Attorney General of Alabama and wireless carriers have reached a $10.25 million settlement regarding deceptive advertising practices

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall made an announcement today about a significant settlement reached with major wireless carriers. The settlement, totaling $10.25 million, involves AT&T Mobility, LLC, Cricket Wireless, LLC, T-Mobile USA, Inc., Cellco Partnership (doing business as Verizon Wireless), and TracFone Wireless, Inc. These companies were under investigation by state attorneys general for engaging in deceptive and misleading advertising practices. As a result of the multi-state agreement, Alabama will receive $201,697.52 to cover attorneys’ fees and costs.

According to Attorney General Marshall, the increasing significance of phones in our everyday lives makes it understandable that consumers are interested in products offering unlimited data or free phones. However, it is the responsibility of businesses to provide transparent information regarding any limitations, additional fees, and conditions. This settlement was essential to ensure that businesses fulfill their obligation to disclose such details. The 50-state coalition’s settlement includes assurances that will greatly benefit consumers across the state.

The settlement focuses on rectifying various deceptive advertising practices employed by the Wireless Carriers. These practices include:

    • Truthful Advertising : Ensure all future advertisements and representations are truthful, accurate, and non-misleading.
    • Clear Disclosures for “Unlimited” Plans : Refer to “unlimited” data plans only where no numerical limits are set during a billing cycle, and clearly disclose any data speed restrictions and their triggers.
    • Transparent Switch Offers : Clearly disclose the type, amount, form, schedule, and conditions of fees paid to consumers for switching carriers.
    • Clear Terms for “Free” Offers : Disclose all material terms and conditions for receiving “free” devices or services.
    • Lease Agreement Clarity : Make it clear to consumers when they are entering into a lease agreement for wireless devices.
    • Truthful Savings Claims : Only claim consumers will save money when there is a reasonable basis for such claims, with clear disclosure of any material differences in compared goods or services.
    • Consumer Complaint Resolution : Appoint a dedicated employee to address consumer complaints.
    • Customer Service Training : Train customer service representatives to comply with these terms and implement a compliance program.
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The multi-state agreement, which involves 50 jurisdictions, is part of a larger initiative by state attorneys general to ensure that wireless carriers comply with fair advertising practices and offer consumers clear and honest information. This underscores the commitment to protecting consumer rights and maintaining transparency in the wireless industry.

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