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Post date: July 31 2001

Settlement With Telecom Company To End Deceptive Sales Practices And Provide Rebates

The office of Attorney General Spitzer today announced a settlement with telecommunications provider RCN Corporation and RCN Telecom Services, Inc. that requires the company to change its marketing practices, stop unauthorized switching of services and provide restitution for customers. RCN provides cable television, telephone and internet services in the New York City metropolitan area.

The services RCN offers can be purchased individually or can be combined. For example, a customer may purchase all three services, telephone service only, or a combination of the three services.

The Attorney General's office opened an investigation in January of 2000 into RCN's marketing and business practices after receiving numerous complaints from customers in the New York City area. Some complaints revolved around "slamming," where the company would switch consumers to RCN services without their authorization. Others complained that RCN sales representatives failed to adequately disclose that the discount prices the company offered applied only when multiple services were purchased and that higher prices were charged when individual services were purchased.

To be eligible for a $50 service credit or refund, customers must have filed a complaint with either the Attorney General's office or RCN by January 14, 2002. The settlement also requires RCN to pay $30,000 in costs and provides for injunctive relief prohibiting violations of New York's false advertising and deceptive trade practices laws.

Eligible customers can obtain information by writing to the New York State Attorney General's Office, Attn.: RCN Settlement c/o Telecommunications and Energy Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, New York 10271 or by calling RCN at 1-800-746-4726.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Enver R. Acevedo of the Telecommunications and Energy Bureau, under the direction of Bureau Chief Mary Ellen Burns.