Slamming and Cramming

Slamming is an industry term for a situation where a telephone consumer’s phone service is switched from the preferred or selected carrier to another telecommunications services provider. The result of such a practice can be the customer paying extremely high per minute charges and/or high monthly recurring charges for long distance and/or local phone services. Slamming may occur as a result of unintentional actions, or intentional, fraudulent actions. Services providers have implemented steps to mitigate the chances of slamming occurring. However, each consumer must also contribute to prevent slamming occurring to them. First, you should be very careful of signing anything without reading the fine print carefully. There are some schemes where the consumer is asked to send in a signed sweepstakes entry, but the only end result is that your phone service is switched. In addition, you should review your monthly phone bill. Upon review, there will be clear indication of the entity who is currently providing your services. If the company reflected on your bill is not the company you selected as your provider, you should contact your local phone company and the long distance services provider that you had selected. Be sure to confirm that you will not get assessed a change in your primary interexchange carrier by the telephone company. Since you were a victim of slamming, you should not be held responsible for any charges that may be assessed to restore your preferred long distance services provider.

Cramming is an industry term for a situation where a company may charge for telecommunications or information services that were not intentionally ordered by the consumer. As a result, unwary consumers may end up paying a telecommunications services provider for services that they did not want to order and should not have to pay for. Please note that this situation is different from one where another user may have ordered or utilized telecommunications services without informing the billpayer(s). To take precautions against cramming, you should review your monthly phone bill carefully. If there are any charges that do not appear familiar, you should call the provider that is charging you for the services.

For more information on cramming, visit the FCC’s Cramming Tip Sheet for Consumers page.