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Ring Tone Crackdown

February 29th, 2008 by Mike Vasilinda

Thousands of AT&T Wireless customers could be in line for credits on their bills after Florida’s Attorney General reached a settlement with the company over fraudulent advertising. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, other wireless carriers are now in the attorney generals sights.

For wireless customers who download ring tones, It is an all too common case of free not really being free. Elizabeth Jones of West Palm Beach found out the hard way. “You thought a ring tone was free?”

“Yes Sir”
“And it wasn’t?”
“No”

Internet solicitations promise free ring tones. The fine print hits you in the pocketbook.
After hundreds of complaints to the attorney general’s hot line, an investigation turned up widespread abuse by all of the major cell carriers. In announcing a settlement with AT&T, Attorney General Bill McCollum called the ads blatant.

“This is very misleading advertising. This advertising is wrong, it’s unfair, it’s deceptive. It’s everything else, and it’s all over the internet today.” says McCollum.

AT&T has agreed to being policing the ads, make heir billing more clear and transparent, , and to refund somewhere between 10 and 45 million to customers.
AT&T customers should be hearing from the company within the next 60 days. If you don’t, the Attorney General says call him.

Brad Ashwell of the Florida Public Interest Group calls the settlement a step in the right direction. “It’s precedent setting to have a company as large as AT&T and Cingular Wireless taking this sort of step protecting consumers. “ says Ashwell.

The deal with AT&T now gives the Attorney General leverage to go after the other big players in the cell phone industry. Cell phone companies typical keep between 40 and 45 percent of the payment for ring tones as a fee for handling the billing.

Posted in Business, Children, Education, McCollum, Politics, State News | 1 Comment »

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