State receoves $10M to settle deceptive practices suit against wireless carriers

Comment     Print
Related Articles

CONCORD - The state of New Hampshire has entered into a $10.25 million multistate settlement with AT&T Mobility, LLC, Cricket Wireless, LLC, T-Mobile USA, Inc., Cellco Partnership, d/b/a Verizon Wireless, and TracFone Wireless, Inc. (collectively, the "Wireless Carriers"), which resolves the state attorneys general investigations into the Wireless Carriers' deceptive and misleading advertising practices.

"This $10.25 million multistate settlement sends a strong message that these deceptive and misleading business practices will not be tolerated in New Hampshire. The assurance terms outlined in the settlement are crucial steps toward ensuring transparency and fairness for consumers moving forward," said Attorney General John M. Formella. "By requiring these Wireless Carriers to make truthful, accurate, and non-misleading representations in their future advertisements, disclose material conditions for 'free' phone offers, and clearly explain the terms of switching incentives, this settlement will create stronger protections for New Hampshire consumers."

The assurance terms are a key component of the settlements which address the common misleading advertising practices of the Wireless Carriers, including misrepresentations concerning:

(1) "unlimited" data advertisements, which failed to clearly and conspicuously disclose material limitations;

(2) "free" phone offers, which failed to clearly and conspicuously disclose material conditions;

(3) monetary incentives to "switch" wireless networks, which failed to clearly and conspicuously disclose how the monetary incentives would be provided; and (4) wireless carrier plan comparisons, which failed to disclose material differences.

The assurance terms will, among other things, require the Wireless Carriers to:

(1) make all future advertisements and representations truthful, accurate and non-misleading;

(2) refer in marketing to "unlimited" mobile data plans only where such plans do not set any numerical limits on the quantity of data allowed during a billing cycle and clearly and conspicuously disclose any restrictions on data speed, as well as the triggers of such restrictions;

(3) offer to pay for consumers to "switch" carriers only where they clearly and conspicuously disclose the type of fees and amounts that they will pay consumers, the form and schedule that such payment will take and all material requirements that consumers must satisfy in order to qualify and receive such payment;

(4) offer wireless devices or services for "free" or similar terms only where they disclose clearly and conspicuously all material terms and conditions that the consumer must meet in order to receive the "free" devices or services;

(5) make offers to lease wireless devices only where it is made clear to the consumer that the consumer will be entering into a lease agreement;

(6) make representations that a consumer will save money by purchasing its products or services only where it has a reasonable basis to do so based on comparisons with the prices of comparable goods or services of other providers, or where any material differences between those goods or services are clearly and conspicuously disclosed; and

(7) appoint a dedicated employee to work with the attorneys general to address ordinary complaints filed by consumers;

(8) train its customer service representatives who speak with consumers to comply with these terms and implement and enforce a program to ensure compliance with these terms.

The State of New Hampshire will also receive $78,714 in attorneys' fees and costs as part of the settlements with the Wireless Carriers.

Read more from:
Comment      Print
Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: