WASHINGTON — Legislation introduced in the Senate on Wednesday would provide for fines of up to $1 million on long-distance companies that switch consumers' phone service without their permission.
The bill comes a day after a U.S. appeals court suspended tough new federal rules aimed at cracking down on the growing problem, known as "slamming."
MCI WorldCom Inc. and other long-distance carriers had opposed the agency's new rules, and had come up with their own proposal for resolving such disputes. That plan, presented to the Federal Communications Commission on March 30, called for the creation of a third-party group to handle consumer complaints about slamming.
Congress and consumer groups have been urging the FCC to do more to fight slamming after lawmakers could not agree on national legislation last year. Now the Senate's trying again, and lawmakers want the FCC to reject the industry plan.