Marketers Settle Slamming Lawsuits With U S West

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U S West, Denver, last week settled four lawsuits against companies that it accused of slamming and using other illegal telemarketing practices to charge long-distance telephone services to its local customers.

The telecommunications company had sued Inmark Inc., Vista Group International Inc. and Least Cost Routing Inc. after receiving complaints from consumers that their long-distance service providers had been switched without their consent and that the companies had used deceptive sales tactics. U S West also sued Universal Power Marketing, a telemarketing company, accusing it of using U S West's name in its sales pitches.

U S West said the companies agreed to settle the lawsuits, which were filed in Federal District Court in Denver, and enter into permanent injunctions against the practices without admitting guilt.

Neither Inmark, St. Paul, MN, nor Least Cost Routing, Santa Monica, CA, returned phones calls seeking comment. Executives at Vista Group, Westlake, OH, were unavailable for comment, and Universal Power Marketing, Las Vegas, NV, declined to comment.

U S West received about 400,000 slamming complaints from consumers last year.

A spokeswoman for U S West said the company had two similar lawsuits outstanding but declined to name the defendants because the lawsuits had not yet been resolved.

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