PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
UTILITIES AND TRANSPORTATION
[Docket No. UT-980675--Filed July 16, 1998, 3:27 p.m.]
Subject of Possible Rule Making: Exploring the need for consumer protections related to "cramming," the unauthorized billing of services on telecommunications bills and "slamming," unauthorized changes in telecommunication services.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 80.01.040(4), 80.04.160.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: The commission received more than seventy complaints about "cramming," or unauthorized billing during the first five months of 1998. This inquiry is intended to determine whether there is a need for commission rules on the subject and if so, what the rules should provide. Possible rules could provide consumer protection from billing for unordered services.
Additionally, unauthorized changes in service, or "slamming," is a major issue at the federal level and it is anticipated the issue will expand at the state level as dialing parity is implemented. The commission will explore whether increased consumer protections and strengthening of existing rule language is necessary.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: Docket and the commission will monitor those provisions and pursue consistency with them unless good reason exists for differences.
Process for Developing New Rule: Agency study; and the commission will ask for initial written comments, and will provide the opportunity for additional comments. The commission will schedule one or more workshops with representatives of affected constituencies in a matter designed to develop consensus among affected interests regarding any rule proposal.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting the Secretary, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA 98504-7250, (360) 664-1174, fax (360) 586-1150. Persons may submit comments, as specified below, or may ask to be included in the commission's list of interested persons for the proceeding. The commission will post on its Internet web site at <http://www.wutc.wa.gov> all comments that it receives in digital format and a schedule and other information about this rule making.
Written Comments: Written comments in response to the CR-101 from persons interested in the subject matter of this proposed rule making may be filed with the commission secretary, referencing Docket No. UT-980675, not later than August 14, 1998. All commenters are asked, but not required, to file an original and ten copies of their written comments. The commission also requests, but does not require, that comments be provided on a 3 1/2 inch IBM formatted high-density disk, in WordPerfect version 5.1, 6.0 or 6.1, labeled with the docket number of this proceeding, the date, the commenter's name, and type of software used. Interested persons may also send written comments by electronic mail to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. The commission may offer additional opportunities to provide written comments. Interested persons may file additional written comments in response to any such invitation. The commission will schedule a workshop style meeting if comments indicate that such a session is needed and would be productive.
July 14, 1998
for Carole J. Washburn