On August 11, 2009, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) issued a Public Notice requesting comment on a petition filed by OLS, Inc. (“OLS”) and TeleUno, Inc. (“TeleUno”) (“the Petitioners”) asking the Commission to issue a declaratory ruling that Global Crossing Bandwidth, Inc.‘s (“GX”) billing and collection practices are unreasonable and violate the Communications Act of 1934 (“Communications Act”).
The Petitioners are switchless resellers who entered into agreements with GX to purchase network transport and other telecommunications services for resale to their customers. Under the terms of these agreements, GX agreed to submit to the Petitioners accurate monthly invoices at rates established in the parties‘ agreements and to follow express procedures in resolving any disputed charges. The Petitioners allege that GX engaged in a pattern of unfair, arbitrary, and disreputable business practices – including rendering deliberately inaccurate and inflated invoices, chargingrates in excess of those specified in the parties‘ agreed schedules of charges, and assessing charges that were not valid and not owed.
For example, the Petitioners allege that GX improperly imposed Minimum Monthly Usage Charges on the petitioners despite their payment of all charges for services that GX actually rendered and the fact that, over the performance of their agreements, their payments exceeded the specified minimum charge thresholds. The Petitioners argue that these actions violate the Communications Act‘s prohibition against unreasonable and unjust charges, that such charges are an unreasonable windfall and are therefore unenforceable given the context in which GX seeks to impose them.
Moreover, whenever the Petitioners disputed items in these invoices, they allege that GX ignored their agreements‘ established dispute procedure and unilaterally altered the procedures to evade its obligations. The Petitioners argue that a Commission ruling on this petition is “essential to the resolution of the application of [the Communications Act] to the practices of underlying carriers in their dealings with their resale carrier customers.”
Clients who believe that they have been subjected to unfair billing practices by GX should monitor these proceedings (WC Docket No. 09-28) as they unfold. Comments responding to the Public Notice are due on September 1, 2009. Reply Comments are due on September 15, 2009. Similarly aggrieved clients are encouraged to take this opportunity to comment on their experiences with GX in the above-mentioned docket or to contact the firm to discuss. Clients seeking additional information or guidance should contact Jonathan Marashlian at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-714-1313.