In addition to the "Wireless Telephone Consumer Protection Act" the package includes the requirement of prorated early termination fees and a ban on charging customers for dialing 911. Proposed legislation would also make it illegal for companies to force customers into purchasing a new phone when defective phones are returned but not covered by warranties.
However, lobbyists for the cell phone industry argue that the legislation will only result in an increase in costs for consumers. They say that due to the competitive nature of the cell phone industry, companies have set up their own consumer protection standards.
New Jersey joins other states in proposing legislation designed to protect consumers from cell phone companies. Last month, a Senate panel in Arizona passed a bill that would let customers cancel their cell phone contracts if the cell phone companies violated their contracts. This would include cell phone equipment failing and false representation of coverage.
Some cell phone companies, such as Verizon, have already implemented their own prorated termination fees. However, many companies still have a flat termination fee which can cost as much as $200 per phone on a plan. At least one lawsuit been filed against a cell phone company, arguing that early termination fees violate consumer protection laws in thirteen states. That lawsuit, which was filed against T-Mobile, is seeking class action status.