How'd You Like To Rent This Baby?

Roberta Sweetow, 67, keeps the hulking black rotary phone, the one she has had since 1964, on her nightstand in case her husband Herb, 74, receives an early-morning call to substitute teach in a Skokie, Ill., high school. Sweetow purchased the phone for $9 last year, after finally noticing a charge buried in her bill every three months: $18 to lease a telephone. "I realized I've paid over $1,000 for a phone I hardly use," she says. "Who in the world rents a telephone?"

Lots, say lawyers representing approximately 44 million customers in a $10 billion class action against AT&T, which...

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