Springfield, MO

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Southwestern Bell reports slamming complaints drop

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Southwestern Bell announced July 20 that customer complaints about telephone slamming have dropped significantly over the past three months in its five-state service area, from nearly 147,000 in the first three months of 1998 to less than 92,000 from April to June a 37 percent drop.

This is the first significant drop Southwestern Bell has recorded since the slamming problem emerged as a major consumer issue, according to a Southwestern Bell news release.

In Missouri, slamming complaints dropped 44 percent between March and June, from 4,798 in March to 2,708 in June. Even with the recent drop, the number of total slamming complaints in Missouri for the first six months of 1998 (24,554) is only slightly lower than for the same period in 1997 (25,535), the release stated.

Slamming is a deceptive and illegal practice in which a customer's or business' local or long-distance telephone service provider is switched without their permission.

Southwestern Bell credited customer education efforts and increasing awareness of slamming as the primary reasons for the drop.

But while the company hailed the news, Southwestern Bell also warned consumers that lasting solutions to slamming are still needed. It is much too early to consider the decrease in complaints to be a lasting trend, the company stated.

Also, even with the drop, nearly 30,000 Southwestern Bell customers called the company seeking help on slamming during the month of June alone.

"The decrease in slamming complaints is great news, but there is still a lot of work to be done," said Lisa Wilder, vice president of external affairs for Southwestern Bell, in the release. "Southwestern Bell will continue to educate customers and serve as their advocate until slamming is eliminated. We still believe one slam is one too many."

Through its "Hang Up On Slamming," customer education campaign, Southwestern Bell seeks to educate consumers and businesses about slamming and other forms of telecommunications fraud.

Slamming tips and other information are available on the company's Internet site at www.swbell .com/slamming, as well as through free brochures available in several languages, advertisements, information in directory white pages and, periodically, in telephone bill inserts.

Customers who would like more information or believe they have been slammed may call Southwestern Bell toll- free at 800-814-8448.

Southwestern Bell is a subsidiary of SBC Communications Inc., a global leader in the telecommunications industry, with more than 34 million access lines and more than 5.8 million wireless customers across the United States, as well as investments in telecommunications businesses in 10 countries.


Southwestern Bell credited consumer education efforts and increasing awareness of slamming as the primary reasons for the drop.[[In-content Ad]]


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