Cell Phone Firms Agree To Consumer Rights

Ginger Halford needs a cell phone. She's a busy mom who wants to stay connected. But a few months ago, getting a call, sending a call and even listening to a call seemed impossible.

"I couldn't get service in here, in the house, or on the hill, but only on the porch. It was really strange," she explains.

She decided to switch phone companies when her contract expired. But when she got her last bill with the old company she saw some unexpected charges.

"When my July bill came there was a $175 early termination fee," says Ginger.

The company claims her contract automatically renewed months before when she got a new phone.

"I was extremely mad. Livid," says Ginger.

Ginger filed a complain with the Better Business Bureau. So far this year, the Tyler office has gotten more than 100 cellular complaints. But now those complaints may start going down, thanks to a new cellular rights agreement offered by the nations three largest providers: Verizon, Cingular, and Sprint PCS.

The companies have agreed to give you an out of your contract for two weeks if you realize your new cell phone isn't working for you. Plus they promise to offer full disclosure of service contract rates and conditions, so there will be no more confusion about renewals like what happened with Ginger. Ginger says she's glad these cellular companies have finally agreed to give her more rights, and she hopes her experience with her new company is much better.

Michelle Mortensen, reporting.