How do wireless carriers get out of “billions of dollars” in state lawsuits from angry customers? By giving a few inches of breathing room to consumers, via the FCC, the AP reports.
Carriers — we assume the big ones like AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), Sprint Nextel (S), etc. — are “quietly” negotiating with the FCC to reduce penalties that subscribers have to pay if they want to switch wireless carriers. AP:
At present, it can cost $175 or more to cancel a cell phone contract early.
One provision being negotiated would let customers switch with no fee at all for the first 30 days or within 10 days of getting their first bill. Another would pro-rate the fees over the life of the contract. The longer you stay with it, the less you would have to pay to cancel.
Fine and good, but won’t change much. All four big, nationwide carriers already announced plans to pro-rate their fees months ago, according to Engadget, and many offer introductory cancellation periods.
What we’d rather see: Those fees go away completely in the last few months of your contract, when the subsidized phone you bought two years ago is a lemon, and you spot greener pastures. But that’s exactly when your carrier would be most vulnerable to lose you, and exactly why those fees exist.