TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Minnesota AG Settles With AT&T

Minnesota AG Settles With AT&T

Lisa Minter (
Fri, 17 Jun 2005 16:01:59 -0500

The state of Minnesota and AT&T have reached an agreement that
resolves the consumer protection lawsuit filed against the long
distance carrier.

AT&T Billing
. AT&T Settles Minnesota Suit
. AT&T to Pay Missouri $50,000 for Improper Billing
. AT&T Will Pay FCC $500,000
. Judge Allows Florida Case to Proceed
. Florida Orders Refunds
. AT&T Agrees to Pay Refunds to New Yorkers
. Class Action Charges AT&T Slammed Non-Customers
. MA, NY Complaints
. Minnesota Sues AT&T

The agreement settles the state's claim that AT&T erroneously billed
some 25,939 Minnesota citizens in 2004 for services never ordered or
provided. Under the terms of the settlement, AT&T has refunded or
credited Minnesotans who were wrongly billed and has agreed to provide
300-minute long distance calling cards to Minnesotans adversely
affected by its erroneous billing and to make a $200,000 payment to
the State.

The State's final settlement with AT&T specifically includes the

. AT&T agreed to credit and refund all Minnesotans incorrectly
assessed calling plan charges and to stop marketing to callers who had
been billed in error. Over 25,000 Minnesotans have received credits to
date for a total of $308,000.

. In addition, the 25,000-plus Minnesotans who received credits are
also eligible for a 300-minute calling card. Eligible citizens will
receive a letter in the mail detailing how to submit an application
for a calling card. The consumer calling card restitution has a retail
value of up to $780,000.

. AT&T will make a $200,000 payment to the State of Minnesota. The
state's lawsuit was the result of an investigation that revealed that
over 25,000 Minnesotans were erroneously billed on their local phone
bill for long distance calling plan charges by AT&T beginning in
January 2004.

When the company started assessing a $3.95 monthly charge to its long
distance "Basic Rate Plan" customers, AT&T billed not only customers
on its "Basic Rate Plan" for the $3.95 and other associated fees, but
also an additional 25,939 Minnesotans who did not order services from
AT&T or who had other AT&T calling plans.

In addition, when those citizens called AT&T to inquire about the
charges, rather than helping consumers, AT&T placed Minnesotans on
hold for extensive periods of time, transferred them to customer
service representatives who tried to "hard sell" AT&T services, and,
in some cases, the company told consumers they would had to sign up
for an AT&T calling plan to get their money back or charges credited.

A letter is being sent to those Minnesotans who were incorrectly
billed by AT&T, directing those citizens how to receive their calling
card. Eligible consumers will simply have to check a box on a claim
form, fill in the claim number found on the letter, sign and mail the
form back to the Minnesota Attorney General's Office by August 15,
2005, or send an email to the Office at
The email must include the customer's name, address, the reason for
requesting the calling card, and the claim number on the letter.

Copyright 2003-2005 ConsumerAffairs.Com Inc.

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