Tougher Rules for Phone Companies

Friday, March 30th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -The Corporation Commission has passed a series of rules to make phone companies more responsive to Oklahoma customers and to help residents make a more informed choice in picking a phone company.

One rule passed Thursday would allow Oklahoma customers who call their phone company during business hours to talk to a live person rather than a recording. That rule and others passed by the commission now head to the Legislature and governor for approval.

Another rule approved by the commission would allow customers facing suspension or termination of service to get extra time to seek emergency help.

Other rules approved by the commission:
-Phone bills must be made more uniform and easier to understand.
-Unless other arrangements are made, customers must be given a written copy of their phone bill with billing done every month.
-Providers must respond to questions from customers having problems.
-There must be better protection against ``slamming,'' the unauthorized change from a customer's long-distance provider.
``These rules are a direct response to the concerns that have been expressed to us by customers,'' Commissioner Denise Bode said. ``They are also needed if competition is going to truly work in a way that will benefit the consumer.''