"Slamming" is a term used to describe any improper practice that changes a customer's selection of a telephone company without the customer's knowledge or consent.
As a customer, you have the right to choose your telephone company and to change telephone companies whenever you wish, subject to contractual obligations. "Slamming", or unauthorised customer transfer, takes choices away from customers.
Be wary of door-to-door sales pitches and telemarketing
Unscrupulous sales representatives paid on commission could give false and misleading information to customers in order to get them to sign a form authorising change of telephone company. You may be asked to sign a document to confirm that a sales representative has visited you, or asked to sign to receive more information, or be invited to enter a competition. By signing such a document you may have unknowingly agreed to change your telephone company.
Never sign anything without reading it first
If you get a call about changing your telephone company, be careful how you answer. Make sure you know what you are being offered before you agree. Ask the caller to send you printed information about the offer and an authorisation form so you can check the details and then make a decision.
Make sure you read all the available material. Before you accept an offer, make sure you understand the rates, terms and conditions of the offer. If anything in the information you've been given is not clear, query it with the telephone company or their authorised representative. If you are not interested in the offer, make it clear to the caller that you are not interested.
Read your telephone bill to make sure your chosen telephone company is still handling your calls.
If you think your telephone company has been changed without your permission, contact your original telephone company. If this does not resolve the problem, contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) on 1800 062 058.
The ACMA has a range of information for consumers on telecommunications matters available on our website.
The information contained in this Consumer Alert is not copyright. Readers are encouraged to reproduce the information and to disseminate it widely.