Phone rebate lawsuit vs. Cingular greenlit

A federal court has ruled that a lawsuit brought against the former Cingular Wireless for alleged misleading advertising on phone "rebates" can proceed.    The suit states that the cell phone company promised to pay rebates to people who bought mobile phones, and advertised discounted prices that reflected the promised rebate. However, instead of a rebate check, phone buyers received a "VISA Reward card" that came with certain restrictions, including a time constraint. Of course, once the Visa card arrived by mail, the subscribers were already signed up and had to pay the typical $175 early termination fee to cancel their service. 

The court stated: "The court finds that a reasonable consumer, upon seeing an advertisement that promises a 'rebate' of a certain amount, would generally understand that advertisement to mean that the amount will be returned to the consumer in cash, check or its equivalent... The more terms, conditions and restrictions that are placed upon the form of tender, the less equivalent it becomes to cash or check..."

For more on the suit:
- read this press release