Slamming occurs when your phone service, either local or long-distance, is switched to another company without your consent. This practice is illegal but not uncommon.

Handling a Service Change

Consumers may change telephone companies by calling the company of their choice and asking for a change or by agreeing to switch during a telemarketing call. The new company is required to verify the switch in any one of the following ways:

  • Obtain written consent from the customer;
  • Have the customer call back and confirm your order via an electronic menu system; or,
  • Have an independent third party verify the change and record the call

Reviewing Your Bill

Each month, inspect your phone bill for any irregularities, particularly for any charges from companies you do not recognize or normally see on your bill. If you notice a new provider on your bill that you did not authorize, then you may have been slammed.

You can check your assigned carrier by calling toll-free:

  • 1-700-555-4141 for long-distance service; and
  • 1-(your area code)-700-4141 for your local toll company.

 A recording will tell you the name of your provider.

 

If You Have Been Slammed

Commission staff investigate all slamming complaints by customers in Washington. If you suspect that you have been slammed, do not pay any charges associated with the unauthorized carrier.
You should:
  • Contact your local phone company and describe the disputed charges. Let them know that your phone bill payment will not cover any of the disputed charges;
  • Re-establish service with your original long-distance provider. Be sure to get back on the same plan you were slammed from (if that is your wish); and
  • Cancel service with the unauthorized carrier.

Filing a Complaint

If you are not satisfied with the company’s response, you can file a complaint with the commission’s Consumer Protection staff. File a complaint using our online complaint form, e-mail consumer@utc.wa.gov, or call 1-888-333-WUTC (9882).

Slamming Prevention

To help prevent slamming, you can ask your local phone company to freeze your account. By freezing your account, you prevent any change in your local or long-distance company unless you contact your local phone company directly.