Earlier this afternoon we brought you news that the U.S. Department of Justice had filed a lawsuit against AT&T. The complaint alleges that AT&T has overbilled for IP Relay calls. The calls, which are designed to allow hearing- and speech-impaired persons to make and receive telephone calls by relaying typed messages over the internet. The FCC currently reimburses IP Relay providers $1.30 per minute, but only for calls placed from within the United States. The government alleges that AT&T deliberately adopted a registration system that did not verify the name and location of the caller.
AT&T had not returned a request for comment by the time the previous article was published, however they responded just a few minutes ago via email. Here is AT&T’s statement:
AT&T has followed the FCC’s rules for providing IP Relay services for disabled customers and for seeking reimbursement for those services. As the FCC is aware, it is always possible for an individual to misuse IP Relay services, just as someone can misuse the postal system or an email account, but FCC rules require that we complete all calls by customers who identify themselves as disabled.
Not surprisingly, AT&T denies any wrongdoing. It may be worth noting, however, that they make no mention of the FCC’s requirement that reimbursed calls be verified as originating in the U.S. Nor do they say whether the registration system they adopted actually follows that requirement.
What do you think? Do you believe AT&T’s insistence that they’re innocent? Let us know in the comments.