Beginning August 1, 2001, your relationship with your long distance carrier will change as a result of an order from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Read on to find out how it will change and what it means for you.
WHAT IS THE CHANGE?
Effective August 1, 2001, per FCC order, all long distance companies must withdraw their tariffs on file with the FCC for long distance service and are not permitted to file any more tariffs with the FCC.
A tariff is a statement of all the terms and conditions of a carrier's service, including rates. Until August 1, 2001, the tariff controls the relationship between consumers and their chosen long distance telecommunications carriers.
Once the FCC order takes effect on August 1, 2001, the tariffs will be canceled, and the relationship between consumers and their carriers automatically will be governed by contract. Consumers do not need to act in order for this change to occur.
After August 1, 2001, carriers are required to make available to the public, in a timely manner and an understandable format, information concerning their current rates, terms, and conditions for all of their long distance services. In addition, if a carrier has a website, it shall make this information available on its website and update the information regularly.
HOW WILL THIS CHANGE AFFECT ME?
If you are a customer of AT&T, MCI WorldCom, or Sprint, you will be receiving, if you have not already received, a notice from the company explaining this change and providing you with a service agreement or contract describing the terms and conditions of your relationship with your carrier. Some of the information explained in the service agreement/contract will include:
When considering whether to remain with your current long distance carrier or to choose a new one, you may want to consider the factors listed above.
If you have a complaint about a long distance company, you can contact the Consumer Fraud Bureau of the Attorney General's office by calling the appropriate toll-free telephone number listed below. You can download a consumer complaint form from the Attorney General's website (www.IllinoisAttorneyGeneral.gov).
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