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Yost, other AGs reach $10.25 million in settlements with wireless giants over deceptive ads

Ohio Attorney General's Office, Press Release

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost recently announced $10.25 million in three multistate settlements with the largest wireless carriers in the United States to resolve the 50 attorneys general investigations into deceptive and misleading advertising practices.

Ohio is due to receive more than $478,000 under the agreements with AT&T Mobility together with Cricket Wireless, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless together with TracFone Wireless.

“In a time when we rely heavily on our phones to stay connected, it's unacceptable to make false promises about what consumers might expect from their wireless carriers.” Yost said. “Ohioans deserve transparency and honesty from telecommunications companies, and this agreement ensures that they will receive just that.”

Key components of the settlements involve assurances that the wireless carriers will change their advertising and business practices going forward to avoid vague “unlimited” data claims, unclear “free” phone offers and undisclosed conditions for monetary incentives for switching carriers.

Under the agreements, the carriers must:

• Make sure that all future ads are truthful, accurate and not misleading.

• Clearly disclose restrictions on “unlimited” data plans.

• Transparently disclose incentives for switching carriers.

• Clearly disclose all material terms and conditions for consumers to receive “free” devices or services.

• Explicitly state when an offer involves a lease agreement.

• Justify claims of cost savings with clear comparisons.

• Appoint a dedicated employee to handle consumer complaints from Attorneys General offices.

• Train customer service to comply with the terms of these agreements.

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