Arkansas to collect $104K in settlement with wireless carriers

Attorney General Tim Griffin says consumer protection is essential, and wireless companies should be “straightforward and honest in their advertising practices.”

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Attorney General Tim Griffin announced Thursday that Arkansas will collect $104,246.46 as part of a $10.25 million, 50-jurisdiction settlement with a handful of wireless carriers for deceptive and misleading advertising practices.

According to the settlement, Arkansas will receive $49,017.04 from T-Mobile USA, $30,125.14 from Verizon Wireless, and $25,104.28 from AT&T.

“Cell phones are important to the daily lives of Arkansans, and it is imperative that wireless companies are straightforward and honest in their advertising practices,” Griffin said. “Consumer protection is a core mission of my office, and it remains one of my top priorities. I want to thank my Public Protection Division for its work on securing this settlement, especially Deputy Attorney General Chuck Harder and Assistant Attorney General Matthew Ford.”

Under the terms of the settlement, Griffin said wireless carries will be required to:

  • Ensure that all future advertisements and representations are truthful, accurate, and not misleading
  • Refer in marketing to “unlimited” mobile data plans only when 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
  • Offer to pay for consumers to “switch” carriers only when 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 for and receive such payment
  • Offer wireless devices or services for “free” or similar terms only when they disclose clearly and conspicuously all material terms and conditions that the consumer must meet in order to receive the “free” devices or services;
  • Make offers to lease wireless devices only when the company makes clear that the consumer will be entering into a lease agreement
  • Make representations that a consumer will save money by purchasing its products or services only when 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
  • Appoint a dedicated employee to work with the attorneys general to address ordinary complaints filed by consumers
  • 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.

Cricket Wireless and TracFone Wireless were also involved in the settlement.

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