A new ?Cell Phones User's Bill of Rights? was recently introduced in the New York State Assembly and aims to help consumers make more informed choices when purchasing cell phones service. This bill comes on the heels of the passage of a more watered-down Telecommunications Consumer Bill of Rights in California earlier this month. The California measure focused more on consumer education, faster complaint resolution, and fraud prevention than on requirements that would have affected the operations of the carriers themselves. The New York bill of right is a much more stringent measure. The bill, introduced by New York State Assemblyman Daniel O?Donnell, would require cell phone companies to disclose all taxes, fees, and surcharges and provide an estimated total monthly bill before a consumer commits to service. Currently, some wireless carriers provide estimated bill totals as part of the introductory packet that new subscribers receive, but only after they have signed a service contract. Additional provisions of the law would allow consumers to cancel their cell phone contracts 15 days after receiving the first bill without penalty, require cell phone companies to provide more detailed coverage maps, and disclose to customers the E-911 capabilities of their new handsets. The bill this week was endorsed by the AARP. ?New York consumers who find themselves roped into long-term cell phone contracts, filled with hidden fees and bad service, clearly need a law on their side,? said Lois Aronstein, AARP New York State Director.
Source: Telecommunications Research and Action Center. http://www.trac.org