Qwest to pay $3.75 mil fine - Agrees to reforms in consumer fraud settlement

Max Jarman
The Arizona Republic

Jul. 8, 2003 12:00 AM

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Qwest Communications agreed Monday to pay a $3.75 million fine and to abide by reforms intended to protect consumers in its settlement of a 2-year-old consumer fraud lawsuit with the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

The suit, filed in 2001 by then-Attorney General Janet Napolitano, accused Qwest of numerous violations of Arizona's Consumer Fraud Act. The allegations included unauthorized charges on bills and creating customer service departments that thwarted consumers' attempts to resolve problems.

"This will change the business practices for telecommunications companies in the state," Attorney General Terry Goddard said.

Qwest did not admit wrongdoing. It agreed to pay the fine to defray the cost of the state's investigation and to help fund future anti-fraud activities.

The settlement gives consumers who believe they were mistreated by Qwest a 90-day window to file a complaint. The company has settled 2,140 such claims in amounts ranging from $80 to $7,000.

Qwest also agreed to contact all customers who bought service packages during the period and explain all of the options available at the time. Customers would be allowed to switch to cheaper plans.


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