The FCC has approved new rules against two dubious practices in the wireless industry: slamming, the unauthorized transfer of an account from one carrier to another, and; cramming, the addition of unauthorized charges onto a customer’s bill.
Slamming has come under heavy scrutiny in recent months after some consumers found that they were locked out of their accounts because malicious actors provided enough evidence to bypass poor security checks at the carrier level. Often times, it’s the carriers themselves that use tactics such as audio splicing to make it sound like the customer is agreeing to a new contract when, in fact, they were responding to an unrelated solicitous call. More carriers have begun to implement specific passcodes to allow for privileged account actions such as cancellation.
With the new rules, companies that abuse verification procedures will be banned from using those procedures for five years. However, the commission also approved the removal of customer authorization for each new service they may want to purchase, calling the process confusing.
In addition, a ban on cramming is now in writing whereas prior to today it would still be considered an infraction on fair trade policy to be enforced by local governments and the FTC.