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News Release
 
Cell Phone Customers Get Additional Complaint Option
February 18, 2005 (2005-003)
Contacts:  Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
 
Salem, Or. – Attorney General Hardy Myers and Governor Ted Kulongoski today announced a new effort to expand consumer protection to cell phone customers. Under a new partnership, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) will team up with the Department of Justice Consumer Protection Section to handle such complaints.
 
"Since taking office, I have made government accountability and efficiency a top priority and this new partnership is another step forward in improving government's service to the people of Oregon in the 21st Century," said Governor Kulongoski.  "As technologies advance, government must also advance and I am pleased that cellular phone customers in Oregon will now have additional protections from fraud that they deserve." 
 
AG Myers said that under a recently filed Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with three of the nation’s largest wireless telephone carriers, Verizon, Cingular and Sprint, the Department of Justice was able to name the PUC as its agent in monitoring the companies’ compliance with the settlement. "Our new partnership will marry the experience and staffing of the PUC with my Justice Department's legal clout gained through these new agreements", said Myers. "This is a great example of government working smarter and more efficiently to benefit Oregonians", he said.
 
"We're very excited to bring this new level of assistance to Oregon customers," said PUC Chairman Lee Beyer. "Customers have grown to expect the PUC will be there to help them resolve complaints with their phone company and by teaming up with the Department of Justice we intend to keep that trust in place."
 
Under these agreements, the companies agreed to:
  • To provide accurate coverage maps to customers;

  • To allow new customers to terminate a wireless contract for any reason within 14 days of activation without paying an early termination fee;

  • To return any activation or other "non-usage" based fee charged to consumers who cancel within three days of activation;

  • To disclose material terms and conditions of the plans in advertising, when soliciting new customers through telemarketing and in writing after a customers purchases a new plan;

  • To separately state the charge for each plan feature or service on customer bills, and;

  • To not represent that the companies discretionary cost recovery fees are taxes or some other type of government required fee.

Customers can file complaints by calling the Commission at 1-800-522-2404 or by email at puc.commission@state.or.us or by calling the Attorney General’s hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5725 (Portland only) or toll-free at 1-877-9392. Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
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