Level3 tries cell-phone style billing scam on customers

Edward B. DREGER eddy+public+spam at noc.everquick.net
Thu Jul 31 19:57:41 UTC 2008

PWG> Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2008 15:34:04 -0400
PWG> From: Patrick W. Gilmore

PWG> Calling something a "tax" or "federally mandated" when it is not
PWG> sounds both like a class action suit waiting to happen, and illegal
PWG> enough to have the company at least fined.

I agree.

I'm probably not the only one who has read large communication company
shareholder reports and SEC filings.  Class-action suits are listed as a
calculated risk, a cost of doing business, and factored in as part of
doing business.  Yay for customers prepaying their opponent's legal

If we were to ask for a show of hands who's never been jerked around by
a telecom company, I don't think we'd see many folks on this list
uncrossing their arms.  I'm even having some fun with one (re a small
personal/non-business account) that claims service cannot be terminated
in writing -- despite lack of any Contract terms, statute, or precedent
to substantiate their position.  And then we have [what appear to me to
be] FCRA violations.

To answer Joel's "[a]t what point is regulation okay" question:  At the
point where the regulators are less evil than those they are regulating.

There are two three reasons for reading statutes and precedent (or for
paying someone on your behalf):

1. To comply;

2. To find loopholes;

3. To find the best way to nail whomever has angered you.

When #2 or #3 becomes "excessive", someone cries for an overhaul.  Of
course, a poorly-executed "overhaul" can exacerbate #2 and #3, but let's
not follow the recursion too far. ;-)

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