WSR 97-11-072

PROPOSED RULES

UTILITIES AND TRANSPORTATION

COMMISSION

[Filed May 21, 1997, 11:02 a.m.]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 96-15-130.

Title of Rule: Definition of competitive business practices, identification of unauthorized and involuntary changes in services identified as "slamming" practices in the local exchange market and restrictions of such practices, and formulation of competitive service practices related to telecommunications companies business in the Washington state market. Docket No. UT-960942.

Purpose: The purpose of the proposed rule is for consumer protection and to address fair competitive business practices between and among competing telecommunications companies during contacts with customers where choice of service provider for some component of service is an issue, including protection against involuntary and unauthorized changes in service providers.

Other Identifying Information: Under the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, consumers are offered choices among many providers of service for various components of telecommunication services needs. Consumer protection may be necessary to ensure that choices and options of services and service providers are fair and neutral with consumers at the time service is initiated or changes in services are sought and that the choices are exercised voluntarily by consumers. Standard Industry Codes: 2741 (publishing/directories) and 7389 (telecommunications marketing).

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 80.04.010.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 80.01.040.

Summary: See Purpose above.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: See Explanation of Rule below.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Steve McLellan, 1300 South Evergreen Park Drive S.W., Olympia, WA 98504, (360) 753-6451.

Name of Proponent: Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, governmental.

Rule is necessary because of federal law, 47 U.S.C. 271. Copies of this statute are available at the Utilities and Transportation Commission branch of the Washington State Library.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: Amendatory section WAC 480-120-042 Directory service, the purpose of the rule amendment is to list all local exchange companies doing business in Washington in the pertinent area directory so that customers are informed regarding telecommunication choices of services and carriers. The language states telecommunications service listing in telephone directories shall include the name and telephone number of all exchange carriers registered to provide service in the geographic area covered by such directory.

New section WAC 480-120-139 Changes in service, the purpose of the new rule language is to confirm customer options and safeguards during initiation of new services or changes in existing services. The rule would give uniform consumer protection to ensure service providers are addressing consumers' inquiries and consumer service orders are fair and consistent across the industry. The choices in services and providers would be exercised voluntarily and in an informed manner by consumers.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: See Purpose above.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. The amended section of WAC 480-120-042 and new WAC 480-120-139 are adopted solely to bring conformity to state regulations with federal statutes. The rules will bring state code into consistency with U.S.C. 47, Section 271 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The act does not preempt state jurisdictions to adopt rules duplicating federal requirements.

The proposed rule amendment and new rule will place existing industry practices into rule language and clarify consumer education practices. Because these practices are already in place, no new costs will be imposed.

Section 201, chapter 403, Laws of 1995, does not apply to this rule adoption. The agency is exempt from mandatory application of the requirements of section 201.

Hearing Location: Commission Hearing Room, Second Floor, Chandler Plaza, 1300 South Evergreen Park Drive S.W., Olympia, WA 98504, on July 30, 1997, at 9:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Pat Valentine by July 28, 1997, TDD (360) 586-8203, or (360) 753-1292.

Submit Written Comments to: Steve McLellan, Secretary, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA 98504-7250, FAX (360) 586-1150, by June 16, 1997.

Date of Intended Adoption: July 30, 1997.

May 21, 1997

Terrence Stapleton

for Steve McLellan

Secretary

AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order R-242, Cause No. U-85-56, filed 11/7/85)

WAC 480-120-042 Directory service. A telephone directory shall be regularly published for each exchange, listing the name, address (unless omission is requested), and telephone number of the subscribers who can be called in that exchange, except those subscribers who have a nonlisted or nonpublished telephone number. Any subscriber to residential service may request a dual name primary directory listing which contains, in addition to the subscriber's surname, the given names or initials (or combination thereof) of the subscriber and (1) one other person with the same surname who resides at the same address; or (2) a second name, other than surname, by which the subscriber is also known, including the married name of a woman whose husband is deceased. Any additional directory listing requested by a subscriber pursuant to tariff provision shall also reflect said dual name listing if requested by the subscriber. (Each subscriber to residential service as of the effective date of this rule shall be entitled for a six month period to request on a one-time basis at no cost a change in the manner of listing the subscriber's name to the dual name listing provided for above, so long as there has been no other change requested and made in the subscriber's directory listing since the effective date.)

A copy of any required directory shall be furnished each subscriber in each exchange. If that directory does not also contain such listings for all subscribers who can be called toll free from that exchange (excluding WATS), a copy of the directory or directories required for that coverage shall be furnished each subscriber upon request and without charge. If anyone requests a directory other than the one(s) provided for above, the company may apply a charge equal to, but not to exceed, its actual cost for the directory, plus freight, postage, and $0.50.

All telecommunications service listings in telephone directories published by any incumbent local exchange carriers or competitive local exchange carriers shall include the name and telephone number of all exchange carriers registered to provide service in the geographic area covered by such directory.

Normally, telephone directories shall be revised annually; otherwise they shall be revised at least once every fifteen months, except when it is known that impending service changes require rescheduling of directory revision dates. The revision of directories may at times be required more often than specified to keep the directory correct and up to date. Exemptions from these requirements may be allowed by the commission upon application if it can be shown that it is unnecessary to revise the directory within the specified time limit for good cause and/or due to a relatively small number of changes resulting from new listings or changed numbers and if the exchange is equipped for adequate intercept in the case of dial exchanges.

In the event of an error in the listed number of any subscriber, the telecommunications company shall, until a new directory is published, intercept all calls to the incorrectly listed number to give the calling party the correct number of the called party, providing that this is permitted by existing central office equipment and the incorrectly listed number is not a number presently assigned to another subscriber. In the event of an error or omission in the name listing of a subscriber, such subscriber's correct name and telephone number shall be maintained in the files of the directory assistance operator, and the correct number shall be furnished the calling party upon request.

Whenever a subscriber's telephone number is changed for any reason after a directory is published, the utility shall intercept all calls to the former number, if existing office equipment will permit, for a minimum period of thirty days or until a new directory is published, and give the calling party the new number for that subscriber unless the subscriber has requested that such referral not be made.

When additions or changes to plant or records are scheduled which will necessitate a large group of number changes, a minimum of six months notice shall be given to all subscribers then of record and so affected even though the additions or changes may be coincidental with the issuance of a new directory.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 80.01.040 and 1985 c 450. 85-23-001 (Order R-242, Cause No. U-85-56), 480-120-042, filed 11/7/85; Order R-92, 480-120-042, filed 2/9/77.]

NEW SECTION

WAC 480-120-139 Changes in service. (1) Verification of orders. No carrier shall submit to a telecommunications company a change order until the order has first been confirmed in accordance with the following procedures:

(a) The carrier has obtained the customer's written authorization to submit the order and confirm:

(i) The customer billing name and address and each telephone number to be covered by the change order;

(ii) The decision to change; and

(iii) The customer's understanding of the change fee.

(b) The carrier has obtained the customer's electronic authorization, placed from the telephone number(s) on which the change is to be made, to submit the order that confirms the information described in (a) of this subsection to confirm the authorization.

Carriers electing to confirm sales electronically shall establish one or more toll free telephone numbers exclusively for that purpose.

Calls to the number(s) shall connect a customer to a voice response unit, or similar, that records the required information regarding the change, including automatically recording the originating automatic number identification (ANI).

(c) An appropriately qualified and independent third party operating in a location physically separate from the telemarketing representative has obtained the customer's oral authorization to submit the change order that confirms and includes appropriate verification data.

(d) Within three business days of the customer request for a change, the carrier must send each new customer an information package by first class mail containing at least the following information concerning the requested change:

(i) The information is being sent to confirm a telemarketing order placed by the customer within the previous week.

(ii) The name of the customer's current carrier.

(iii) A description of any terms, conditions or charges that will be incurred.

(iv) The name of the newly requested carrier.

(v) The name of the person ordering the change.

(vi) The name, address and telephone number of both the customer and the soliciting carrier.

(vii) A postpaid postcard which the customer can use to deny, cancel or confirm a service order.

(viii) A clear statement that if the customer does not return the postcard, the customer's carrier service will be switched within fourteen days after the date the information package was mailed.

(ix) The name, address and telephone number of a contact point at the commission for consumer complaints.

(x) Carriers must wait fourteen days after the form is mailed to customers before submitting their change orders. If customers have canceled their orders during the waiting period, the carrier cannot submit the customer's order.

(2) Business practices.

(a) A carrier may not use another carrier's customer specific information related to billing or gathered in the provision of billing to market its own services.

(b) A carrier may not, except as authorized by law, disclose to any person, customer information, except to provide internal billing, collection, and network operations.

(c) A carrier is prohibited from telemarketing its services to its customers with nonpublished and unlisted telephone numbers.

(d) The carrier receiving the customer initiated request for a change of local exchange and/or intraLATA toll carrier shall keep an internal memorandum or record generated at the time of the request. Such internal record shall be maintained by the carrier, at a minimum, for twelve months to serve as verification of the customer's authorization to change carriers, which will be made available to the customer and/or to the commission upon request.

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