The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs said on Thursday it sued three of the top U.S. mobile providers, Sprint Corp, T-Mobile USA and Nextel Communications Inc., accusing them of misleading consumers through their advertising.

The agency said it asked the New York Supreme Court to fine the companies and make them comply with New York consumer protection laws because their ad headlines did not include extra charges that were placed in smaller print footnotes.

"You can't promise a great deal in the headline and hide the true costs in the fine print," the consumer agencies' Acting Commissioner Jonathan Mintz said in a statement.

Sprint believes it complies with advertising regulations, according to spokeswoman Lisa Malloy and Nextel plans to fight the case as it believes its ads truthful spokesman Scott Sloat said. T-Mobile USA, which is owned by Deutsche Telekom AG declined comment as matter of policy.

The agency said it had already settled claims against Cingular Wireless, a venture of SBC Communications and BellSouth Corp., and izon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone.


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