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Company Fined for Telephone 'Slamming'

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal regulators on Monday fined a Virginia communications company $1.2 million for switching consumers' long-distance service without permission.

The Federal Communications Commission said WebNet Communications, based in McLean, repeatedly violated federal rules by engaging in "slamming," the illegal practice of switching telephone service providers without consent.

The company did not immediately return calls seeking comment Monday.

The FCC and 14 state agencies began investigating the company in 2001 after receiving consumer complaints. The case was the first joint effort between federal and state authorities against a company accused of slamming, the FCC said.

The local agencies involved were from Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington state, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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