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Cell phone companies must pay $260k to Pa. in settlement over misleading advertising

FILE - A Verizon retail location in Willow Grove, Pa., Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024.
Matt Rourke
FILE - A Verizon retail location in Willow Grove, Pa., Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. Verizon is one of several cell phone companies entering a $10 million multi-state misleading advertising settlement.

AT&T, Verizon, Cricket and T-Mobile will pay more than $10 million to several states, including Pennsylvania, as part of a misleading advertising settlement.

State Attorney General Michelle Henry said Pennsylvania will get more than $260,000. That money could go toward legal fees, consumer protection enforcement, monitoring and enforcement of the settlement's terms, or consumer restitution.

Henry said the cell phone companies did not clearly explain limitations and conditions in “unlimited data” advertisements, “free” phone offers, or incentives to switch wireless networks.

“For far too long, these major carriers have been advertising free devices that actually involve significant costs for the consumer," Henry said.

As part of the settlement, those companies must be truthful in future advertising, disclose all attached fees and agreements, and properly train customer service staff on the limitations and conditions.

The cell phone companies deny engaging in unlawful or inappropriate business practices.

Sydney Roach is a reporter and host for WPSU with a passion for radio and community stories.