Don’t Fumble Cell Phone Consumer Rights

Published on


has been asked to intervene on behalf of the telecommunications
industry to block a much anticipated and long-awaited cell phone
consumers bill of rights that is in its final stage at the Public
Utilities Commission this month. Arnold, who has received more than
$100K from the cell phone industry including $5K this week from
Verizon, was pressed by none other than Steve Largent, president of the
Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association.

Largent — the Pro Football Superstar turned Congressman turned
lobbyist — and the cell phone firms are hoping that the Gov. will
strong-arm utility commissioners into watering down cell phone consumer
protections. ArnoldWatch tipsters report that Arnold will use his
upcoming appointments to the Commission and the prospect of overturning
the telecommunications reforms altogether as a tool to push the current
commissioners into getting rid of the strongest protections in the

To date Arnold has chosen industry positions over consumer protections
at every opportunity. He says that he has to prioritize business
interests for fear that companies will leave the state. But does anyone
believe that the wireless companies will stop offering cellular service
if we require them to play fair and send ’em back twenty yards when
they commit a penalty? Arnold should weigh in on behalf of consumers on
this one to give Californians a shot when they have to fight the Cell
Phone Giants.

We know that phone companies have already put $100K on the line for
this one, and they could spend much more to influence Arnold during
this critical month. The Orange County Register reports that Arnold
will spend this month fundraising on behalf of Republicans in tight
legislative races, but we won’t know where the money is coming from for
months. If Arnold wants to avoid a yellow flag, he should disclose the
donors at those events voluntarily. These fundraisers need to be
watched closely as they could be ways for the telecommunications firms
to quietly help Arnold, by funding his candidates, just as the industry
calls on Arnold to hold the line against consumer protections. The cell
firms know that if Arnold gets into the game to block for them, it
would be a telecom touchdown.

Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports Magazine,
is asking Californians to contact the governor and ask him to push for
consumer rights. To read more about this and to take action, visit:

If you have had had problems with your cell phone carrier, let us know by filling out the consumer complaint form at
Our Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights has been tracking
consumer problems with cell phone companies and we have filed suit
against some companies regarding their quality of service, excessive
fees, and the confusing billing practices that make it impossible to
find errors.

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
Providing an effective voice for American consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Non-partisan.

Latest Videos

Latest Releases

In The News

Latest Report

Support Consumer Watchdog

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news, press releases and special reports.

More Releases