A Florida court has ordered AT&T to refund wrongful charges to Florida consumers no later than June 15. The long-distance company also faces legal action in Minnesota and it is named in a California class-action lawsuit.
"This order will stop AT&T; dead in its tracks. This is a great victory for the people of Florida and only round one in our fight with AT&T;," said Attorney General Charlie Crist. "We will be relentless and unyielding in our fight against AT&T; on behalf of consumers until all appropriate damages are recovered. If AT&T; violates this court order, the company could be held in contempt of court."
AT&T; attributes the improper billing to a computer problem that has affected about one million customers nationally, many of whom are not current customers of AT&T.;
Under the interim stipulation, AT&T; must:
• Cease and desist any wrongful billing practices;
• Refund all wrongfully billed Floridians for monthly recurring long-distance and associated charges no later than June 15;
• Refrain from pitching services when consumers call about billing issues unless information about additional services is specifically requested.
Although this court-ordered interim stipulation does not resolve any of the allegations of unfair and deceptive business practices set forth in the original complaint by the Attorney General, it does provide immediate relief to Florida consumers who were wrongfully charged.
AT&T; must address all billing inquiries and complaints in an expeditious fashion and provide written confirmation to the Attorney General's Office of credits and refunds made to consumers by June 15.
According to the order issued by Leon County Circuit Judge Nikki Clark, AT&T; must process these refunds based on the company's internal records so that consumers do not have to call to request refunds. If, however, after June 15th Florida consumers believe they are still being improperly billed or unfairly coerced into additional services when calling AT&T; to request refunds, they should notify the Attorney General's Office immediately at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226).