SAN FRANCISCO-July 22, 2005–LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The law firm Girard Gibbs & De Bartolomeo LLP (http://www.girardgibbs.com) has filed a class action complaint on behalf of telephone customers nationwide who were unlawfully billed by MCI, Inc. (NASDAQ:MCIP) for monthly service charges despite the fact they were not MCI customers. The complaint alleges that MCI assesses the monthly fees directly or through consumers’ local phone bills.
“MCI has been charging non-customers minimum usage fees and other monthly service fees without authorization even though MCI provided no service to these persons,” said Daniel Girard, one of the attorneys for the plaintiff. “Consumers who mistakenly paid MCI or paid in response to a threatening collections notice should get their money back.”
The case was brought by Shary Everett, a Goodyear, Arizona resident who repeatedly was assessed monthly service charges by MCI even though she had a different long distance carrier and had terminated MCI service at a former address several years earlier. MCI refused to reverse the unauthorized charges and threatened Ms. Everett with a collections notice for failing to pay. To stop MCI from continuing to bill her without authorization, she was forced to restrict all long-distance service on her telephone line.
The complaint alleges that MCI enrolled non-customers and former MCI long-distance subscribers without their knowledge or consent in the “Basic Dial-1 Plan” or another MCI calling plan that carries a monthly service fee. In 2002, MCI began charging a $3.00 or $5.00 minimum usage fee (MUF) and a $3.95 monthly recurring fee to consumers who did not have active billing accounts with MCI and whom MCI has no reasonable basis to believe are current MCI customers.
The class action lawsuit against MCI was filed in federal district court in Phoenix on July 18, 2005 and asserts claims against MCI for violations of the federal Communications Act and for unjust enrichment.
The complaint alleges that MCI’s policy and practice is to reverse, refund, or credit back unauthorized charges only to consumers who threaten to bring legal action, lodge complaints with regulatory authorities, or take other action. According to the complaint, consumers who do not pay the unauthorized charges are turned over to collections agencies.
Girard Gibbs & De Bartolomeo LLP is one of the nation’s leading firms representing individuals in consumer fraud class actions and investors in securities fraud litigation.