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Arkansas awaits $104k in settlement with wireless carriers for deceptive advertising

An AT&T Wireless store in Philadelphia.
Matt Rourke
An AT&T Wireless store in Philadelphia.

Arkansas will receive approximately $104,000 of a $10.25 million multi-state settlement over deceptive and misleading advertising from wireless carriers including AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless.

Attorneys general in all 50 states and the District of Columbia launched an investigation in 2016 over concerns that wireless carriers were misleading people in ads about unlimited data, free phone offers and incentives for switching networks.

Attorney General Tim Griffin announced Arkansas’ share on Thursday, noting consumer protection as one of his top priorities.

“Cell phones are important to the daily lives of Arkansans, and it is imperative that wireless companies are straightforward and honest in their advertising practices,” he said in a statement.

The settlement establishes specific guidelines for the companies to follow going forward, which is expected to lead to accurate advertisements. Requirements include more detailed language around “free” services, only referring to “unlimited” data when plans have no numerical limits and informing customers of the cost they would be responsible for when switching carriers.

Among other things, the settlement also requires the companies to dedicate an employee to work with attorneys general on everyday complaints and train its customer service representatives to follow the new terms.

Arkansas’ settlement funds break down to $49,017.14 from T-Mobile, $30,125.14 from Verizon and $25,104.28 from AT&T.

Other carriers involved in the settlement are Cricket Wireless and TracFone Wireless.

Mary is a tenacious, award-winning journalist whose coverage spans city government to housing policy. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas