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State’s Supreme Court reinstates cramming lawsuit

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The state Supreme Court has reinstated an accounting firm’s lawsuit alleging telecommunications companies inserted unauthorized charges its bills.

MBS-Certified Public Accountants LLC sued Wisconsin Bell and ILD Telecommunications Inc. in 2006 alleging its bills contained charges for unordered services. The accounting firm argued state law prohibits such a practice, known as cramming.

The 1st District Court of Appeals dismissed the lawsuit in 2010, ruling the firm’s claims were blocked by the voluntary payment doctrine. That common law doctrine states a customer must challenge a bill before paying it. The court noted the firm paid its bills for months without complaint.

The Supreme Court ruled Friday state statutes trump the doctrine and sent the case back to the appeals court.

Attorneys for the telecommunications companies didn’t immediately return messages.

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