Bell Atlantic: AT&T Complaint Has Absolutely No Merit

Bell Atlantic: AT&T Complaint Has Absolutely No Merit

Long Distance Giant Steps Up Smear Campaign

December 15, 1999

Media contact: Sandra Arnette, 410-393-7109

BACKGROUND -- AT&T yesterday filed a complaint with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) accusing Bell Atlantic of trying to "win back" customers who have switched their regional toll service to competitors by suggesting they have been "slammed." Slamming is the practice of changing a customer's local, regional toll or long-distance telephone service company without the customer's knowledge or consent. The following response should be attributed to Sherry F. Bellamy, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic - Maryland.

"AT&T's complaint has absolutely no merit. It's the second frivolous complaint by AT&T in Maryland in a week.

"The regional toll market is extremely competitive here, and unfortunately, some unscrupulous companies are trying to gain an unfair competitive advantage by slamming Maryland customers. We want to be sure customers are aware that their Bell Atlantic regional toll service has been disconnected.

"Customers in Maryland have been able to choose their regional toll provider since May. In the last six months, Marylanders have filed over 2,700 slamming complaints about their regional toll service. There were well over 17,000 long-distance slamming complaints for the same time period.

"AT&T knows about slamming all too well. In fact, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission fined AT&T $20,000 in September for slamming the same customer's long-distance service four times in five months.

"Now that Bell Atlantic is on the verge of competing with AT&T for New Yorkers' long-distance service, it's obvious that AT&T is stepping up its campaign of distortion and deception to keep Bell Atlantic from competing with it in the long distance market elsewhere."

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