A Smartphone Owner's Bill of Rights

6. Smartphone buyers are entitled to certain disclosure information about the wireless device and its coverage at the time of sale.

Similar to the way automakers must show city and highway miles-per-gallon information to car buyers at the point of sale, wireless service providers would be required to show smartphone buyers a detailed local-coverage map that includes the average speed and reliability information, as well as the locations of local cell towers. The buyer should also be advised of the reach, speed and reliability of the carrier's roaming network, and the costs of using it.

7. Smartphone buyers have a right to know the total cost of ownership of services and devices over the entire term of their contract.

Service providers could still sell smartphones and wireless services in any bundle they see fit, but they should inform the consumer of the monthly cost of ownership for the whole bundle, both for the entire term of the contract and on a monthly basis. This estimate should include all one-time or monthly administrative charges, taxes, and other fees. Like this.

8. Smartphone buyers should be guaranteed a 15-day try-out period.

The speed and reliability of wireless service is subject to many natural and man-made conditions. Because neither a service provider nor a smartphone buyer can easily predict service quality in specific areas, the customer should have ample opportunity to test the connection in real-world conditions at home, at work, in transit, and in other situations. If the wireless service proves less than adequate, the consumer should have the right to return the device and exit the service contract at no cost and with no questions asked; specifically, the consumer should pay only network-usage charges and applicable taxes and fees, but no account activation or termination charges.

9. Smartphone owners are entitled to simple and transparent billing practices.

Service providers should undergo a process to make monthly device and service charges easy to understand. Providers ought to include any fees (collected for themselves) in the base cost of the services, instead of breaking them out into separate, additional charges. Taxes and fees that providers are required to collect for third parties should be itemized and explained on a separate page of the bill.

If a provider adds any taxes or fees to the account later, it should notify the customer in writing at least 30 days before billing the new fee. The notification must include a full explanation of the charge, the reason it is necessary, and what it will pay for.

10. Smartphone owners should get access to a device-neutral online storage space for their contact data.

Consumers should never be prevented from walking away from a service they don't like just because their contact data would be lost if they did so.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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