.


Consumer protection information on disputing credit card charges:
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/fcb.htm


The American Bar Association's guide to safe shopping:
http://www.safeshopping.org

 
Email us at ask4info@prodial.comIf you have any tips or information to share with our visitors, please send it to us. Once confirmed, we´┐Żll post it here, so others may be better served by the quickly advancing communications and long-distance services technologies available. Thanks!
      

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