Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. is offering some new services as it steps up its effort to slam the door on "slamming."
One aims to head off the problem before it starts, and the other will inform customers who are being targeted. Notification of the new programs is being sent to customers along with billing statements arriving in homes now.
Slamming, the illegal switching of long-distance service providers, is a growing problem. Southwestern Bell said this week it had helped more than 15,000 Kansans deal with slamming complaints so far this year.
With the company's "Customer Choice Protection," customers can direct the company to protect their choice of long-distance service providers by not allowing changes to be made without explicit authorization. The service can be removed when customers want to change service providers.
The company, which provides phone service across Kansas, also has started sending an automated telephone message to customers whose long-distance provider is changed. The customer can then dial a toll-free number to get more information.
"Southwestern Bell believes consumers have a right to have the long-distance provider of their choice and to have that choice respected," said Shawn McKenzie, president for the company in Kansas.
To take advantage of the protection service or to get other information on slamming, call (877) 4-NO-SLAM, or 466-7526. Information is also available on the company's Web site, at www.swbell.com/Slamming.
-- Richard Brack's phone message number is 832-7194. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.