South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota will all share part of a massive settlement with a number of wireless companies.

The $10.25 million payout comes after all 50 states sued five different national carriers over deceptive and misleading advertising practices:

  • AT&T Mobility, LLC
  • T-Mobile USA, Inc.
  • Cellco Partnership, d/b/a Verizon Wireless
  • Cricket Wireless, LLC
  • TracFone Wireless

In addition to paying the civil penalties, the settlement requires the wireless companies to:

  • Make all future advertisements and representations truthful, accurate, and non-misleading.
  • Refer in marketing to “unlimited” mobile data plans only where such plans do not set any numerical limits on the quantity of data allowed during a billing cycle and clearly and conspicuously disclose any restrictions on data speed, as well as the triggers of such restrictions.
  • Offer to pay for consumers to “switch” carriers only where they clearly and conspicuously disclose the type of fees and amounts that they will pay consumers, the form and schedule that such payment will take, and all material requirements that consumers must satisfy in order to qualify and receive such payment.
  • Offer wireless devices or services for “free” or similar terms only where they disclose clearly and conspicuously all material terms and conditions that the consumer must meet in order to receive the “free” devices or services.
  • Make offers to lease wireless devices only where it is made clear to the consumer that the consumer will be entering into a lease agreement.
  • Make representations that a consumer will save money by purchasing its products or services only where it has a reasonable basis to do so based on comparisons with the prices of comparable goods or services of other providers, or where any material differences between those goods or services are clearly and conspicuously disclosed.
  • Appoint a dedicated employee to work with the attorney general to address ordinary complaints filed by consumers.
  • Train their customer service representatives who speak with consumers to comply with these terms and implement and enforce a program to ensure compliance with these terms.
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As part of the settlement, South Dakota will receive about $71,000. Attorney General Marty Jackley say that money will be used by the state's Consumer Protection Division for consumer protection efforts.

Minnesota will receive $146,000. No word on where that money will be spent.

Iowa's portion of the settlement was not disclosed.

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