Gateway hit by class action suit

Computer maker accused of "misleading" US consumers with free Internet offer

PC manufacturer Gateway found itself the target of a class action lawsuit Monday, which accuses the company of misleading customers with a "free" Internet access offer and a Gateway credit card.

The action, filed in a California court, alleges Gateway misled US customers by promising "free" Internet access but failing to provide local dialup numbers. Customers had to pay expensive long-distance charges to access the service. In addition, the suit alleges Gateway automatically signed up customers for a Gateway-branded MasterCard with an annual interest rate of 27 percent. The credit card had been advertised as having a "competitive" rate, according to the suit.

The suit also accuses Gateway of failing to provide refunds to customers who complained about its offers.

The law firms of Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, and Almon, McAlister, Baccus Hall & Kelley are seeking to stop Gateway from continuing its offers and for customers covered by the suit to be compensated.

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