Long Distance Phone Service
The Bureau suggests that when choosing a long distance phoneservice you should consider comparing several companies; check for installation fees; whether equal access is ineffect in your area; will you get a refund or are you chargedfor unanswered calls; are you charged for calls under oneminute long; ask if you can have a trail period to see ifthere is difficulty in placing calls and for you to check thequality of the service. Also find out who handles complaint,billing errors or service problems.
Beware of companies who use a process called "slamming".Slamming occurs when a long distance carrier switches yourlong distance phone service without your permission orknowledge. A new Tennessee State law states any companyswitching long distance services without the customerspermission can be fined $100.00 a day, and be forced to refundall charges and fees. (This also applies to "cramming", wherecustomers are billed for unordered services such as callwaiting, voice mail and Internet access). By following a fewsimple rules, consumers can avoid the hassle of being"slammed" and having to get their old long distance carrierreinstated:
Call your telephone company and ask for a long distance"freeze", a free service that gives you an added layer ofprotection. If you talk to long distance telemarketers, beexplicit: "I don't want my long distance serviced switched".Check your long distance charges, each month to ensure thecarrier charging you is the one you want. Consumers who have beenslammed can complain to the Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA)at 1-800-342-8359, extension 160.