NY Attorney General Letitia James Secures More Than $10 Million from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless for Deceptive Advertising

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D-NY) and a multistate, bipartisan coalition of 50 attorneys general secured more than $10.22 million from AT&T Mobility and its subsidiary Cricket Wireless; T-Mobile; and Cellco Partnership and its subsidiary TracFone Wireless for deceptively marketing wireless service plans for years. A multistate investigation found that the companies made false claims in advertisements in New York and across the nation, including misrepresentations about “unlimited” data plans that were in fact limited and had reduced quality and speed after a certain limit was reached by the user. The companies will pay $520,000 to New York and are required to change their advertising to ensure that wireless service plans are accurately and fairly explained. The agreement requires the wireless service providers to pay $10,224,135 to the states and improve their advertising and marketing of their services to consumers. The wireless services providers are required to ensure that: 

  • All advertisements and representations are truthful, accurate, and non-misleading; 
  • “Unlimited” mobile data plans can only be marketed if there are no limits on the quantity of data allowed during a billing cycle; 
  • Offers to pay for consumers to switch to a different wireless carrier must clearly disclose how much a consumer will be paid, how consumers will be paid, when consumers can expect payment, and any additional requirements consumers have to meet to get paid; 
  • Offers of “free” wireless devices or services must clearly state everything a consumer must do to receive the “free” devices or services; 
  • Offers to lease wireless devices must clearly state that the consumer will be entering into a lease agreement; and 
  • All “savings” claims must have a reasonable basis. If a wireless carrier claims that consumers will save using its services compared to another wireless carrier, the claim must be based on similar goods or services or differences must be clearly explained to the consumer. 

Attorney General James Secures More Than $10 Million from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless for Deceptive Advertising