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MCI to Pay $100G in Telemarketing Fines

March 30, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Bankrupt telecommunications company MCI has agreed to pay $100,000 in penalties to settle accusations its telemarketers violated Indiana’s no-call law.

Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter said Tuesday the penalties are the largest imposed to date under the state’s telephone privacy list rules that took effect in 2002.

He said his office received nearly 90 complaints over the past two years of MCI solicitors calling people at home even though they were on the state’s no-call list.

Along with the civil penalties, MCI has agreed to comply with the law, Carter said.

Stefanie Scott, a spokeswoman for Ashburn, Va.-based MCI, said the company had practices in place to ensure compliance with state laws which are taken seriously.

``However, in this instance we had an inadvertent implementation error tied to the unique nature of Indiana’s law when it went into affect two years ago,″ she said. ``It has since been corrected.″

MCI admitted no wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

The company, formerly known as WorldCom, hopes to emerge from bankruptcy protection by the end of April. It entered bankruptcy in July 2002 after an accounting scandal that resulted in billions of dollars in overstated profits and criminal charges against its top executives.

The state’s settlement with the company brings to 141 the number of telemarketers that have reached settlements with the state. To date, $413,825 in civil penalties, including the MCI settlement, have been assessed, Carter said.

He said Indiana’s no-call list now has nearly 1.5 million Indiana phone numbers.

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