New Yorkers May Get Legal Protection From Verizon & T-Mobile

You know, when people start seriously making comparisons like “The cell phone industry has now out-ranked used car dealers as the most complained about industry in the nation — we think consumers deserve and need better protections,” maybe there really is a country wide issue with cell phone providers bilking us and betraying our trust.

That quote is from the director of the New York branch of the AARP, who are urging state lawmakers not to back down to industry pressure over the Cell Phone Consumer Protection Act. The act would require cell phone companies to:

• disclose fees, surcharges and taxes to consumers;
• allow consumers to cancel their contracts fifteen days after receiving the first bill without penalty;
• require cell phone companies to provide more detailed coverage maps of where the phones will work; and
• disclose to customers the cell phone’s E-911 capabilities.

All steps in the right direction. We hope this will be one of the few cases where politicians don’t spinelessly capitulate to the strong-arm lobbying of major American corporations. Every state could use a cell phone consumer protection act like this one. Of course, these sorts of laws also just challenge companies like Verizon, Cingular and T-Mobile to come up with craftier ways to screw you, so, as always, caveat emptor.

New York Considers Tough Cell Phone Consumer Protection Law [Consumer Affairs]