In $10M settlement, 50 AGs chide cell phone providers’ marketing practices

Following an investigation of the largest wireless providers’ advertising, marketing, and sales practices, 50 state AGs announced a settlement to discourage misleading and deceptive conduct. The cell phone companies agreed to pay a total of $10.25 million to change their practices.

Specifically, the AGs investigated the sales tactics of AT&T Mobility, LLC, Cellco Partnership (doing business as Verizon Wireless), Cricket Wireless, LLC, T-Mobile USA, Inc., and TracFone Wireless, Inc. The AGs examined situations where providers would “(i) offer consumers wireless devices for free or at a reduced rate or no extra cost, (ii) offer to pay consumers’ costs or fees if they switch carriers, (iii) offer wireless products or services at a reduced rate, whether in comparison to their own goods or services or those of third parties, (iv) offer to lease wireless devices, and (v) offer unlimited data on wireless devices.”

The AGs concluded that the wireless providers failed to properly disclose limitations or conditions or give clear information to consumers on how various incentives would be provided. They also alleged that providers gave consumers misleading wireless plan comparisons. Under the settlement, the providers denied any wrongdoing but nevertheless agreed to refrain from misleading practices and to clearly disclose material information to consumers.

Verizon and Tracphone agreed to pay ~$4 million; T-Mobile would also pay ~$4 million; and AT&T and Cricket would pay ~$2 million.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *