Florida’s Public Service Commission (PSC) today acted on two cases involving companies switching customers’ telephone providers without their consent, an illegal practice known as “slamming.”
The Commission penalized Optic Internet Protocol, Inc. (OIP) $1.46 million--$10,000 for each of its 146 apparent rule violations--and accepted a $106,000 settlement from Easy Telephone Services Company (Easy Tel) resolving its allegations. By statute, the PSC can impose a penalty up to $25,000 for each day a violation continues, if a company won’t comply with or willfully violates PSC rules or orders, as alleged in OIP’s case. Historically, the PSC has also accepted settlement offers ranging from $700 to $2,500 per violation for a first time offense, as identified in Easy Tel’s isolated marketing problem.
“Customers have the right to choose their provider for local and long distance telephone service,” said PSC Chairman Art Graham. “Practices designed to interfere with customer choice are not tolerated in Florida.”
If you’ve been a victim of slamming, charges from the unauthorized company may show up on your local phone bill, or you may receive a new bill from the company. Consumers experiencing this problem can call the PSC’s toll-free number, 1-800-342-3552, e-mail their complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Division of Service, Safety & Consumer Assistance, 2540 Shumard Oak Blvd., Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0850.
The PSC facilitates safe and reliable utility services at fair prices for Florida's consumers. Primary responsibilities include setting fair rates, encouraging competition, and monitoring for safety and reliability.
For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.