UTILITIES: For Whom the Bell Tolls

Its patience at an end, Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. marched into a Topeka, Kans. courtroom last week and got a temporary injunction to stop an old trick that was costing it money. The trick is the uncompleted long-distance call, by which subscribers get their message across via a prearranged code and hang up without paying a dime. Like Illinois Bell Telephone Co., which estimated its losses at $400,000 annually (TIME, April 16), Southwestern Bell was losing heavily.

One of the guilty parties, charged Southwestern Bell, was King Van Lines, Inc. a big...

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