T-Mobile nailed for deceptive advertising

T-Mobile’s new contract-free offerings may not be all they seem. The carrier settled a lawsuit last week after allegations of deceptive advertising surfaced relating to their no-contract wireless plans. Those plans, says the Washington State Attorney General, contained hidden early termination fees for those who purchased on a two-year payment plan. T-Mobile had advertised that none of its new offerings required consumers “serve a two-year sentence.” “After an investigation of the company’s practices, the Attorney General’s Office learned that the company failed to adequately disclose that customers who purchase a phone using the 24-month payment plan must carry a wireless

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Vacation scam calls increase

Ever answered your cell phone to hear a blaring boat horn on the other end? Or a peppy prerecorded voice proclaiming that you’ve won a free trip? If you have, you’re not alone. In fact, these types of fraudulent vacation calls seem to be on the increase, so much so that a Canadian wireless carrier has recently issued a warning to consumers. While the scam has been around for some time, it appears to be continually resurfacing and often uses the name of a legitimate company. Usually the person who answers the phone hears a prerecorded statement suggesting they have

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Ontario government pushes for wireless consumer protections

Even the government knows that cell phone bills get nasty. In Ontario, Canada, the provincial government is reintroducing legislation to protect consumers when it comes to wireless bill shock and confusing contracts. In an announcement yesterday, Consumer Services Minister Tracy MacCharles said the legislation will be tabled next week. But it’s not the first time – a similar bill died last year when the session was prorogued. If it is successful this time around, it would force carriers to spell out contract terms in plain language and better explain billing practices. Automatic renewal of contracts would be prohibited and consumers

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Supply shortage hits Samsung S4

If you are hoping to get your hands on the new Samsung Galaxy S4, you might want to log on for pre-orders early. News broke this week that supply of the new device could be limited due to a chip shortage, coupled with high demand. T-Mobile has pushed its launch to Monday, a five-day delay. Sprint will begin accepting pre-orders on Saturday, but expects its full product launch to be slightly delayed. Verizon began pre-sales Thursday, but announced it would not have handsets in stores until the end of May. “Pre-order demand is much stronger than expected, so it’s difficult

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AT&T reports first quarter earnings

The latest numbers in from AT&T suggest the U.S. is hitting its smartphone plateau, with the carrier reporting a loss of 69,000 devices from its contract plans in the first quarter. It’s the first time it has experienced such a downturn. On the flip side, it added 365,000 post-paid tablets to plans, which usually carry lower monthly fees. Overall, earnings grew 3.2 per cent, with revenue dropping 1.5 per cent. “The business environment is challenging, and the overall economy is challenging,” AT&T Chief Financial Officer John Stephens was quoted as saying. Wireline revenues were down 1.8 per cent compared to

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Samsung could face fines for online malice

Think teenage bullies are the only ones on the attack online? You’re wrong. In fact, Samsung’s latest trickery in Taiwan could prove to be grounds for a nasty lawsuit. The tech giant is battling some bad press as of late after it came to light that Samsung paid students to post negative comments about competitor HTC online. Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission has launched an investigation into the accusations, something the agency appears to be taking very seriously. Samsung could be fined up to $835,000 USD if found guilty of false advertising. A marketing firm working with Samsung could also be

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Sale of carriers could hurt Canadian consumers

With three small Canadian mobile carriers up for sale, analysts are warning consumers may take a hit to their pocketbooks due to decreased competition in the industry. It’s likely the carriers could be scooped up by bigger companies, or even merge into one. “Either way prices will go up for consumers,” telecommunications reporter Rita Trichur was quoted as saying. WIND Mobile, Public Mobile and Mobilicity have all struggled to gain market share since their introduction in 2009-2010. Going up on the auction block hasn’t been the only big news for the small carriers lately. Earlier this month, all three withdrew

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VoIP providers eye changes to regulations

For the last 10 years, Voice over IP (VoIP) services have exploded in popularity. Every day millions of Americans rely on the service to make the majority of their traditional phone calls. Why are more and more people turning to the Internet-based service? Most will tell you that the lowered cost is the biggest selling point, especially when compared with fees for landline service. And it’s not just the residential sector that’s been affected – more businesses are eying VoIP as a viable alternative. It’s a trend that’s been closely monitored by the Federal Communications Commission, which recently announced it

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Petition calls for end to Verizon contracts

An online petition requesting Verizon ditch contracts is gaining steam, garnering over 90,000 signatures by Thursday. It could signal the start of a larger campaign by consumers to get wireless providers to abandon their traditional contract structures, similar to the recent move by T-Mobile. Petition creator Mike Beauchamp, of Wichita, Kansas, pointed out that Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has said if consumers made enough noise, he would be willing to eliminate contracts. “Getting rid of carrier contracts is a win for customers,” wrote petition creator Mike Beauchamp, of Wichita, Kansas. “ … So here’s your chance: sign this petition to

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More Android security needed, says ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is lashing out at major U.S. wireless carriers, claiming they have not done enough to patch dangerous vulnerabilities in Android operating software. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile were all named in the suit filed Tuesday, which calls for action from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. According to the ACLU, the carriers offer Android phones but rarely roll out security updates, a practice that leaves customers at risk of hacking attacks. It contravenes Federal Trade Commission provisions disallowing deceptive and unfair business practices, says the filing, noting customers should have the right to terminate contracts

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