Philadelphia, PA (January 22, 2016) – Dilworth Paxson LLP attorneys Joshua D. Wolson and Timothy J. Carson filed suit against 22 telephone service providers on behalf of Dauphin County for failing to bill, collect, and remit required 911 landline assessment charges. The lawsuit seeks to recoup six years of alleged under-billings by the telephone service providers that could total a staggering $29.6 million for Dauphin County alone.
Mr. Wolson told reporters from WPMT-TV in Harrisburg that many of Pennsylvania’s telephone service providers were charging large businesses per aggregate telephone pipeline rather than per single landline as set forth in Pennsylvania law. As a result, businesses with multiple lines pay less than they should, “[shifting] the burden to the small family away from the business.” As a result, the County has had to supplement the revenues that it receives from 911 fees with general fund revenues paid by local property taxes. Dauphin County alone has had to pay approximately $2.2 million in the past year to make up for the 911 call operation’s funding shortfall, a gigantic sum as compared to its $600 shortfall contribution in 2007. Mr. Wolson emphasized that the local businesses receiving the incorrect bills were simply paying what they were billed. They have no way of verifying whether telephone service providers have fulfilled their obligation of determining how to bill customers.
Mr. Carson predicted that the Dauphin County suit would set off “a rolling crescendo” of similar lawsuits in a dozen or more Pennsylvania counties, due to the ubiquity of the telephone service providers’ practices statewide. Both Delaware and Cumberland Counties have recently filed or plan to file similar suits against local telephone service providers with Dilworth Paxson as their counsel.
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