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This is a story you might want to spread around a bit, particularly where large numbers of Californians might read it. It seems that SBC (the telecommunications company) is using some unsavory and possibly illegal means to force customers to not opt out of having their personal information provided to other companies.
SBC circulated a letter to customers recently stating that unless they specifically opt out, SBC will begin sharing their personal information with some of their subsidiary companies. Missing from the letter is the fact that SBC currently has more than fifty such subsidiary companies. Also missing from that letter is the fact that they intend to raise rates on services or even cancel service to people who choose to opt out.
Update to the SBC Story
This is an update to the story I wrote in today's newsletter about SBC
threatening to cancel services or discounts of people who opt out of SBC's
plan to share personal information with other companies. I am receiving
reports from people who have called SBC to opt out. SBC telephone reps are
saying the exact opposite of what I wrote about earlier.
These reps are saying that existing services and/or discounts would not be
cancelled if a person opted out of having their personal information
shared with other companies. This is more than a little disturbing considering
the full scale rant I published earlier.
I'm considering three possibilities for this. 1.) SBC saw that they were
receiving negative publicity in the San Francisco Chronicle and decided to
reverse their policy. Or 2.) The incidents reported in the Chronicle were
isolated to the San Francisco area. Or 3.) The San Francisco Chronicle is
full of it and I went on a misguided rant based on bad information.
I would like to hear from some SBC customers so that I can figure out what
is going on here. If you've called to opt out of SBC's information sharing
plan or would be willing to do so now, I would like to know whether or not
you were told that existing services or discounts on services would be
revoked or altered in any way.
Residential customers should call (800) 310-2355. Business customers
should call (800) 750-2355.