The Iowa Court of Appeals has ordered the Iowa Utilities Board to move ahead with the investigation of alleged “slamming.” The case involves the O-Y-P Group of New York which sent a bill to Kingsgate Insurance of Fort Dodge for Yellow Page advertising.
A representative of the Fort Dodge company said they never authorized the listing and were not going to pay the $454 charge. The O-Y-P group said it had a recorded conversation of a Kingsgate employee authorizing the listing, but Kingsgate said the tape sounded like it had been altered.
The Office of Consumer Advocate acting on behalf of Kingsgate, asked the Iowa Utilities Board to investigate the case as an unauthorized charge known as slamming or cramming. The Utilities Board asked the company to provide the full tape of the authorization, but it did not. The O-Y-P Group did issue a credit for the Fort Dodge company and the Utilities Board eventually ruled it did not have reasonable ground to pursue the investigation any further.
The Iowa Court of Appeals found the Utilities Board erred in interpreting the phrase “reasonable ground.” It said the consumer reported that her firm never authorized the yellow pages billing, and the O-Y-P Group violated the telecommunications statute by failing to turn over the required verification of the alleged authorization for the charges.
The court says that is a reasonable ground for investigating, and has sent the case back to the Utilities Board to initiate a formal proceeding.
See the entire ruling here: IUB appeals case PDF