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Phone Company Sanctioned for Slamming

<i> Associated Press</i>

Long-distance company Brittan Communications International Corp. has been banned from California for two years and must refund $702,000 to thousands of customers to settle allegations that it improperly transferred their telephone service. The state Public Utilities Commission said Brittan was the subject of about 35,000 complaints from consumers charging they had been involuntarily transferred to the company’s service--or slammed--between September 1995 and October 1997. Under terms of the settlement, Houston-based BCI has 60 days to end the service and must repay customers and local telephone companies improperly transferred. In a separate settlement, Dallas-based Winstar Gateway Network will pay refunds to nearly 10,000 Californians who accused the company of similar marketing practices. Winstar wasn’t forced to suspend business in the state because it took steps to revise its marketing strategy, the PUC said. Neither company returned phone messages.


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