Friday, May 23, 2008

Proposal to Ease ETF's of Wireless Contracts

Here's some more interesting wireless Contract news. reported that the government is quietly negotiating to help cell phone customers avoid expensive early termination fees when they decided to cancel their wireless contracts.

Verizon Wireless has submitted a proposal to the FCC after the carrier consulted with other leading mobile phone service providers. The wireless contract proposal to the Federal Communications Commission states that the wireless industry would give consumers the opportunity to cancel service without any penalty. This would only apply up to 30 days after customers sign a cell phone contract or until 10 days after they receive their first mobile phone service bill. The proposal ton the FCC also suggests that the fees should be capped and and be reduce month by month over the course of a contract based on how long customers have left.

The article posted on CNN.Com reports that cell phone companies will be freed from suits filed in state courts by angry customers, in exchange for the government's approval. The proposal ,made by Verizon also request that the authority of states to regulate the charges, known as early termination fees should be taken away. Interestingly, the Federal Communication Commission declined to release any comment on this issue.

However, there have also been reports that the proposal is doomed even before it was filed to the FCC. Those who are close to the issue have suggested that the negotiations are on the verge of collapsing. Key stakeholders are continuing to negotiate on an ETF compromise but there are indications a deal remains an uphill battle. Two consumer groups approached by Verizon Wireless appears not to believe that the concessions offered by industry are adequate when consumers could surrender the ability to take legal action against mobile-phone operators.

I have blogged several times about wireless contract complains arising from ETF's or early termination fees. The wireless industry is currently facing a series of long-running, class-action lawsuits in state courts. If this proposal is unsuccessful, then I don't see the class action suits beign filed against carriers decreasing any time soon.

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