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We’ve seen this before. A massive telecom giant plans to take over a slightly less massive telecom giant with promises that all customers will benefit. And then suddenly the fees rise and service quality degrades. Several years back Consumer Watchdog sued AT&T for failing to live up to its promises when it merged with Cingular.

But this time we didn’t wait for AT&T to start jacking up prices and adding new fees. Instead we sent the FCC and the US Dep’t of Justice a side-by-side comparison of the promises that AT&T broke after its last merger with the (nearly identical) promises it was making this time. Soon after that, the Justice Department opposed the merger and this month AT&T finally broke off its deal and the mega-merger ended.

Please support Consumer Watchdog’s battles to protect consumers from high prices and bad practices by making a year-end, tax-deductible contribution to Consumer Watchdog. Today is the last chance to help us reach our fundraising goal.

When left to their own devices, the companies we rely on for our phone service, insurance, healthcare and energy needs will always try control the marketplace and cheat their customers. That’s why we take our work at Consumer Watchdog so seriously and that’s why, in 2011:

·       We fought the AT&T/T-mobile merger;

·       We blocked the Google digital books settlement that would have given one company too much control over the growing digital books market;

·       We caught Facebook crafting unfair and anticompetitive terms for its growing virtual goods market; and

·       We exposed Hyundai’s deceptive advertising claims about the Elantra’s miles per gallon.

This kind of marketplace abuse adds up to billions of dollars cheated out of consumers’ pockets every year. Can you help us watchdog the marketplace by making a contribution to Consumer Watchdog? In order to receive a tax deduction for 2011, please donate now.

Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year,

Laura Antonini
Staff Attorney, Consumer Watchdog