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Class Rings up AT&T & Ma Bell

ST. LOUIS (CN) - AT&T and Southwestern Bell bilk customers for unauthorized charges, according to the latest in a string of federal class actions challenging phone companies' billing practices. The telephone giants disguise the "unauthorized, misleading or deceptive charges" as "Enhanced Services," "HBS Billing Services" and/or "ILD Teleservices," according to the complaint.

"During the statutory period, defendants began placing on the monthly landline telephone bills of plaintiffs, and other customers similarly situated, unauthorized, misleading, or deceptive charges for prepaid services, collected a fee for these charges," the complaint states.

Lead plaintiff Kim Arnold says the defendants never made full disclosures about the billings, which customers never authorized or ordered, and the phone giants refused to refund the money.

The class consists of all U.S. residents who between Dec. 27, 2008 and Dec. 23, 2010 were charged on their monthly landline telephone for Enhanced Services or HBS Billing Services or ILD Teleservices, but who did not order or request such services. The class is represented by Tamar Hamm.

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