New FCC regs on cell phone termination fees

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AP reports that the FCC is considering significantly restricting cell phone service provider early termination fees:
Cell phone companies routinely charge customers $175 or more for quitting their service early. Under a proposal to the Federal Communications Commission, the wireless industry would give consumers the opportunity to cancel service without any penalty for up to 30 days after they sign a cell phone contract or until 10 days after they receive their first bill.

The proposal also would cap such fees and reduce them month by month over the course of a contract based on how long customers have left, according to people familiar with the offer speaking on condition of anonymity because the FCC has not accepted it. The plan would not abolish cancellation fees entirely.

In exchange for the government's approval, the agreement would let cell phone companies off the hook in state courts where they are being sued for billions of dollars by angry customers. If approved by the FCC, the proposal also would take away the authority of states to regulate the charges, known as early termination fees.

The nation's No. 2 wireless company, Verizon Wireless, offered the proposal to the FCC for its review after high-level meetings with senior FCC officials. It did so in consultation with other leading wireless companies, whose executives indicated they would not oppose its provisions, people familiar with the offer told the AP.


Cingular's current plan is:

  • Up-front $30 or so activation charge.
  • 30-days to cancel.
  • $175 cancellation fee, reducing $5 every month.

So, this new plan wouldn't be much of an improvement, since $7/month would decay to 0 over the life of a 2-year contract, especially as this article doesn't say that the fees would actually decay to 0. Reading between the lines, this looks a lot more like a plan for the cell companies to preempt state action than it does like the FCC intervening to help you out.


sounds just like the goverment. they cow tow to the big buisnes. It's just smoke and mirrors. Want to make us feel like they are doing something when it is just a small dressing on a big wound while the big companys slowly bleed us.
sound negative i am getting stuck with a cell phone company you are real unhappy
with bad customer service. I could add a lot more to the list
MIss pissed

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