Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
Phone full disclosure
State senate bill would require warning that consumers being ripped off
Sen. Ted W. Lieu of Torrance has introduced Senate Bill 50 that would require pay phone signage warning credit and debit card users in California that a 20-second call might cost them $20. The bill arises in part from two extremely dubious court decisions permitting San Diego's BBG Communications to continue charging $55 for one-minute phone calls from foreign phones. The charges have hit military personnel extremely hard. On January 10 of this year, federal judge Anthony J. Battaglia threw out a class action suit against BBG on the grounds that the aggrieved should have sued BBG's Switzerland operation, not the San Diego company. A judge in Texas gave a similar ruling. In San Diego, BBG's long-time law firm, Sheppard Mullin, argued that BBG Communications of San Diego and BBG Global are two separate entities, despite evidence that they were in constant contact.