Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) today announced that he is sponsoring legislation that will protect cell phone purchasers. Senator Flanagan joined with the AARP in pushing for the "Wireless Telephone Service Consumer Protection Act" to protect the rights of cell phone users throughout New York State.
Cell phones are critical for use in case of an emergency for most New Yorkers. In fact, for older people in the state, it is the main reason they buy cell phones. The legislation sponsored by Senator Flanagan would make it easier for people to have critical and accurate information about where their cell phone works.
"People are buying cell phones with the blind expectation that their phone will work when it’s needed the most. Consumers deserve to know exactly where their phone will work, especially in an emergency," said Lois Aronstein, AARP New York State Director. "AARP commends Senator Flanagan for his leadership on this important cell phone safety issue in the State Senate. This bill is a move in the right direction for New York consumers."
The legislation known as the "Wireless Telephone Consumer Protection Act," would require cell phone companies to provide more detailed coverage maps, including where the e-911 function works during an emergency and allow people to cancel their contract fifteen days after receiving their first bill without having to pay hefty penalties. Similar legislation has been introduced in the State Assembly by Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell (69th Assembly District).
The main component of the act is the introduction of the trial period which would last through fifteen days after receiving their first bill without having to pay hefty penalties. By utilizing this period to assess their agreement, New York State consumers would be able to make a more informed and practical decision about their new service and ensure that providers provide the best service possible.
The legislation would also require cell phone companies to provide more detailed coverage maps, including where the e-911 function works during an emergency. These maps would provide cell phone users with information about the availability of e-911.
The legislation would also require cell phone companies to disclose all hidden fees, surcharges and taxes, enabling consumers to make informed decisions about the equipment and plans they are purchasing.
"Last year the cell phone industry fought hard to defeat this bill," added Aronstein. "Senator Flanagan and Assemblyman O’Donnell are standing strong this year to do what’s right when it comes to the safety of New Yorkers. AARP urges the legislature to pass this legislation."
"As our reliance on cell phones grows, we need to make sure that the laws of our state are able to adequately deal with this growth. This legislation is a great step towards ensuring the rights of New York consumers and a commonsense approach to regulating this industry. People deserve to know that they have legal protections and I look forward to working with AARP to make this legislation a reality in our state," stated Senator Flanagan.
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