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Cell contract law stands

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Anonymous
September 7, 2004 2:56:46 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

Cell contract law stands
Customer approval needed for changes; federal fees can be added
BY JULIE FORSTER
Pioneer Press [St. Paul, Minnesota]

A U.S. District Court judge on Friday upheld a state law that prohibits cell
phone companies from significantly changing a customer's contract without
the customer's written permission.

The law, passed in the last legislative session, was supposed to go into
effect July 1. But in June, several national and regional wireless carriers
argued in federal court that the state was improperly trying to regulate
cell phone rates, something only the federal government can do. The
companies also argued that the law was vague and the record keeping required
to comply with the law would be onerous.

In response at that time, U.S. District Court Judge John R. Tunheim granted
a temporary restraining order, halting the law's implementation until he
could consider the motion for a preliminary injunction.

With his ruling Friday, Tunheim dissolved the temporary order, saying that
he was convinced the state statute follows basic contract law and simply
requires notice and informed consent to change contracts.

The latest court order clears the way for the new state law to take effect
Sept. 15. In the cell companies' favor, the court also ruled that federal
fee increases could be passed on to the consumer without notice.

Legal counsel for Verizon Wireless, one of the companies seeking to overturn
the law, was reviewing the decision Friday afternoon and evaluating options,
said Karen Smith, a Verizon Wireless spokeswoman. The companies have 30 days
to file an appeal.

Attorney General Mike Hatch said the decision was favorable for consumers
and "sends a pretty strong message to (wireless companies) about what the
final outcome will be." The state law, he said, was not an onerous burden
imposed by government but simply basic contract law stating that before a
contract can be changed, consumer consent is needed.

"What we are requiring here is something that any good corporate citizen
should comply with," Hatch said.

Michael Vanselow, a deputy attorney general, said cell phone companies would
often extend consumers' wireless contracts without the consumers' knowledge
or consent. Then, when a customer tried to cancel, he or she would be socked
with large cancellation fees. This was one of the top consumer complaints to
the attorney general's office in the last few years, he said.

In legislative hearings on the bill, Minnesota consumers testified they
faced frustration and stress dealing with non-responsive customer service
representatives and that it took excessive time to correct billing and other
errors.

AT&T Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint PCS, Midwest Wireless, American Cellular
Corp. and Rural Cellular Corp. joined Verizon Wireless in the lawsuit.
Anonymous
September 7, 2004 8:51:04 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

That is good news. I wonder how it works in California.

Gregg Hill


"Joe Kaffe" <kaffejoe@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:25c%c.93114$4o.73685@fed1read01...
> Cell contract law stands
> Customer approval needed for changes; federal fees can be added
> BY JULIE FORSTER
> Pioneer Press [St. Paul, Minnesota]
>
> A U.S. District Court judge on Friday upheld a state law that prohibits
> cell
> phone companies from significantly changing a customer's contract without
> the customer's written permission.
>
> The law, passed in the last legislative session, was supposed to go into
> effect July 1. But in June, several national and regional wireless
> carriers
> argued in federal court that the state was improperly trying to regulate
> cell phone rates, something only the federal government can do. The
> companies also argued that the law was vague and the record keeping
> required
> to comply with the law would be onerous.
>
> In response at that time, U.S. District Court Judge John R. Tunheim
> granted
> a temporary restraining order, halting the law's implementation until he
> could consider the motion for a preliminary injunction.
>
> With his ruling Friday, Tunheim dissolved the temporary order, saying that
> he was convinced the state statute follows basic contract law and simply
> requires notice and informed consent to change contracts.
>
> The latest court order clears the way for the new state law to take effect
> Sept. 15. In the cell companies' favor, the court also ruled that federal
> fee increases could be passed on to the consumer without notice.
>
> Legal counsel for Verizon Wireless, one of the companies seeking to
> overturn
> the law, was reviewing the decision Friday afternoon and evaluating
> options,
> said Karen Smith, a Verizon Wireless spokeswoman. The companies have 30
> days
> to file an appeal.
>
> Attorney General Mike Hatch said the decision was favorable for consumers
> and "sends a pretty strong message to (wireless companies) about what the
> final outcome will be." The state law, he said, was not an onerous burden
> imposed by government but simply basic contract law stating that before a
> contract can be changed, consumer consent is needed.
>
> "What we are requiring here is something that any good corporate citizen
> should comply with," Hatch said.
>
> Michael Vanselow, a deputy attorney general, said cell phone companies
> would
> often extend consumers' wireless contracts without the consumers'
> knowledge
> or consent. Then, when a customer tried to cancel, he or she would be
> socked
> with large cancellation fees. This was one of the top consumer complaints
> to
> the attorney general's office in the last few years, he said.
>
> In legislative hearings on the bill, Minnesota consumers testified they
> faced frustration and stress dealing with non-responsive customer service
> representatives and that it took excessive time to correct billing and
> other
> errors.
>
> AT&T Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint PCS, Midwest Wireless, American Cellular
> Corp. and Rural Cellular Corp. joined Verizon Wireless in the lawsuit.
>
>
>
September 7, 2004 8:58:53 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

"Gregg Hill" <bogus@nowhere.com> wrote in message
news:YFl%c.30286$Bt5.6122@twister.socal.rr.com...
> That is good news. I wonder how it works in California.
>
> Gregg Hill

My question is what is going to a "significant change" to the contract.
Probably have to wait and see on that one.

JW
>
>
> "Joe Kaffe" <kaffejoe@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:25c%c.93114$4o.73685@fed1read01...
> > Cell contract law stands
> > Customer approval needed for changes; federal fees can be added
> > BY JULIE FORSTER
> > Pioneer Press [St. Paul, Minnesota]
> >
> > A U.S. District Court judge on Friday upheld a state law that prohibits
> > cell
> > phone companies from significantly changing a customer's contract
without
> > the customer's written permission.
> >
> > The law, passed in the last legislative session, was supposed to go into
> > effect July 1. But in June, several national and regional wireless
> > carriers
> > argued in federal court that the state was improperly trying to regulate
> > cell phone rates, something only the federal government can do. The
> > companies also argued that the law was vague and the record keeping
> > required
> > to comply with the law would be onerous.
> >
> > In response at that time, U.S. District Court Judge John R. Tunheim
> > granted
> > a temporary restraining order, halting the law's implementation until he
> > could consider the motion for a preliminary injunction.
> >
> > With his ruling Friday, Tunheim dissolved the temporary order, saying
that
> > he was convinced the state statute follows basic contract law and simply
> > requires notice and informed consent to change contracts.
> >
> > The latest court order clears the way for the new state law to take
effect
> > Sept. 15. In the cell companies' favor, the court also ruled that
federal
> > fee increases could be passed on to the consumer without notice.
> >
> > Legal counsel for Verizon Wireless, one of the companies seeking to
> > overturn
> > the law, was reviewing the decision Friday afternoon and evaluating
> > options,
> > said Karen Smith, a Verizon Wireless spokeswoman. The companies have 30
> > days
> > to file an appeal.
> >
> > Attorney General Mike Hatch said the decision was favorable for
consumers
> > and "sends a pretty strong message to (wireless companies) about what
the
> > final outcome will be." The state law, he said, was not an onerous
burden
> > imposed by government but simply basic contract law stating that before
a
> > contract can be changed, consumer consent is needed.
> >
> > "What we are requiring here is something that any good corporate citizen
> > should comply with," Hatch said.
> >
> > Michael Vanselow, a deputy attorney general, said cell phone companies
> > would
> > often extend consumers' wireless contracts without the consumers'
> > knowledge
> > or consent. Then, when a customer tried to cancel, he or she would be
> > socked
> > with large cancellation fees. This was one of the top consumer
complaints
> > to
> > the attorney general's office in the last few years, he said.
> >
> > In legislative hearings on the bill, Minnesota consumers testified they
> > faced frustration and stress dealing with non-responsive customer
service
> > representatives and that it took excessive time to correct billing and
> > other
> > errors.
> >
> > AT&T Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint PCS, Midwest Wireless, American Cellular
> > Corp. and Rural Cellular Corp. joined Verizon Wireless in the lawsuit.
> >
> >
> >
>
>
Anonymous
September 8, 2004 10:30:34 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.verizon (More info?)

JW,

I have seen some claims in here that folks were able to get out because of
the increased price for 411 calls. I don't know if that is true or not, but
it has been claimed here. I have two months left on my AT&T contract to do
some research and pick the best carrier. It sure would be nice to hold them
to the contract I sign. Heck, I cannot change MY terms of the contract
without renewing it, why should they be able to do so, especially without
telling us?

Gregg Hill


"JW" <jw@jw.net> wrote in message news:zXr%c.284651$Oi.257547@fed1read04...
>
> "Gregg Hill" <bogus@nowhere.com> wrote in message
> news:YFl%c.30286$Bt5.6122@twister.socal.rr.com...
>> That is good news. I wonder how it works in California.
>>
>> Gregg Hill
>
> My question is what is going to a "significant change" to the contract.
> Probably have to wait and see on that one.
>
> JW
>>
>>
>> "Joe Kaffe" <kaffejoe@yahoo.com> wrote in message
>> news:25c%c.93114$4o.73685@fed1read01...
>> > Cell contract law stands
>> > Customer approval needed for changes; federal fees can be added
>> > BY JULIE FORSTER
>> > Pioneer Press [St. Paul, Minnesota]
>> >
>> > A U.S. District Court judge on Friday upheld a state law that prohibits
>> > cell
>> > phone companies from significantly changing a customer's contract
> without
>> > the customer's written permission.
>> >
>> > The law, passed in the last legislative session, was supposed to go
>> > into
>> > effect July 1. But in June, several national and regional wireless
>> > carriers
>> > argued in federal court that the state was improperly trying to
>> > regulate
>> > cell phone rates, something only the federal government can do. The
>> > companies also argued that the law was vague and the record keeping
>> > required
>> > to comply with the law would be onerous.
>> >
>> > In response at that time, U.S. District Court Judge John R. Tunheim
>> > granted
>> > a temporary restraining order, halting the law's implementation until
>> > he
>> > could consider the motion for a preliminary injunction.
>> >
>> > With his ruling Friday, Tunheim dissolved the temporary order, saying
> that
>> > he was convinced the state statute follows basic contract law and
>> > simply
>> > requires notice and informed consent to change contracts.
>> >
>> > The latest court order clears the way for the new state law to take
> effect
>> > Sept. 15. In the cell companies' favor, the court also ruled that
> federal
>> > fee increases could be passed on to the consumer without notice.
>> >
>> > Legal counsel for Verizon Wireless, one of the companies seeking to
>> > overturn
>> > the law, was reviewing the decision Friday afternoon and evaluating
>> > options,
>> > said Karen Smith, a Verizon Wireless spokeswoman. The companies have 30
>> > days
>> > to file an appeal.
>> >
>> > Attorney General Mike Hatch said the decision was favorable for
> consumers
>> > and "sends a pretty strong message to (wireless companies) about what
> the
>> > final outcome will be." The state law, he said, was not an onerous
> burden
>> > imposed by government but simply basic contract law stating that before
> a
>> > contract can be changed, consumer consent is needed.
>> >
>> > "What we are requiring here is something that any good corporate
>> > citizen
>> > should comply with," Hatch said.
>> >
>> > Michael Vanselow, a deputy attorney general, said cell phone companies
>> > would
>> > often extend consumers' wireless contracts without the consumers'
>> > knowledge
>> > or consent. Then, when a customer tried to cancel, he or she would be
>> > socked
>> > with large cancellation fees. This was one of the top consumer
> complaints
>> > to
>> > the attorney general's office in the last few years, he said.
>> >
>> > In legislative hearings on the bill, Minnesota consumers testified they
>> > faced frustration and stress dealing with non-responsive customer
> service
>> > representatives and that it took excessive time to correct billing and
>> > other
>> > errors.
>> >
>> > AT&T Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint PCS, Midwest Wireless, American
>> > Cellular
>> > Corp. and Rural Cellular Corp. joined Verizon Wireless in the lawsuit.
>> >
>> >
>> >
>>
>>
>
>
!