Public Interest Groups Fight Cell Phone Termination Fees

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Madison, WIConsumer and public interest groups are becomingly increasingly frustrated with the outrageous practices that cell phone companies are able to get away with; practices such as early cell phone termination fees, double billing, poor service, and high late fees.

Now, they are calling on the government to enact consumer protection regulations to oversee how the cell phone industry is run. Some consumers are filing their own lawsuits hoping to recover some of the money they've paid in fees and possibly force the cell phone industry to make its own changes.

cell phone termination feesLast month, Wisconsin Public Interest Group (WISPIRG) staff issued a press release calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enact a cell phone user bill of rights that would protect consumers from an industry that has failed to properly regulate itself. According to the WISPIRG press release; "In survey after survey, consumers report frustration and dissatisfaction with their wireless carrier."

WISPIRG notes that in the past three years the FCC received over 75,000 complaints regarding cell phones. Among problems reported by cell phone users are double billing, unexplained fees, poor coverage, and hefty termination fees, sometimes as high as $240 per cell phone. Customers were also upset by practices that resulted in them unknowingly extending the length of their contracts when they make changes to their calling plans.

A study conducted in by J.D. Power and Associates found the length of time customers own their cell phones has gone up. Right now, customers keep their cell phones an average of 17.5 months whereas in November 2006 that time was 16.6 months. One possible reason for the increase is that customers are trying to avoid paying early termination fees by holding on to their phones longer.

Problems with cell phones and services are not new, nor are complaints about early termination fees. A press release issued by MASSPIRG in 2005 found that 35 percent of people surveyed noted that early termination fees stopped them from switching providers. The organization also called for bill of rights to protect cell phone users.

Some groups, including Consumers Union, are lobbying for "test drive" periods during which customers could tryout their phones through the first billing period to determine if the cell phone works in the locations they need it to. This would also allow consumers to ensure that their cell phone bill reflects the price they agreed to when they purchased the plan.

Many customers are not aware that when they change the terms of their cell phone plans they may be automatically extending their contracts. One Sprint customer found out the hard way when he tried to cancel his contract long after his two years was up.

As reported by WSOC TV, the man received a bill for early termination fees and late fees of $175, claiming that when he changed his rate plan a year earlier he had automatically renewed his contract, even though he did not sign a new contract. Although he received a refund after a journalist contact Sprint, many people do not get their money back.

Lawsuits have been filed against cell phone companies alleging that early termination fees violate state laws. If you have been unreasonably charged an early termination fee, contact a lawyer to discuss your options.

Cell Phone Companies Legal Help

If you have been charged undisclosed termination fees, please contact a [Lawyer] who will review your case at no cost or obligation.

Reader Comments

Posted by

Can I get a lawyer to fight sprint?

Jun 5 at 11:31 AM

Certainly understand how frustrating it is not having a working phone.
Would you prefer to work directly with the manufacturer? I can provide
that information for you if you like.


Original Message Follows:
From: Yvonne B
To: ""
Subject: Re: Sprint Account -
Date: June 4, 2015 12:37:36 PM CDT<br>

First,I have gone to different sprint stores. Second,if something is to
be fixed why not fix it. Obviously the staff sprint has is not doing
what have to be done to fix phones. It shouldn't fall on me that the
phones that was sent to the store didn't work. So obviously someone is
not checking the phones that are sent out. I'm going to keep running to
a store every time my phone is not working. I will take the phone to the
news so they could deal with your I have been a sprint customer to long
for this to happen to me since I won't sign a contract I'm screw that
you for your help.


Posted by

The only way to get any justice is to take the law into your own hands! Take them to small claims court and sue them for all you can! You automatically win if they dont' send a representative.

I have filed BBB and FCC complaints and they are effective to some degree. But I've never recouped money I've spent beyond rebates and cancellation fees. In small claims you can get out of your contract make them pay you back! Cell phone companies have ZERO accountability and the government doesn't regulate them from their "abuse of power."

Cell phone industry is the business of GREED and corruption. And consumers are keeping them in the business! The greed is seen by the sheer number of new phones constantly being released with phones 6 months and older becoming obsolete. Most of the phones are lemons as many of the functions on these so called 'multi-tasking smart phones' simply do not work. They market the devices are "multi-tasking" devices but when you have issues they can't figure out they tell you it's software and they're not responsible. Their responsibility ends with the profits they reap.

Always ask questions to anything they tell you as to how it affects your contract. T Mobile extends your contract if you change the plan type but Verizon does not. Do not buy a phone at a discounted rate when it's time to "upgrade" and instead purchase from a private party. That way, you're never locked in to a contract.

In the future, when you have repeated issues fight back and take them to small claims court. We need to send the message loud and clear that they cannot get away with corrupt policies at the consumers's expense. Tired of being taken advantage of without any recourse. Time to stand up and fight back.

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