July 21, 2004

JULY 21, 2004



            Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe today announced the signing of agreements between consumer protection authorities in 32 states and three major wireless phone service carriers, Verizon Wireless, Sprint PCS, and Cingular Wireless (collectively “the carriers”).  The agreements require the carriers to:

  • provide to consumers coverage maps that are as accurate as possible under current technology;
  • give consumers at least two weeks to terminate service contracts without incurring termination penalties; and
  •  more clearly and conspicuously disclose information about wireless plan rates, terms, and coverage areas in advertising and contract materials. 

The agreements are the result of months of negotiation by the states and the carriers concerning state allegations that the carriers misrepresented the extent of the application of discount rates and special offers and the geographic range of plan coverage areas.

            Attorney General Rowe said, “Shopping for wireless phone service is tricky enough without ads and contracts that contain confusing and misleading terms.  These agreements will help consumers get clearer information and make good decisions.  Under these agreements, consumers will have a trial period to find out if they have wireless service where they live, work, and play.  If the consumer is not happy with the wireless service, they may return the phone within 14 days and not pay a termination penalty.  If the consumer returns the phone within three days, they will also receive a refund of any activation fee they may have paid.”

            In addition to paying the costs of the states’ investigation, the carriers will make a $5 million cash payment to the states.  Maine’s share of the payment will be $106,667, which will be deposited in the State General Fund upon receipt.

For the text of the settlement with Verizon Wireless, click

For the text of the settlement with Cingular Wireless, click

For the text of the settlement with Sprint PCS, click


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