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Wireless Company Fined for Shoddy Service

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State regulators have fined Cingular Wireless $12.1 million for an aggressive marketing campaign that resulted in shoddy service. The Public Utilities Commission says Cingular signed up new customers without giving them the chance to change their minds if they didn´t like the service.

The 80-page decision covers Cingular´s conduct from January 2000 to April 2002, when its California business nearly doubled to 3 million subscribers. The commission says customers often had trouble completing calls because the system had more traffic than it could handle.

Dissatisfied subscribers had to pay as much as $400 to cancel service.

The decision orders Cingular to repay customers who paid those fees during the penalty period.

Cingular calls the decision “fatally flawed” and promises to appeal.