Lawsuit: AT&T Settles Lawsuit Against Reseller Accused of Slamming. Business Discount Plan Inc. Agrees to Switch Customers Back to AT&T, Provide Refunds
Claiming a victory for consumers in the fight against slamming, AT&T Tuesday announced it has settled its lawsuit against telecommunications reseller Business Discount Plan Inc. (BDP), of Long Beach, Calif.
AT&T filed suit in Illinois federal court against BDP in March, contending that BDP had used fraud and deception to routinely “slam” customers to its telecommunications services.
Slamming is an industry term for the unauthorized switching of a customer’s chosen telecommunications provider.
“Our lawsuit against BDP demonstrates unequivocally that we will not sit by and allow anyone to trade on AT&T’s name and reputation,” said Carla Mascaro McEnroe, an attorney for AT&T’s Business Markets Division. “We believe that Business Discount Plan was misleading consumers and charging customers up to three times the rates of their former telecommunications provider. These customers particularly will benefit from this settlement, which gives them a painless pathway to return to their carrier of choice, with BDP picking up the costs.”
Under terms of the settlement, BDP must send a letter notifying its customers that BDP is not affiliated with AT&T and that BDP telemarketers might have left a different impression with some consumers who switched their service from AT&T. BDP customers who want to switch back to their former carrier — either AT&T or another provider — will not be charged to return. Customers will also receive a refund equal to any difference between BDP’s prices for long-distance calling and the prices of their former telecommunications carrier.
The settlement contains restrictions on BDP’s use of AT&T’s name in its marketing activities. Additionally, AT&T will not be required to accept any new orders from BDP for wholesale services.
Tuesday’s announcement is the latest in a series of aggressive AT&T initiatives to eradicate slamming from the telecommunications industry. In March, AT&T Chairman C. Michael Armstrong announced a series of anti-slamming measures including increased monitoring of reseller marketing practices to ensure that they are not misrepresenting themselves as AT&T, and on the consumer front, suspension of the use of outside sales agents for marketing efforts at local community events.
The company also established a slamming resolution center with a toll-free number — 1-800-538-5345 — to provide dedicated service representatives 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to resolve any slamming complaints involving AT&T.
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