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Washington class-action enthusiasts Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll have filed suit against telecomms behemoth Verizon in DC Superior Court on behalf of every poor bugger stuck using the company's notoriously poor DSL service.

Verizon "intentionally induced tens of thousands of individuals" to order DSL service with promises that super high-speed access would be "generally available daily, seven days a week, except for regularly scheduled maintenance", the plaintiffs note.

But the company, a favourite target of ridicule on such Web sites as DSLreports.com and Complaints.com, has clearly been promising too much.

"At all times relevant to this complaint, Verizon was aware that it would be unable to provide the service it promised in its advertising and that its subscribers would experience significant problems."

The "problems" referenced include lengthy, repeated down times; protracted periods when surfing and download performance remains below that offered by a 56k modem; waiting months for promised service to commence; waiting up to three days for e-mail to snake its way through Verizon's sclerotic pipes; buggy modem and PPPoE (Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet) software; and catatonic customer service representatives who, in the words of one plaintiff, "don't know a computer from a microwave oven", and who routinely urge customers to uninstall and reinstall their software in a superstitious hope that doing so might offer relief.

In addition to monetary damages "in an amount to be proven at trial", and the customary juicy fat slice for the shysters, the plaintiffs are seeking an injunction prohibiting Verizon from signing up new victims until the quality of service offered resembles that which is advertised. ®

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