Rutledge Announces Mobile Office for Lonoke and Prairie CountiesThu, May 14, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for Lonoke and Prairie counties to be held on Tuesday, May 19.
Attorney General Mobile Offices assist constituents who are having consumer issues and help them file consumer complaints against scam artists. Staff will also be available to answer questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents.
Rutledge created the initiative so that the office would be accessible to everyone, not just those that call the capital city home. Arkansans should know that the Attorney General believes there is no issue too small for her staff to have a face-to-face conversation.
For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s Office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/agleslierutledge and on Twitter at twitter.com/agrutledge.
Attorney General Mobile Offices schedule for Tuesday, May 19:
9 a.m. – noon
Lonoke Community Center, Community Room
1355 Front St.
Lonoke, AR 72086
1 – 3 p.m.
Des Arc City Hall, Council Chambers
107 South 3rd St.
Des Arc, AR 72040
Rutledge Announces Restitution for Victims of Sprint and Verizon Mobile CrammingTue, May 12, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that she, along with 49 other state attorneys general, the District of Columbia, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have reached settlements with the Sprint Corp. and Cellco Partnership, also known as Verizon Wireless.
Under the terms of the settlements, Sprint will pay $68 million and Verizon will pay $90 million to resolve allegations that both companies placed charges for third-party services on consumers’ mobile telephone bills that were not authorized by the consumers, a practice commonly referred to as “mobile cramming.” Arkansas will receive $153,176 from Sprint and $204,260 from Verizon.
Of the settlement amounts, Sprint and Verizon are required to provide $50 million and $70 million, respectively, to consumers who were victims of cramming. Sprint and Verizon will each distribute refunds to harmed consumers through redress programs that will be under the supervision of the CFPB. Sprint will also pay $12 million to the attorneys general and $6 million to the FCC, and Verizon will pay $16 million to the attorneys general and $4 million to the FCC.
“In Arkansas, approximately 108,000 Sprint customers and approximately 211,500 Verizon customers will be eligible to receive restitution under this settlement,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This settlement is an important victory for the current customers of Sprint and Verizon who can now seek restitution, but also a critical step in protecting current and future customers from being taken advantage of by these cramming charges.”
Consumers who have been “crammed” often have charges, typically $9.99 per month, for “premium” text message subscription services (also known as “PSMS” subscriptions) such as horoscopes, trivia, and sports scores that the consumers have never heard of or requested.
Consumers can submit claims under the redress programs by visiting SprintRefundPSMS.com and/or CFPBSettlementVerizon.com. These websites will provide information about refund eligibility, how to obtain a refund and offer guidance on requesting a free account summary that details PSMS purchases on their accounts. Consumers who have questions about the redress programs can visit the program websites or call the settlement administrators at (877) 389-8787 (Sprint), and/or (888) 726-7063 (Verizon).
The settlements, like the settlements entered into by AT&T and T-Mobile in late 2014, require Sprint and Verizon to stay out of the commercial PSMS business — the platform to which law enforcement agencies attribute the lion’s share of the mobile cramming problem. Under each of the four settlements, the carriers, including Sprint and Verizon, must also take a number of steps designed to ensure that they only bill consumers for third-party charges that have been authorized, including:
- The carriers must obtain consumers’ express consent before billing consumers for third-party charges, and must ensure that consumers are only charged for services if the consumers have been informed of all material terms and conditions of their payment.
- The carriers must give consumers an opportunity to obtain a full refund or credit when they are billed for unauthorized third-party charges.
- The carriers must inform their customers when they sign up for services that their mobile phone can be used to pay for third-party charges, and must inform consumers of how those third-party charges can be blocked if consumers do not want to use their phone to pay for third-party products.
- The carriers must present third-party charges in a dedicated section of consumers’ mobile phone bills, must clearly distinguish them from the carrier’s own charges, and must include in that same section information about the consumers’ ability to block third-party charges.
Rutledge Announces Additional Mobile Office in Benton CountyFri, May 8, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced an additional mobile office location to be held in Benton County on Tuesday, May 12. In addition to the already scheduled office in Bella Vista, a mobile office will be held in Bentonville.
Attorney General Mobile Offices will assist constituents who are having consumer issues and help them file consumer complaints against scam artists. Staff will also be available to answer questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents.
For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s Office, visit arkansasag.gov or call (501) 682-2007.
Attorney General Mobile Offices schedule for Tuesday, May 12:
9 a.m. – noon
Bella Vista City Hall
101 Town Center
Bella Vista, AR 72714
1 – 3 p.m.
Bentonville Public Library (Tate Haney Room)
405 S. Main St.
Bentonville, AR 72712
Rutledge: ‘Second Amendment Must be Applied Equally’Wed, May 6, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined a bipartisan group of attorneys general from 20 other states in an amicus brief led by the State of Alabama to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals urging the court to strike down a San Diego County law restricting the issuance of concealed carry permits.
“The Second Amendment must be applied equally,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This law, from a municipality in California, weakens the Second Amendment and infringes upon the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. Self-defense is a fundamental human right that must be protected. This misguided law from San Diego County cannot stand, and I am proud to join 20 of my colleagues from across the nation to ask the Ninth Circuit to put a stop to this serious encroachment.”
In the court filing, Rutledge and other attorneys general said the Constitution clearly allows U.S. citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights to bear arms for lawful purposes, including for self-defense, both inside and outside the home. The San Diego County law, stemming from the Peruta v. County of San Diego case, treats bearing arms in self-defense as “not a right, but a privilege,” which must be determined by the county if the local government deems a person in a specific danger or documented threat.
The brief, which was filed Thursday, points out that the California law applies the Second Amendment unequally by allowing some to receive concealed carry permits while others are not allowed. For instance, a business or occupation that places an individual in a dangerous location would allow for a permit, but not those who live in an area that would put them at “high risk” of harm. Consequently, the attorneys general argue the San Diego County licensing scheme is unreasonable and unconstitutional.
In addition to Alabama and Arkansas, other states that joined the brief were: Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
A copy of the brief can be accessed here.
Attorney General’s Office Launches Military and Veterans Initiative Rutledge holds first Roundtable with stakeholdersFri, May 1, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced that she is launching a Military and Veterans Initiative at the Attorney General’s Office. This initiative will assist active duty military, reservists, veterans and their families with consumer related issues, veterans courts, the Hiring Heroes program and many other collaborative efforts. The announcement was made at the Associated Press Managing Editors Association Annual Conference in Hot Springs on Saturday, April 25.
Also on Saturday, Rutledge introduced Col. Marcus Hatley, a 30-year veteran of the military, who will lead this new initiative as senior director of military and veteran affairs. Today, Rutledge held the first Rutledge Roundtable at the Attorney General’s Office with more than 15 military and veteran stakeholders to discuss the unique challenges faced by veteran and active duty servicemen and women and how the Attorney General’s Office can better assist them.
“As the daughter of a veteran, I fully appreciate the sacrifices our servicemen and women make,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The Attorney General’s Office will not only work to serve and protect our military members while they are serving our country, but also when they are back home. We will become engaged with active duty members, veterans and military families so they are better prepared for the challenges they will face here at home, while they are gone and once they return.”
Some of the conversations at today’s Roundtable centered on raising greater awareness for substance abuse, pointing veterans toward treatment courts, creating employer partnerships across the State to encourage hiring veterans and active duty members and building a communication network to inform members of the military and veterans of resources already available to them.
Earlier this week, Rutledge signed a Statement of Support for the National Guard and Army Reserve. The statement encourages the employment of guardsman and reservists across the State and in the Attorney General’s Office.
To find out more about the initiative, contact the Attorney General’s Office at (501) 682-2007.
Rutledge Comments on 8th Circuit Decision Not to Hear Argument in State’s Appeal of Amendment 83Wed, Apr 29, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the following statement after an 8th Circuit panel issued an order holding the State’s appeal in Jernigan v. McDaniel in abeyance pending the outcome of the same-sex marriage case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I am disappointed by the 8th Circuit’s decision not to hold oral argument in Arkansas's appeal in defense of the constitutionality of Arkansas Amendment 83. This case is important to the people of Arkansas, and the 8th Circuit has the authority to rule regardless of what is occurring before the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Following a ruling from U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker that declared Arkansas’s marriage laws unconstitutional in November 2014, the State appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In February, the Attorney General’s Office filed its opening brief and filed its reply brief in April. Oral argument was scheduled for May 12 in Omaha, Neb., along with cases arising out of Missouri, South Dakota and Nebraska, which are also now on hold.