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Bell South aka ATT / Fraudulent business practices

1 United States

I have poor credit, so when I need to have a phone installed as required by my employer to accept a job offer, I had ONE choice of phone companies -- Bell South which has a MONOPOLY in my town -- and they required a $75 deposit.

After almost a year of service and on-time payments, I paid one of their bills almost a week late, and my service was cut off without notice. I could not get an explanation from their call center (in another state) and they have no local office in my state.

Soon, I received a bill for $75 they claimed I owed them for the month's service I did not receive due to their cutoff. I called them and asked them to apply my $75 deposit to the amount they claimed I owed them, but they said I had to pay their $75 bill before they could refund my deposit.

Not long later, I got a "demand" letter from their attorney, and wrote to him making "demand" that he apply my $75 deposit to their bill. He ignored my letter and turned me over to the credit bureau and never refunded my deposit.

Needless to say, the Bell South attorney is not a member of the local bar association, and since they do not have a local office, and are an out off state corporation, I would have to sue them to get my deposit back ($500 attorney retainer fee, $200 court filing fees, $35 out of town process service fees, miss work one day to meet with the attorney, another day for the scheduled initial hearing date, and another day for the motions docket date, and another for the actual trial).

No wonder they can get away with this fraud -- there is no one to go to bat for the consumer. My state is the only state in the country that does not have a public service commission.

I researched why my state doesn't have a PUC -- they used to -- until one of the commissioners was caught accepting a briefcase containing $50,000 cash from Bell South's lobbyist, and the state legislature subsequently eliminated the PUC (I presume their logic was that future briefcases "donations" could be construed as "campaign contributions" instead of bribes.

Oh, semantics, how lovely thou art.

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