| The PSC's
Consumer Services section investigates complaints regarding the operation, services and
billings of regulated utility companies.
The Consumer Services staff is charged with resolving consumer complaints, providing information to consumers about the utility regulatory functions of the Commission and interpreting and conveying the views and opinions of utility consumers to the Commission for consideration in utility matters.
When a complaint is filed, the complainant is interviewed to obtain the circumstances and allegations involved. After reviewing and/or investigating the facts, the staff determines the appropriate action needed to resolve the complaint. A written report is prepared citing details of the complaint and the disposition. Field investigations are routinely conducted.
Upon request, the staff meets with community groups throughout the
matters. The staff is available to civic and community groups for speaking engagements
regarding the PSC and utility regulation in general. Slamming, the
unauthorized changing of a subscriber's telephone service provider, has ranked among the
top consumer complaints since 1997. The PSC was instrumental in getting legislation passed
in 1997 making slamming illegal in Alabama. The Commission has taken action against four
long distance companies because of slamming violations since the passage of this law (Act 97-412).
Cramming, billing consumers for optional phone services they did not order, has also become a significant source of complaints at the PSC. Although the companies responsible for billing these unauthorized charges are not regulated by the PSC, Consumer Services has helped hundreds of Alabamians resolve cramming complaints.
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