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Class Sues AT&T for $65M in ‘Special Charges’

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) - AT&T is billing its customers for a $65 million tax judgment - which is illegal - and is covering its tracks by calling it "special municipal charges," a class action claims in Jackson County Court. The class claims that AT&T and Southwestern Bell were ordered to pay $65 million to settle complaints from Missouri municipalities that claimed the companies failed to pay business license taxes for landline phone services.

The class claims the "defendants have boldly passed their liability on to their customers in the form of monthly charges," disguised as "special municipal charges."

"This practice is wrongful, deceptive, and extremely lucrative for Defendants, who proceed as though they are immune from the consequences of their wrongdoing," the complaint states.

"Indeed, they need not worry about the costs of their illicit practices settled in other matters; their customers will simply pay the bill. ... The liabilities stemming from the settlement are defendants' liabilities, not the plaintiffs."

The class consists of all people or businesses that were billed for the special municipal charge or any other charges related to the $65 million settlement. It seeks disgorgement, actual and punitive damages and an injunction.

The class is represented by John Edgar.

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