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TPV Guards Against Old-School Slamming

Third party verification is an essential safeguard for companies selling services over the phone. It is often required and always prudent. TPV reassures the customer, protects the company, and provides an insurance policy against any future misunderstandings about the product offered and the terms accepted. Marketing companies also use TPV recordings as a defense against allegations of “slamming,” or the switching of a customer’s service without their consent. Slamming is a term that most consumers have come to know, and an issue the direct sales industry takes very seriously.

But we wondered: where did the term “slamming” come from? (In the unlikely event this ever makes its way into a trivia game, you’ll be glad you prepared…)

The term dates back to the earliest days of telephone deregulation in the mid-1980s. At that time, AT&T held a monopoly over the telecommunications industry, including 22 Bell Operating Companies across the country. The Federal Government broke it up in the name of competition, and a frenzy ensued over long distance services.

According to a Wikipedia writer, the term slamming was coined by an AT&T consumer-marketing manager by the name of Mick Ahearn in September 1987. He noticed the relative ease with which competitors were plucking away their customers (without consent, it turns out), by falsely notifying a telephone company that a customer had elected to switch their service. He likened the easy process to a “slam dunk,” and the term was born.

Like any good legend, though, there is a variation. Another source says that Ahearn came up with the term after watching the movie “Ghostbusters,” and that he modified the term “slimed,” to describe the practice.

Either way, Ahearn coined a phrase that still resonates today. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officially adopted the term, and in the wake of consumer complaints in the 1980s implemented strict rules to curb the illegal practice, including requiring third party verification for sales over the phone.

Nobody does TPV better than The Sales Verification Company. So to protect your company, your customers and your marketing investment, contact us to discuss a TPV campaign.

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