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FCC Fines Company $4.1 Million for Slamming and Cramming Consumer Phone Lines

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday fined Tele Circuit Network Corporation for switching consumers’ service providers.

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Photo of Geoffrey Starks by Amelia Holowaty Krales of the Verge

April 23, 2021—The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday levied a $4.1 million fine against Tele Circuit Network Corporation for deceptive market practices, including illegally switching consumers’ service providers and saddling them with fraudulent charges.

The agency unanimously voted to fine Tele Circuit Network for engaging in “slamming” and “cramming.”

The victims, many of them senior citizens or low-income living in rural areas, were berated by telemarketers claiming to represent consumers’ carriers and tricked into switching carriers (slamming) or authorizing fraudulent charges (cramming), according to the FCC’s order.

Tele Circuit Network would often withhold telephone services from consumers until the fraudulent charges were paid. When they did not receive payment, the group would often disconnect consumers from their phone service. The FCC said it acted after complaints from the Better Business Bureau, the FTC, and state and local regulatory agencies.

“While even one instance of slamming and cramming would be intolerable, the repeated nature of Telecircuit’s predatory behavior makes its actions particularly egregious,” Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said, “This type of conduct simply won’t stand.”

“Today we hold this company accountable for its mistreatment of consumers,” Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said. “To anyone else using our nation’s phone systems to perpetuate this kind of scam, take note—because our efforts won’t stop here,” she warned.

This fine appears to be a part of a larger effort by the FCC to act against companies that take advantage of elderly, low-income, and infirm consumers. In March of 2021, the FCC levied its largest fine to date: Then, telemarketers received a $225 million fine for making more than one billion spoofed calls selling fraudulent health insurance plans.

In an additional step to combat fraudsters, the FCC on April 20 announced its launch of a database to track robocallers.

As a child of American parents working abroad, Reporter Ben Kahn was raised as a third culture kid, growing up in five different countries, including the U.S.. He is a recent graduate of the University of Baltimore, where he majored in Policy, Politics, and International Affairs. He enjoys learning about foreign languages and cultures and can now speak poorly in more than one language.

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April 23, 2021—The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday levied a $4.1 million fine against Tele Circuit Network Corporation for deceptive market practices, including illegally switching consumers’ service providers and saddling them with fraudulent charges.

The agency unanimously voted to fine Tele Circuit Network for engaging in “slamming” and “cramming.”

The victims, many of them senior citizens or low-income living in rural areas, were berated by telemarketers claiming to represent consumers’ carriers and tricked into switching carriers (slamming) or authorizing fraudulent charges (cramming), according to the FCC’s order.

Tele Circuit Network would often withhold telephone services from consumers until the fraudulent charges were paid. When they did not receive payment, the group would often disconnect consumers from their phone service. The FCC said it acted after complaints from the Better Business Bureau, the FTC, and state and local regulatory agencies.

“While even one instance of slamming and cramming would be intolerable, the repeated nature of Telecircuit’s predatory behavior makes its actions particularly egregious,” Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said, “This type of conduct simply won’t stand.”

“Today we hold this company accountable for its mistreatment of consumers,” Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said. “To anyone else using our nation’s phone systems to perpetuate this kind of scam, take note—because our efforts won’t stop here,” she warned.

This fine appears to be a part of a larger effort by the FCC to act against companies that take advantage of elderly, low-income, and infirm consumers. In March of 2021, the FCC levied its largest fine to date: Then, telemarketers received a $225 million fine for making more than one billion spoofed calls selling fraudulent health insurance plans.

In an additional step to combat fraudsters, the FCC on April 20 announced its launch of a database to track robocallers.

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April 23, 2021—The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday levied a $4.1 million fine against Tele Circuit Network Corporation for deceptive market practices, including illegally switching consumers’ service providers and saddling them with fraudulent charges.

The agency unanimously voted to fine Tele Circuit Network for engaging in “slamming” and “cramming.”

The victims, many of them senior citizens or low-income living in rural areas, were berated by telemarketers claiming to represent consumers’ carriers and tricked into switching carriers (slamming) or authorizing fraudulent charges (cramming), according to the FCC’s order.

Tele Circuit Network would often withhold telephone services from consumers until the fraudulent charges were paid. When they did not receive payment, the group would often disconnect consumers from their phone service. The FCC said it acted after complaints from the Better Business Bureau, the FTC, and state and local regulatory agencies.

“While even one instance of slamming and cramming would be intolerable, the repeated nature of Telecircuit’s predatory behavior makes its actions particularly egregious,” Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said, “This type of conduct simply won’t stand.”

“Today we hold this company accountable for its mistreatment of consumers,” Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said. “To anyone else using our nation’s phone systems to perpetuate this kind of scam, take note—because our efforts won’t stop here,” she warned.

This fine appears to be a part of a larger effort by the FCC to act against companies that take advantage of elderly, low-income, and infirm consumers. In March of 2021, the FCC levied its largest fine to date: Then, telemarketers received a $225 million fine for making more than one billion spoofed calls selling fraudulent health insurance plans.

In an additional step to combat fraudsters, the FCC on April 20 announced its launch of a database to track robocallers.

Continue Reading

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April 23, 2021—The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday levied a $4.1 million fine against Tele Circuit Network Corporation for deceptive market practices, including illegally switching consumers’ service providers and saddling them with fraudulent charges.

The agency unanimously voted to fine Tele Circuit Network for engaging in “slamming” and “cramming.”

The victims, many of them senior citizens or low-income living in rural areas, were berated by telemarketers claiming to represent consumers’ carriers and tricked into switching carriers (slamming) or authorizing fraudulent charges (cramming), according to the FCC’s order.

Tele Circuit Network would often withhold telephone services from consumers until the fraudulent charges were paid. When they did not receive payment, the group would often disconnect consumers from their phone service. The FCC said it acted after complaints from the Better Business Bureau, the FTC, and state and local regulatory agencies.

“While even one instance of slamming and cramming would be intolerable, the repeated nature of Telecircuit’s predatory behavior makes its actions particularly egregious,” Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said, “This type of conduct simply won’t stand.”

“Today we hold this company accountable for its mistreatment of consumers,” Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said. “To anyone else using our nation’s phone systems to perpetuate this kind of scam, take note—because our efforts won’t stop here,” she warned.

This fine appears to be a part of a larger effort by the FCC to act against companies that take advantage of elderly, low-income, and infirm consumers. In March of 2021, the FCC levied its largest fine to date: Then, telemarketers received a $225 million fine for making more than one billion spoofed calls selling fraudulent health insurance plans.

In an additional step to combat fraudsters, the FCC on April 20 announced its launch of a database to track robocallers.

Continue Reading

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