July 5, 2002 Posted: 06:35:09 AM PDT
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SAN FRANCISCO -
- Under a tentative settlement with state regulators, SBC Pacific Bell has agreed to pay what would be a record $27 million fine for billing tens of thousands of customers for high-speed Internet service they never requested.
Pacific Bell initially downplayed the problems, but on Wednesday recognized them and promised to improve its DSL billing practices and promptly credit improperly billed customers.
Since 1999, about 800 customers have complained to the state Public Utilities Commission that Pac Bell billed them -- sometimes twice -- for DSL services they didn't order, didn't receive or wanted to drop. Under the settlement, the company acknowledged incorrectly billing between 30,000 and 70,000 customers.
DSL, which stands for digital subscriber line, is a high-speed Internet service that works over ordinary telephone lines but is
many times faster than standard dial-up connections.
"They lied to the public, they lied to the press, and they lied to the commission," said Regina Costa of The Utility Reform
Network, a San Francisco-based consumer group.
One customer said that a month after inquiring about DSL service, she received a bill charging her $99.95 for activation and a
monthly service fee.
"I didn't even have a computer at the time," said Bobby Schaefer of San Diego. "I was gathering information."
If approved by the commission and an administrative judge, the $27 million fine will go to the state's general fund. It would be the largest ever levied by state utility regulators, surpassing the $25.6 million Pac Bell was fined last year for misleading marketing tactics.
Pacific Bell CEO Chuck Smith said the company is pleased with the agreement.
( Just glad hes not going to jail over this )
What is left out in this report is that SBC paid every customer back and straightened out their mistakes. I wonder why this got left out? Perhaps Regina was too busy counting her money to make an accurate report. You know how those commissions are, they just love those rboc fines.
The state's general fund? What the hell is that? Isn't that what those politicians use to go play golf and so forth?
The state's general fund. Man what a crock!
And Regina Costa needs to shut up! She says Pac Bell Lied but what the hell is she talking about??? Here is an exerpt from the Utility Reform Network:
Many billing errors were attributable to the extreme complexity of Pacific Bell�s billing and customer data management systems and the difficult process of transferring DSL transport functions to ASI.
Additionally, upon conversion, Pacific Bell learned that not all accounts were properly transitioned, which resulted in duplicate billing for some customers. As stated, the conversion of the DSL transport customers from Pacific Bell to ASI was a massive undertaking. Although a cross-functional team of process and system experts from Pacific Bell, PBI, and ASI managed the complexity of the transfer, in some cases duplicate billing occurred
Maybe old Regina should read the settlement from HER OWN PEOPLE!
Ya know, if the PUC had not bowed down to the Lecs, this would not have ever happened. By the way, one of the "competitors" WCOM, is almost bk. Too bad they spent so much money "paying" off state controllers and PUC and Davis.
city of San Francisco has in its budget 200 million dollars for the homeless. With 200, documented homeless living in the city, that is 100,000 dollars per homeless person. How come there is still a homeless rpoblem there and all the money is gone? Who can answer this? Willie Brown? The same people in the so-called committees that are supposed to "protect" our taxpayers?