Senator Flanagan Pushes Measure To Protect Cell Phone Consumers

John J. Flanagan

October 24, 2006

Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) has introduced legislation that would greatly enhance the rights of cell phone consumers. Senator Flanagan sponsored the "Wireless Telephone Service Consumer Protection Act" to help provide safeguards for New York State residents who sign up with a cell phone provider.

The main component of the act is the introduction of a trial period for customer evaluation of cell phone service. This evaluation period, which is to last no less than 15 days, would allow a cell phone consumer to test their new service provider.

This evaluation period would provide sufficient time for testing a provider's coverage and reliability. 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 fully disclose their fees and to avoid any hidden fees. To further assist consumers, companies would also be required to supply better coverage maps and these maps would provide cell phone users with information about the availability of E-911.

This piece of legislation is strongly advocated for by the AARP, which feels that it would protect their members.

"Many older persons depend on their cell phones for safety and the lack of any real cell phone consumer protections in New York is a shock," said Lois Aronstein, AARP New York state director. "AARP commends Senator Flanagan for introducing legislation to put consumers in the driver's seat and give them the protections they expect and deserve."

Senator Flanagan also joined the AARP in working for the passage of two other pieces of legislation that would help AARP members. These two bills would greatly increase access to prescription drugs.
One of the bills, which Senator Flanagan sponsors in the Senate, would create the Prescription Drug Assistance Program. This program would provide access to prescription drugs at reduced costs for individuals and would negotiate agreements with suppliers based on bulk purchasing power in which the suppliers pay rebates for drugs purchased by participants of the program.

The second piece of legislation that Senator Flanagan has been working for would require pharmaceutical drug manufacturers and wholesalers to annually disclose all gifts over $75 given doctors and all prescribing health care practitioners. This would deliver transparency to the prescription drug market and provide some accountability from the drug companies.

"The Senate has been a leader in the fight to protect the rights of the seniors of our state and we should be working to provide as much protection to the elderly residents of our state as possible. These measures, which are important to the seniors who have contacted me, will empower all the residents of our community," stated Senator Flanagan.