Telecom Provider Settles Florida Charges

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Telecommunications provider NOS Communications Inc. agreed yesterday to pay $2.5 million to settle charges from the Florida attorney general's office that it made misleading claims in a business-to-business telemarketing campaign.

NOS ran a campaign to Florida businesses from Jan. 1, 1997, to Sept. 19, 2001, according to the charges. The company sold long-distance services to about 10,000 business owners.

In the telemarketing calls, NOS told businesses that they would realize savings by switching their service and that they would be billed on a per-minute basis, the state attorney general said. But NOS billed customers using a unique measure of time called a "call unit" and used a complicated billing structure that was difficult to understand.

Any savings experienced by the businesses came in a brief promotional period, according to the charges, and NOS made it difficult to leave the service once it was initiated.

In addition to the payment, NOS agreed to provide customers with a clear explanation of its billing structure and give them a chance to switch their long-distance service at no charge.

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