Senator Waring calls for cell user’s Bill of Rights

I’m not going to waste your time blogging about why we need this bill. If you are a user of that cutting edge communications device known as a cell phone, then you are probably familiar with your provider’s modus operandi of lousy (or suddenly dead) connections, dropped calls, inexplicable charges, rude and inattentive customer service, phones that break for no reason (and always for that one cause not covered by your warranty or insurance), and my personal favorite, contract extension blackmail.

If not, can you please give me the name of your provider?

Susan Bitter-Smith, the telecommunications lobbyist and perennial Congressional candidate, was successful in defeating protections for cell phone user’s in the previous session. Waring has a track record of getting major legislation through, from reigning in uninsured drivers, protecting the public against intoxicated ones, and GPS monitoring of sex offenders, to name just a few, often over the objections of industry mercenaries.

This one has a real chance. Email Senator Waring at Jamesfwaring@yahoo.com with your support or cell phone nightmare story, and get in touch with your legislators.


Comments

  1. I read about this piece of garbage bill. My cell phone service from Alltel is awesome! If you don’t like your service provider get a different one. I expect this kind of activist tripe from the Democrats.

    Here is my proposal for a cell-phone bill of rights:

    If you don’t want to deal with cell-phone providers, DON’T GET A CELL PHONE. (Cell phones are a privilege not a right.)

    P.S. Senator Waring is always welcome to carry around some dimes and quarters in his pocket if he cannot handle living in the 21st century. GROW UP!

  2. AZ GNAT:

    Grow UP! Senator Waring is one of the most conservative lawmakers we have.

    Kudos, to Waring for standing up for consumers! Regular phone service is regulated so it makes sense for the cell phone industry to be as well.

    Frankly, I am surprised it took this long for someone to make the cell phone companies act responsibly.

  3. My hope – and my belief – is that this will draw bipartisan support.

    Of course, Ms. Bitter Smith will gear up and will likely keep this Legislation on the slow track to oblivion.

    I think it will pass eventually. But it may take a couple of legislative sessions.

    BTW: Owning a cell phone is a PRIVILEGE? No, it’s a business, an unregulated oligopoly. Consumers need some rights to stand up to cell phone providers who lie, cheat and steal.

    And they do. I’m currently happy (for the most part) with T-Mobile, but there are times when they’ve fed me fertilizer and tried to tell me it was ice cream.

  4. Adrian in Phoenix says

    The name “Cell User’s Bill of Rights” had me worried that this was some liberal nanny-state tripe, but reading the article makes it clear that these are reasonable provisions. My carrier doesn’t care if I cancel or even if my whole family cancels service, so essentially we have no recourse other than hiring a lawyer if we feel abused by them. These simple provisions will make life with a cell phone easier in AZ, but possibly a bit more expensive also.

  5. ForREAL,

    According to the 2007 Goldwater Institute ratings Waring is a below average senator. His overall score is 43. The senate average is 45 and the Republican average is 52.

    This is a nanny state bill. Qwest has been given a monopoly by the state and is therefore regulated. The cell phone companies have lots of competition. Regulation will eventually lead to fewer options and lower quality service. Stood in line at the post office or motor vehicles lately?

    Sam,

    Your right is to go to another cell phone company.

    Adrian,

    “These simple provisions” will grow more cumbersome. They always do. Then you will be upset with how you are treated by The Governor’s Office for Cell Phone Grievances.

  6. In the modern era, when you hear something with the label “bill of rights” attached to it, it usually means it will cost you more and you will have less choices.

    The original Bill of Rights protected individuals from government telling them what to do. Now the phrase is misused to trick individuals into punishing “business” because they charge 25 cents too much.

    Most people are employed by a private sector company. Be careful about killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

    Otherwise, Waring is decent legislator.

  7. Chad,

    Would you say the same is true for TABOR?

  8. Ann,

    Did you even reach Chad’s post. He is critical on so-called bill of rights to protect consumers from business. Is that what TABOR does? Does it protect consumers from private business or does it protect taxpayers from government. Now some people of the more moderate ilk might look at government as a business that actually contributes rather than takes from the economy. (I’m not naming any names) But generally, that’s not the case. Big difference between what Chad is critical of and what TABOR is. Wouldn’t you think Ann?

  9. Good grief! Why has it become necessary to either start or end posts with a snide remark?

    Tom,

    I guess I could ask you the same question, “Did you even read Chad’s post?”

    This is the first line and the point of my question:

    “In the modern era, when you hear something with the label “bill of rights” attached to it, it usually means it will cost you more and you will have less choices.”

    My question is still to Chad, who has a far greater knowledge and experience in tax research than I do. I personally, do not like TABOR anymore than I liked the ability of ballot propositions to make the ballot without a necessary funding mechanism. At least that is no more. Soon a pack of cigarettes will cost $50, good thing I don’t smoke!

    Duly elected representatives should do what they see as correct and be held accountable by the voters if they don’t. Limits and laws that restrict governance eliminate the voter voice by disallowing their representative to determine public policy.

    However, Chad may have a different opinion and offer insight I have not experienced. Hence, my question.

  10. Ann — that was a good catch and you zinged me on that one. But yes, I was speaking specifically of government attempts to “protect” consumers by punishing businesses (my second paragraph).

    As de Tocqueville wrote 170 years ago, we trading our liberty for security, one regulation at a time.

    There are bad businesses and that’s why we have a volumes of laws and regs. But there is a big difference between regulating and punishing bad behavior on the important things (murder and fraud), and regulating every behavior on everything that might cause an inconvience to someone.

    Certainly we want the T&C’s of every contract clearly spelled out. But how much extra are you willing to pay to mandate font size, what shows up on the bill vs. the original contract, when you are supposed to receive the contract, fees to discontinue your contract, and on and on.

    This is not about “consumer protection.” Its about micromanaging private business.

    Economic growth, which means a higher standard of living, depends on risk. We are heading towards European-style economic management, where just about all risk is squeezed it out and the economy putters along.

    All TABOR does is keep money in the productive economic sector, so we all benefit.

  11. Chad,

    Thanks for the answer. Would it be correct to say then, that in general any law that is more restrictive than regulatory, for the sake of abiding by current law, would be in “the same family”? If that is the case, I absolutely agree.

    Occasionally there is a round peg that just won’t fit in the square hole, it could be that this is such an instance. I have always felt Jim Waring to be among the least meddling of legislators. It will be interesting to see what this looks like after committee but I suspect he is not the only one with a personal story of hostage by cell phone.

    We have all seen some pretty screwy bills submitted over less necessary and important issues than this, and often with a taxpayer burden involved, because one member has a story about being wronged or has a pet peeve.

  12. I agree w/ azgnat. This is nanny state stuff. If you don’t like the service, change carriers. There are plenty of them. That’s what I did when alltel gave me the run-around. Now I have T-Mobile and am loving it. But if there services dips, I’m outta there.

  13. Passonate Moderate says

    Let’s see held hostage by a cell phone provider or held hostage by Government? Since my cell provider cannot put me in jail, seize my property or take away my children, I would choose them as my captors. Actually they cannot even hold me hostage, I am pretty sure I can take the 120# customer service rep.

  14. I have no fears of needing to take the 120# customer service rep since New Delhi is too far away for me to feel threatened.

  15. Mr. Conservative says

    New Delhi? Ann, who do you have your service with? T-Mobile is one of the best carriers and they treat their customers well. I have been with them for 8 1/2 years and maybe you and the others who believe that the government needs to “do something” about all of those “bad” carriers should do your research before you buy. Here’s a good start point for you:

    http://www.managesmarter.com/msg/content_display/incentive/e3i809b8add00845238d636f029fc3ebe26

    Please, keep the government out of the wireless business (and for that matter, keep them away from the internet and the whole tech industry), they don’t do a good job with the wireline providers, why would we had over the whole wireless industry to them to screw it up?

  16. As one of Arizona’s 4.5 million wireless consumers, I want to urge all Arizona State Legislators to reject the misleadingly named “Cell Phone Users’ Bill of Rights,” S.B.1010. This legislation is unnecessary, unwanted, and threatens the affordability and accessibility of wireless services for Arizona’s families and businesses.

    I read a recent survey of Arizona wireless consumers that showed 92% of cell phone users are satisfied with their service. The same survey showed 74% believe adding new state government regulations on wireless would make their cell phone service more expensive, and 74% believe adding new government regulations on wireless will either make their cell phone service worse or make no difference at all. Placing additional regulations on wireless services will only drive up our monthly bills. Wireless consumers have plenty of choices of devices, plans and options for cell phone service. We don’t need the state interfering in our individual wireless choices or services.

    I am also deeply concerned about the impact these regulations could have on Arizona’s small businesses, who depend upon wireless to safely and effectively deliver their products and services. Working families are also threatened by these proposals. Many use wireless to stay connected to family and friends, to their jobs, and to other services for safety and convenience. Arizonans already pay over 14 percent each month in combined federal, state, and local wireless taxes, surcharges and government fees on our cell phone bills. Further cost increases may jeopardize their ability to afford wireless services that benefit them.

    I urge all of Arizona’s wireless consumers to call and write their elected officials today to keep the misnamed “Cell Phone Users’ Bill of Rights,” S.B.1010, from ever becoming law. Additional regulations – which threaten the affordability and accessibility of wireless services – are bad for all Arizonans. We need our State Legislators in Phoenix to exhibit real leadership on this anti-consumer issue.

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