Have you been itching for a way to escape the shackles of your Sprint Wireless contract, but aren’t willing to pony up the cash to pay off the Early Termination Fee? While Sprint’s impending doom may be a foregone conclusion, you can expedite your exit by exploiting yet another material breach in contract from the carrier. Subscribers are free to exit based on Sprint’s decision to raise their non-government mandated administrative fee from $.50-.$75. The change goes into effect on the 1st of January, 2009, giving you 4 days and some change to sever your ties. As with anything like this, your mileage may vary, but we have a hunch that if you’re persistent enough you’ll probably be successful. Anyone out there looking to jump on this opportunity? Where will you take your newly freed wireless number?
Just a few weeks ago, Sprint announced it would have details on how it’s dealing with early termination fees by December once its billing software was updated. It looks like Dan Hesse and his boys have been working on provisions really quickly! As of November 2, Sprint’s early termination fees will begin to decrease by $10 per month after the sixth month of service. However, this policy only applies to those who sign new contracts after November 2. If you signed up recently or are an existing customer and feeling a little jilted, all you have to do is renew your contract after November 2 and you will also qualify for the new ETF policy. This is probably a better idea for those who signed up recently rather than those who are nearing the end of their term, obviously. Just a few years ago, we never would have thought that ETFs would ever be prorated, but it looks like you can never overlook the power of lawsuits and hefty settlements!
After being sued this past summer along with Verizon for early termination fees, Sprint has finally decided to prorate them or make a tiered ETF policy. Much like other carriers, the initial fee goes down in cost as your contract matures. Pretty smart move after losing about $73 million in settlement fees for the class action lawsuit filed against Sprint in California. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse says that its ETF will be lowered as soon as December when “billing software” is updated and ready. As we all know, the reason for ETFs is the carriers say it helps recover cost of subsidized devices. That’s kinda true, but what if you’re already a year or more into your contract and you have to pay $200 to bail out? Making a tiered system is a better idea. Sprint is late to the party but better than never.
It seems there are some benefits to working for the man. In 2004, a company then known simply as Nextel began investigating whether they could assess ETF’s to government contracts that ended before their pre-determined termination date. At the time, Nextel’s VP of marketing issued a public statement hypothesizing that “the government will never, never accept such penalty amounts”. Uh, ok. After a lengthy process, Sprint-Nextel has now, according to the Associated Press, “ultimately decided against charging the fees to the government even though it charges the same fees to consumers and businesses.” Great. No justification for the selective treatment was given, but perhaps Sprint executives now enjoy diplomatic immunity in the Baltic region. No word on whether other telecom companies harbor similarly shady policies, but we wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case across the board.