Lawsuit alleges Cellphone Termination Fees Unlawful

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A recent Superior Court ruling in California found that consumers can move ahead with a class action lawsuit against some of the nation's largest wireless carriers.

The lawsuit alleges that the early termination fees charged to consumers by communications companies, including Verizon Wireless, Sprint and Nextel, are unlawful. This is encouraging news for consumer protection groups in New York who have been lobbying hard against unfair cell phone provider service.

New Yorkers are hopeful that the California decision will make the State Senate reconsider new legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell. The bill, which recently passed out of the New York State Assembly, would have provided the strongest set of cell phone consumer protections in the nation.

The proposed New York legislation would allow people to cancel their contracts without penalty after they receive their first bill. It also calls for cell phone companies to disclose all hidden fees and to provide consumers with better coverage maps.

As you can imagine, the cell phone companies aggressively oppose the bill. But they may be fighting a losing battle. The legislation has many supporters including the AARP - a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that protects the interests of senior citizens.

"AARP strongly supports the issue as older New Yorkers tend to buy their cell phones to use as safety tools in case of an emergency," added Lois Aronstein, AARP New York State director. "Many people on fixed incomes are finding themselves locked into unaffordable contracts because the amount billed is frequently higher than the advertised price. Something's got to be done to protect consumers." [US Newswire]

Aronstein says that the California case highlights what they're urging legislators to do in New York. "The State Assembly took a stand on this issue against heavy pressure from the cell phone industry and AARP is now urging the Senate to do the same when they return to Albany later this year."

In 2004 and 2005, the Better Business Bureau fielded more cell phone provider complaints than any other business and the New York State Consumer Protection Board reports that the cell phone industry is the second most criticized in the state. AARP firmly believes that passing better legislation will force the industry to become more competitive. Cell phone providers will no longer hold a captive market and will have to provide higher quality services to woo and keep consumers.

With over 11 million cell phone customers in New York, new legislation in this state will affect the wireless industry across America. If you are currently unhappy with your cell phone service or have paid a termination fee to end your contract you may want to seek legal counsel. The only way to hold big business accountable is to stand up and protect your rights.

Cell Phone Early Termination Fee Resources

If you have been charged early termination fees and/or have been treated unfairly, please send your [Cell Phone Early Termination Fee] complaint to a lawyer for a free case evaluation.

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