Bell Atlantic First in Nation to Offer Customers Automated System to Help Prevent Slamming

Bell Atlantic First in Nation to Offer
Automated System to Help Prevent Slamming

Service Allows New York Customers to Freeze or Unfreeze
Regional Toll and Long Distance Choices Automatically

September 13, 1999


Mark Marchand,

NEW YORK -- Slammers beware. Bell Atlantic is stepping up its efforts
to help customers stomp out slamming by introducing a first-of-its kind
automated system to help prevent slamming.

The new system, now being introduced in New York, will enable Bell
Atlantic customers in the state to freeze or unfreeze their choice of
regional toll or long-distance company during the day or night by calling
an automated system via a toll-free "800" number.

Slamming is the practice of changing a customer's regional toll or long
distance company without receiving proper authorization from a customer.
"Freezing" the regional toll or long distance carrier choice
helps protect against slamming by preventing that carrier from being
changed except at the customer's direct request.

"Protecting our customers against slamming is an important part of
our Customer Care strategy," said Maureen Bednarski, senior
specialist in Bell Atlantic's State Regulatory group. "We designed a
system that easily allows our customers to protect their choice of carriers
by blocking subsequent changes to a selection once a freeze has been
implemented. Only by removing the freeze can future carrier choices be
accommodated -- and this new system is designed to handle such freeze
removal requests."

Bell Atlantic customers in New York who want to freeze or unfreeze their
choice of a regional toll or long-distance company can call the new
automated 800 number from any Touch-Tone phone. It is not necessary
for customers to call from the phone line that is to be frozen or unfrozen.
Customers who use a rotary phone or wish to freeze or unfreeze individual
lines in a multi-line account cannot currently be processed by the
automated system, and will be transferred to a live service representative.

To use the system, customers should call 1-800-305-4838 any time of the
day or night, seven days a week. Spanish-speaking customers can call
. The system will not be available from 7 p.m. Saturday
until 7 a.m. Sunday morning, when routine maintenance will be performed
each week.

In order to use the system, customers will need the six-digit customer code
that directly follows their phone number on the front page of their Bell
Atlantic bill. That code is used to verify the customer's identity and
should not be given to anyone else.

Bell Atlantic has informed New York customers about the new automated
slamming protection system in the bill inserts. Information on the new
automated system will be included in the Customer Guide Section of the
Bell Atlantic-New York White Pages Directory.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With more than 43 million telephone access lines and nearly 10 million
wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of
advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services
and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic
companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global
communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.