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Slams, Crams, and Other Scams


Slamming


Slamming is when your long distance phone service is switched to a different carrier without your permission. If you receive a bill from a company other than your selected carrier, you may have been slammed. Under state and federal law you may choose a long distance carrier in writing, or verbally. Verbal requests to change carriers require that a third party verifier records your consent. If a carrier does not get your consent in writing, or through the proper verbal process, it’s considered slamming.

If your long distance service has been slammed, call your local telephone company and tell them you did not authorize a change to your long distance carrier. Ask them to reconnect you to your original long distance carrier and remove any related charges from your bill. The long distance carrier that slammed your service is responsible for all costs to return your service to your authorized carrier and must bear all costs to providing you service during the period of unauthorized service.

Cramming


Cramming is when unauthorized charges are placed on your telephone bill. State law prohibits a carrier from billing you for an optional telephone service that you did not order. All carriers must provide you with a list of the charges they assess customers, if you request it. Companies must also disclose this information to new customers, with or without a request. Or, you may call the Minnesota Department of Commerce at 651-296-6913 or send an email to access carrier tariffs, which list prices, terms and conditions. The Minnesota Attorney General website has additional information on cramming.

Robocalls


Robocalls are calls from a recorded message instead of a live person. Some robocalls are legal, such as those placed on behalf of candidates running for office, or certain charities asking for donations. However, many are illegal sales calls, cleverly disguised behind false caller ID information. For more information on robocalls and what you can do, visit the Federal Trade Commission website

Victims of slamming, cramming or robocalls may call the Minnesota Office of Attorney General at (651) 296-3353 or send the OAG an email.