BellSouth Continues Legal Pursuit of Rival

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BellSouth acknowledged in a statement late Friday that a judge rejected its requested for an injunction against a competitor over what it termed a misleading telemarketing campaign but said it would still pursue damages.

BellSouth wanted an immediate injunction but did get its rival to halt its deceptive practices, said David Scobey, president of BellSouth Small Business Services. The company sued Access Integrated Networks, Macon, GA, a competing carrier BellSouth accused of making false statements about it in telemarketing pitches aimed at small-business customers.

According to BellSouth, Access telemarketers falsely claimed affiliation with BellSouth and at times told consumers about the supposed "breakup" of BellSouth. BellSouth sued, leading Access to blame its telemarketing contractor, which it suspended, and issue a statement saying it regretted the incident.

The judge presiding over the case then rejected BellSouth's claim for immediate relief on the grounds that the problem no longer existed. However, according to BellSouth, the judge invited it to renew its request if problems arose with Access in the future.

"In effect, the court gave [Access] a second chance to get its marketing practices under control," Scobey said. "Let's hope they take advantage of it."

BellSouth plans to continue to seek monetary damages and a permanent injunction against Access.

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