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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Attorney General Gansler Announces Agreement with Major Wireless Carriers and Wireless Phone Insurance Provider
Disclosure to be Improved; Charitable Programs to Benefit

BALTIMORE, MD (April 4, 2008) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced an agreement with all of the major United States wireless carriers as well as Asurion Protection Services, a provider of cell phone insurance protection policies to the customers of the carriers. Under the agreement, Asurion will more clearly disclose key terms of its insurance policies in the materials that it provides to the wireless carriers. AT&T Mobility, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless will ensure consumers are provided with the key terms when they enroll customers in the insurance plans administered by Asurion. Although the agreement applies solely to Maryland, it is expected that the carriers and Asurion will make similar changes in other states.

“Before deciding to purchase an insurance policy, Maryland consumers should clearly understand the terms of the policy,” said Attorney General Gansler. “This agreement with the major wireless carriers and Asurion ensures that consumers actually will have seen all the necessary information before they decide to sign on the dotted line.”

Under the agreement consumers will be informed specifically of the following terms at the point of sale:

  • the monthly fee;
  • the amount of any deductible;
  • the replacement equipment that may be provided (e.g., new or refurbished equipment, and either the same as or different than the customer’s original equipment);
  • applicable limits on the number or value of claims; and
  • the cancellation policy.

While prior company materials contained all the terms of the policy in the information provided to consumers, Attorney General Gansler strongly believed that Maryland consumers were not fully aware of the key terms. As a result of today’s agreement, these terms will be prominently highlighted, including in the brochure provided to customers who purchase wireless phone insurance.
Additionally, the wireless carriers have agreed to institute measures to demonstrate the customer has had a reasonable opportunity to review these terms, such as obtaining the customer’s signature at a retail store or providing the customer with post-sale notification of both the insurance plan’s key terms and the customer’s option to cancel immediately without penalty.

In addition to more prominently disclosing key terms of the insurance policies, Asurion will make a voluntary charitable donation totaling $1.5 million to the following four charities, specifically for services in Maryland:

  • Sprint’s Project Connect, which supports the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the NEA Health Information Network, and others through its 4NetSafety program to provide free resources for adults and “tweens” to help keep kids safer online;
  • Verizon Wireless HopeLine, which provides wireless services to victims of domestic violence;
  • T-Mobile Huddle Up, an afterschool program for kids of single parents in Maryland and around the country; and
  • AT&T Foundation, which funds philanthropic programs supporting education, community development, the arts, health and human services, and technology access in communities in Maryland and across the country.
   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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