Court rules in favor of Wis. cell phone customers - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Court rules in favor of Wis. cell phone customers

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal appeals court has given a legal victory to more than 7,000 Wisconsin cell phone customers.

  The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a company hired to collect unpaid bills of Cingular Wireless customers violated state and federal law.

  The appeals court says Bloomington, Ill.-based Afni, Inc. was charging customers a 15 percent collection fee that was not authorized under their contracts or Wisconsin law.

  A federal judge had ordered the company to pay $206,000 in damages, costs and attorneys fees if its appeal was not successful.

  The class consists of about 7,020 Cingular customers who received debt collection letters after July 2004.

  Monday's decision upholds the judge's order and lawyers can now ask for additional fees and costs to cover the appeal.

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