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CALIFORNIA / News and Insight on Business in the
Golden State
| THE STATE / TELECOMMUNICATIONS

PUC Bars Sonic From Long-Distance Arena

July 24, 1998| Associated Press

Regulators barred Sonic Communications from providing long-distance telephone service in the state and said all 96,694 of the company's customers had been "slammed"--illegally switched from another company. Sonic's customers in California and other states were earlier given partial refunds from proceeds of the company's November 1995 bankruptcy filing. The new state Public Utilities Commission action revokes Sonic's operating permit in the state and requires anyone affiliated to disclose the connection before filing applications with the state. The PUC said Sonic's regular practice was to mail $10 checks to potential customers, with a line on the back in microscopic type saying the customer's endorsement of the check authorized Sonic to provide phone service. The company also switched some customers who did not endorse the checks, the PUC said. After thousands of complaints, the PUC told local phone companies that did Sonic's billing to preserve all funds in February 1995. A month later, the PUC ordered Sonic's customers notified that the company's operating authority might be revoked. The frozen money was later used for the post-bankruptcy refunds.

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