Agreement with United Telecom, Inc. settles allegations of misconduct in soliciting Oregon customers
The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Public Utility Commission (PUC) today announced an agreement that bans United Telecom, Inc., from doing business in Oregon as part of an agreement to settle allegations of “slamming” and other misconduct.
“Oregon businesses face enough challenges in today’s economic climate without being taken advantage of by service providers,” said Attorney General Kroger. “The Public Utility Commission was a crucial partner in this action to protect Oregon small businesses.”
“This case highlights the value of people bringing issues like this to the PUC. One complaint may seem insignificant, but they help shine the light on unscrupulous operators. Fortunately, we are able to combine our efforts with the Attorney General to protect Oregon consumers. We are pleased with this outcome,” said Phil Boyle, Manager of the Oregon Public Utility Commission Consumer Section.
The California-based United Telecom is a reseller of long distance plans that offers landline telephone services to many small businesses throughout Oregon.
DOJ opened an investigation into United Telecom based on complaints forwarded by PUC staff. The complaints filed with the PUC reported frequent misrepresentations on behalf of United Telecom regarding its affiliation with service providers such as Qwest. Complaints alleged that United Telecom transferred long distance telephone services without prior or proper authorization, an illegal tactic known as “slamming.”
Under the agreement filed June 8 in Marion County Circuit Court, United Telecom agreed to cease operation as a provider of telecommunications services in Oregon within 90 days and formally withdraw its Certificate of Authority at the Public Utility Commission’s direction. The company must also refrain from soliciting any new Oregon customers and provide refunds to certain consumers who filed complaints with the Department of Justice or the Commission previously, if any have not yet received appropriate credits. United Telecom also paid costs to the Department of Justice.
The Oregon Department of Justice and Public Utility Commission work jointly to enforce consumer protections against telecommunications companies that employ deceptive and misleading business practices. To date, the partnership has led to several agreements with various telecommunications providers.
Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department’s mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, promote a positive business climate, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.