FOR RELEASE: January 27, 2010
MT Attorney General Secures AirTEL Refunds; Checks Hitting Mailboxes this Week
HELENA - Attorney General Steve Bullock announced today that customers who were left without cell phone service when the now-defunct AirTEL Wireless abruptly shut its doors last year will be reimbursed for their losses.
Last February, AirTEL Wireless - which was based out of Minnesota and operated only in Montana - unexpectedly shut off service.† Even when the company knew it was going out of business, up until the minute it closed, it continued to take money for services it knew it would never deliver.
Attorneys in Bullock's office who specialize in consumer protection filed a lawsuit against the company and secured a settlement. Nearly 2,000 Montanans are receiving refunds totaling $76,956.47. Those entitled to relief will receive checks this week, some arriving in mailboxes as early as today.
Bullock, who oversees the Office of Consumer Protection, said that the refunds being sent this week are significant, even though individual checks may not be for a large amount of money.
Last year, Bullock took AirTEL Wireless to court for violating Montana's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act.
After filing suit, the State of Montana and the company reached a settlement in which AirTEL would repay customers based on when in the four weeks prior to the company closing they purchased service.
Previous news releases about the situation with AirTEL Wireless are online:
. Office of Consumer Protection Fielding Complaints Against Defunct AirTEL Wireless, February 23, 2009
. Office of Consumer Protection Releases Update on AirTEL Wireless, February 24, 2009
. Bullock: State Files Complaint Against AirTEL Wireless, June 15, 2009
. Bullock Working to Secure Refunds for AirTEL Customers, August 12, 2009
The BBB maintains a report for this company at the Las Vegas BBB at the following link: