I live in a rural area with no cable or DSL. Periodically, every 3 to 6 months I check to see if my area has high speed Internet. I was with Verizon until the take over here in Washington State about 2 years ago. I have always had the same package of services which included unlimited long distance to both the U.S and Canada. As with Verizon, when you check on their web site to see if DSL is available by zip code (mine is 98284) it indicates that you do. But, when you call them the customer service says "no" for the exact address. Well, the last time I checked with them I went further than customer service and called other departments. I was even referred to an outside vendor. Of course I found out that there is no DSL available at my address.
Within a short time I started to get strange phone messages from Frontier wanting "voice authentication" for the change. I did not know what the hell they were talking about. To my horror I found out by reading my monthly bill that I had been "slammed", that my long distance package had been changed by Frontier and/or by or with or one of its 3r party vendors, without my knowledge or permission from the $20.00 flat fee to charge per minute for Canada.
I called customer service and got a fellow on the East Coast that said the person that he could change it back by changing the coding and had done so many-many times. He said it would be done within 15 minutes and that he would call me within the hour to let me know that the change had been made and back dated so that my bill would be recalculated. He also said that he was going to track down the person who slammed me and report them. Well, he never called back. I had asked for his contact information, but Frontier does not allow these people to give it out. I then called more customer service representatives over the next week or so. I was assured repeatedly that the change back would go into affect within that day and to wait until the next day to make long distance calls. I ended up talking to a half dozen customer service representatives about this. At one point it was disclosed who they had of record who did the change, some man. They said that the person had offered me a different long distance plan. I told the representative that that never happened and that all of the calls I had made, as I do every 3 to 6 months, is to find out if DSL is available. I explained to the representative that I got a woman on the phone that apologized about the confusion about DSL with the web site saying its available, but its really not. The woman said she was sorry that they could not help me with DLS, but that I was a good customer and she could offer me $10.00 off on my bill each month. I asked her over and over again if my plan and services would remain the same as any change can cause real problems with retaining voice mail access,etc. And, she repeatedly said "yes" and so I told her to go ahead. Little did I know that was the long distance slamming. Apparently, the later 2 calls attempting to get me to authorize changes in my account were to confirm the change. That is where they have a representative on the line and they record you to insure there is no fraud, no long distance slamming. Even though I never did this authentication Frontier Communications changed the long distance plan anyway.
Now, for the past few months of service they want dramatically more money. In fact, since I complained last month, I now find that the bill I got in the mail on Saturday, 30 June 2012 charges me per minute for domestic, U.S., long distance in addition to the prior improper billing charging per minute for Canadian long distance. I found out in this process that about the time of the long distance slamming that Frontier Communications stopped offering unlimited long distance within the U.S. and Canada for a flat fee of $20.00.
I am outraged by the treatment that I have received and strongly suspect that this has happened to other Frontier Customers. The smoking gun is that the slamming occurred concurrent in time with Frontier Communication's elimination of the flat fee U.S. and Canadian long distance plan. I was told that those on the flat fee plan were grandfathered in. As to the repeated assurances that the coding on my account would be changed back and the billing recalculated back the first few representatives told me it would happen instantly or within the day and later Frontier representatives told me that this would take many weeks and would be done by a secret department that no customer can communicate with and that even the customer service department cannot communicate with. Come on! Who is going to fall for that? It takes them literally minutes to change features on phone service or to turn phone service on. Changing the coding on long distance back to original can take no more than a few minutes. I see that Frontier Communication may now be using VOIP and perhaps that is part their motivation. I see that they have a problem with market share and profit and perhaps that is a part of their motivation as well.
In my opinion, the whole thing is pure fraud from beginning to end. If you or anyone you know has experienced this nightmare, or if you have information as to other people they have done this to or what the methods are please contact me, post here and file a complaint with the FCC. Here is the FCC web site. When you go there you will be given easy information on how to file a complaint. Also, in some states, that states utilities and transportation commission handles the complaints. So, the enforcement is divided up with the FCC having jurisdiction as to some states and some states handling complaints directly. Take note that the FCC has imposed extreme fines in some cases for slamming long distance. I only took a one time very brief look at just the first page of results relevant search terms and there was a caption of a result that indicated that one company was fined $80,000 for slamming just 2 customers. If Frontier Communications starts getting hit with hundreds of thousands of dollars or perhaps millions of dollars in fines they may decide its not worth what they are doing. Also, consider an attorney general complaint. I think deep investigation is needed and that the FCC, various state utilities and transportation departments and various state attorney general class action law suits may be needed depending upon what is discovered.
Here is the FCC web page with forms for making long distance slamming complaints against Frontier Communications or other phone companies:
You can file a complaint with your state's attorney general as well. Just go to an online search engine and type in the name of the state and the words: attorney general home page
You can also can file a complaint with the US Department of Justice. Here is their website: