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Identifying Deception. (NAMES IN THE NEWS).

THE CALIFORNIA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION (PUC) in September fined Pacific Bell $25.55 million for violations of marketing and caller ID regulations.

The PUC found that Pacific Bell had engaged in deceptive marketing practices by only informing customers of the most expensive option and falling to disclose less expensive alternatives.

Pacific Bell was also found to have violated Commission rules requiring full disclosure of the privacy consequences of changing caller ID bloelting options.

To ensure that Pacific Bell makes customer service a priority, the decision directs Pacific Bell to resolve customers' requests first.

In describing service options to meet a customer's need, the decision requires Pacific Bell to begin with the least-expensive choice, as opposed to pitching higher-priced services first. Once the customer's request has been addressed, Pacific Bell may ask the customer's permission to discuss other services but is not permitted to continue to try and sell services if the customer declines.

The decision also requires that Pacific Bell disclose to tenants that the landlord is responsible for inside wire maintenance, and the tenant need not purchase this service from Pacific Bell.

This decision resulted from complaints about Pacific Bell's marketing practices filed by one union and the consumer advocacy groups Utility Consumers' Action Network and the Greenlining Institute/Latino Issues Forum.
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Title Annotation:California Public Utilities Commission
Author:Mokhiber, Russell
Publication:Multinational Monitor
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Oct 1, 2001
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