Florida Cracks Down On Southern Bell

The Florida attorney general is taking on Southern Bell. On July 13, Attorney General Robert Butterworth alleged that Southern Bell employees used "boiler room" techniques to sign up thousands of customers for services they never ordered. Butterworth said the state would join a 1989 class action against Southern Bell, in addition to filing its own suit. The attorney general acted just days after calling off 15 months' worth of negotiations with Southern Bell. In those talks, the company had tentatively agreed to pay a settlement of as much as $14.6 million.

The company says it's "outraged" by the state's charges. It blames the actions on just a few employees, who have since been dismissed or disciplined. The company adds it has offered refunds to 30,000 affected customers.

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