FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ----July 21st, 2004
Tom Allibone, 609-397-2257, email@example.com
Bruce Kushnick, firstname.lastname@example.org
The consumer advocacy group Teletruth announced today that approximately
40% of New Jersey small businesses identified as part of a class-action
lawsuit, will get a refund from Verizon New Jersey for past overcharges.
Under a proposed settlement reached in a class-action lawsuit, Verizon
agreed that it had improperly billed business accounts with fewer than
five lines between 1996 and 2003 at rates higher than the tariff established
by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
Under the proposed settlement, identified business accounts that were
over-charged $1.01/month for one or more auxiliary lines from 8/1/00
to 8/15/03, will be entitled to receive $1.65/month for each auxiliary
line that was overcharged.
Unidentified business accounts that were overcharged from 9/27/96 to
7/31/00 are also entitled to a refund and should file a claim. Unidentified
accounts will receive $1.10/month for each auxiliary line that was overcharged.
"This settlement clearly shows that Verizon continues to need
public interest oversight, not careless deregulation," according
to Teletruth's Chairman Bruce Kushnick. Kushnick said that confusing
bills and the inability of traditional watchdog agencies to monitor
closely Verizon billing practices has permitted the telephone company
to avoid applying the discounts to an estimated 40 percent of qualifying
New Jersey businesses.
The refunds will vary in size from $1.01 to $178.20 depending on the
number of lines missing the discount and the period of time involved.
Tom Allibone, Director of Auditing for Teletruth, conducted the investigations
that led to the discovery of the missing discounts. According to Allibone,
"today is a great day for New Jersey small businesses. Identified
businesses will receive a refund plus a premium".
Teletruth urges all businesses to contact Teletruth if you are uncertain
if you are eligible to receive the refund. Kushnick cautions all NJ
businesses "to act promptly" and notes that the New Jersey
"Send Us Your Phonebill" campaign uncovered numerous other
billing errors. Mr. Kushnick strongly encourages all businesses to have
a full telecommunications audit performed by Teletruth.
Teletruth is a national customer alliance and a member of the FCC Consumer
See a Copy of a Phone Bill with the Missing Discount.
the Star Ledger Article
....."This is just
the tip of the iceberg," said Tom Allibone, director ofauditing
for Teletruth, a consumer advocacy group that assisted the plaintiffs
in the case. "This is a simple example of how their billing system
a Phone Bill Auditor:
Information About Phone Bills in New York and New Jersey From Teletruth
has published a Report and Expose about the problems with phone bills
--- and how each phone bill Tax and Surcharge Should be removed from
Bill Independence Report
"Phone Bills DO Lie"
. A MUST READ
Why is this report so important now? This report
comes at a critical time. We are calling for an investigation
of Every Tax and Surcharge on the phone bill because many
are unmarked revenues to the companies and NO regulator has
added everything up to date. --- NO New Taxes on Any New Service
Until the Old Taxes have been Cost Justified.
Dirty, Little, Secret Lives of Phone Bills
"The Dirty Little Secret Lives of Phone
Bills is based on real phone bills, and the scandals highlighted
have been documented.