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For Immediate Release
July 21, 2004
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

ATTORNEY GENERAL CURRAN AND THIRTY-ONE OTHER ATTORNEYS GENERAL SETTLE CLAIMS AGAINST THREE WIRELESS CARRIERS

Verizon, Cingular and Sprint PCS Agree to
Provide Coverage Maps, Return Policies and Disclosures

Attorney General Curran announced today that his Consumer Protection Division and the offices of 31 other Attorneys General have entered into settlements with three of the nation’s largest wireless telephone carriers, Verizon Wireless, Cingular Wireless, and Sprint PCS. Under the settlement, the carriers are required to provide coverage maps to consumers, give consumers at least two weeks to terminate service contracts without incurring any penalties, and change the way they advertise and sell their services and coverage.

Consumers may be familiar with the maps previously provided by wireless carriers which consisted of a map of the entire “calling area,” in some cases, the entire United States, colored in. Carriers referred to these maps as “rate maps,” indicating where rates were available. Coverage was not necessarily available in the entire calling area or in the entire United States, for a variety of reasons, including lack of cell towers, lack of roaming agreements, lack of capacity to accommodate all calls during certain peak calling times, and physical obstructions, such as buildings, hills, and trees.

Verizon Wireless, Cingular Wireless, and Sprint PCS now will provide coverage maps to consumers that are as accurate as possible under current technology.

Also, these 3 carriers have agreed to provide new customers with a minimum of 14 days to try out their wireless service to make sure service is available where they need and want it. During the return period, new customers will be permitted to terminate their service contracts for any reason without paying the early termination fee provided for in the contract. In addition, these 3 carriers have agreed to provide a new return policy: new customers will be permitted to terminate their service contacts for any reason within 3 days without paying the early termination fee, plus the carrier will return any activation fees the consumers may have paid when they signed up for the service.

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