SW Legal studies in Business

Federal Telephone Regulation Does Not Prevent State Law Prohibiting Slamming
Description Kansas high court held that the legislature could prohibit the unauthorized switching of long-distance telephone service, slamming, without being in conflict with federal regulation of the telephone industry. Congress did not mandate that state regulation was prohibited and the state law is not inconsistent with the federal regulatory scheme.
Topic Consumer Protection
Key Words Slamming; State Law; Interstate Commerce; Federal Preemption
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts In October 1999, without his knowledge, Doty's long-distance telephone service provider was changed by Frontier Communications. When Doty learned a couple months later that he had been slammed, he sued, contending that Frontier had submitted an unauthorized order for change of service. He sued for damages under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act, which specifically prohibits slamming. Frontier claimed it had no liability under the statute because there was federal preemption of any state law inconsistent with federal communications statutes and regulations. The court awarded Doty a statutory penalty of $12,500 plus attorney fees. Frontier appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. The Federal Telecommunications Act did not preempt the application of state statutes that prohibit unauthorized change of interstate long-distance telephone services of state consumers of telephone services. Outlawing slamming by state law does not conflict with the federal regulatory scheme of the telephone industry.

Citation Doty v. Frontier Communications Inc., 36 P.3d 250 (Sup. Ct., Kan., 2001)

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