Commissioner Brandon Presley
The Northern District Commissioner stood in line Monday and heard the group’s pitch, causing him to warn consumers and ask the FCC, AG to step in.
Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D) has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Inspector General to issue a cease and desist against Surge Phone.
The group has set up tents across Mississippi giving away free tablets and internet service with no consumer information given at the point of sale, disclosure of rates, or terms and conditions. Surge Phone proposes to be offering the Affordable Connection Program Benefit.
Presley took issue with the group Monday in Amory, sharing the tweet below and noting that they were “providing ZERO written information to consumers.” He said he stood in line and listened to their pitch.
Prime example of why it was a MISTAKE to remove state oversight of @FCC EBB program. Vendor set up in Amory saying they are giving away free tablets, literally writing info on a spiral notebook and providing ZERO written information to consumers. I stood in line and listened.1/2 pic.twitter.com/4MNevgIuh2
— Brandon Presley (@BrandonPresley) January 24, 2022
“I personally posed as a potential customer yesterday in Amory after witnessing a long line of people obtaining tablets at a pop-up tent. After observing several customers receiving tablets, it was clear that this vendor made no disclosures about charges, offered no paperwork, or even a business card to people taking service in blatant violation of the FCC’s order issued on January 14, 2022” Commissioner Presley said. “This type of predatory business practice possibly leaves customer with high bills and no consumer information. Furthermore, it invites waste, fraud, and abuse of federal funds meant to connect Americans to broadband service.”
Presley sent the letter shown below to the FCC’s Inspector General on Tuesday. He also sent it to Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch.
The Commissioner says consumers should beware of these transactions and request written information regarding these tablets and offerings to protect themselves in dealings with any telecommunications service.
Presley advises consumers to be aware of possible high bills or not being able to use the device once they reach a certain data limit.