AT&T in Court

For the second day in a row, an AT&T employee has testified the company makes it difficult for people to get a refund unless the customer signs up for an AT&T service.

Judge Niki Clark has refused to dismiss the case and is considering a request for a restraining order against the company.

For the last three weeks the phone at the Florida attorney general’s office has been ringing off the hook with complaints about erroneous bills from AT&T. The state is in court seeking an injunction to force AT&T to stop what it calls unfair and deceptive practices.

The attorney general’s office says the company is making it hard for non AT&T customers to get a refund unless they buy AT&T services. For the second day in a row an AT&T employee acknowledged those instructions came from managers.

"At that point I would try to bring over the service, offer them a plan, and if they didn’t accept it there was nothing I could do," says employee Mary Beth Fotheringham.

After a two hour legal battle, records instructing customers reps how to respond to complaints were kept out of the case. AT&T then asked the judge to deny the request for a restraining order.

Robert Pass, an AT&T attorney, says "I know of no law, I know of nothing in the statute that renders offering to sell products an illegal act."

The state countered that testimony so far suggests the billing problems were anything but errors.

Chris Kise solicitor general, says, "This is a devised plan to send bills out to consumers who haven’t ordered there services in an effort to get them to call in and use then that opportunity to sell those people."

Judge Niki Clark refused AT&T’s request to deny the restraining order. The judge in the AT&T hearing is expected to issue a ruling by the end of the week.