Confirmed: Verizon Wireless to charge up to $350 early termination on "advanced devices"

By on November 4, 2009 at 5:19 AM.

Confirmed: Verizon Wireless to charge up to $350 early termination on "advanced devices"

Here’s what Big Red is working with: they’ve offered up a BOGO sale on all new BlackBerrys for the holiday buying season, and where some see a great deal, others see a great opportunity. Why not play a game of Flip My BlackBerry? Why not open a second line, get a brand new Tour or Storm 2, pay the cancellation fee on the new line of $175, and sell the device on eBay for $300 or more? Well it looks like Verizon has finally caught onto our the little game. A new connect has emerged with a few documents and it looks like starting on November 15th Verizon will be charging up to $350 as an early termination fee on “advanced devices.” This new “improved” fee does have a minute silver lining (if you can even say that): for every month of service completed, the $350 sum will decrease by $10. No word yet on what an “advanced device” constitutes but we can use our imaginations to figure it out. What do you think? Anyone considering abandoning plans to buy the DROID after hearing this news, or are you just going to get yours before November 15th? Or will you actually be an honest person and actually honor the contract you sign?

Thanks, GetOverIt7!

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Verizon rumored to be raising ETF to combat scammers

By on November 3, 2009 at 7:52 AM.

Verizon rumored to be raising ETF to combat scammers

Are you thinking about jumping on the new Storm2 BOGO deal, selling one on eBay and canceling a line? Well, we already made it pretty clear that doing so really isn’t all that profitable, but just in case you were thinking of pulling something similar to this in the future, we’re hearing Verizon is stepping it up in the ETF department. The rumor is, that starting November 15, Verizon is going to raise its ETF for high-end phones, such as the Storm2 and Droid, to $350. The ETF would then decrease by $5/mo. We haven’t confirmed it yet, but it certainly makes sense because of how easy it is to rip a carrier off by purchasing a new smartphone on contract, canceling the line, paying the termination fee and selling the phone for twice or three times what you paid.  If it pans out, we really can’t blame Verizon for trying to recover the subsidies they’d lose on early contract terminations. Scammers beware!

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Hell has frozen over: Canadian carriers to let subs walk over contract changes

By on September 2, 2009 at 4:21 PM.

Hell has frozen over: Canadian carriers to let subs walk over contract changes

A day we thought would never come is upon us as the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, whose members include all of the major Canadian telcos and their subsidiaries (including all new entrants other than DAVE Wireless), have agreed to a code of conduct that benefits not themselves but their customers. Just like in the US, Canadians will now be able to walk away from their contracts penalty free if a carrier makes material changes to the terms of the contract. If the customer doesn’t wish to leave their carrier, he or she will have the option of staying on board at a grandfathered rate. Other new rules state that charges and contracts must be more clearly explained, privacy must be more fiercely protected (remember a few years ago when hundreds of pages of Rogers subscribers’ personal information were found in a dumpster?) and customer service must, well, be of service. All in all the new rules sound amazing, but only time will tell whether or not they actually have an impact on the Canadian wireless market.

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T-Mobile raises overage rates; cancel your contract sans-ETF

By on September 1, 2009 at 3:21 PM.

T-Mobile raises overage rates; cancel your contract sans-ETF

They say when the cell phone gods close a door, they open a window. Such is the case this morning for T-Mobile subscribers who aren’t enjoying their time with the carrier. As of today, T-Mobile is raising its overage rates to 45¢ per minute on individual plans under $59.99 and family plans under $89.99, and 40¢ per minute for plans above those price points. Since this rate increase is carrier-invoked and it constitutes a “materially adverse change of contract,” subscribers will be able to flee without the need to pay a hefty Early Termination Fee (ETF) — just as many did with Sprint earlier this year. What do you do if you want out of your contract? Get ready for battle, that’s what. As always with carriers, odds are good the some (or even most) customer service reps won’t even know about this option. When you call, be patient while the CS rep gathers info. Make sure that when you explain why you want to cancel your contract, you specifically cite these overage rate increases as your motive. If your rep starts giving you a hard time or doesn’t sound like he/she is going to put the pieces together, ask to speak to a manager or simply call back and start over with another rep. Oh, and hit the jump for a section of the T-Mobile contract that you may want to familiarize yourself with.

Thanks, Dan!

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Next in line to pay out an ETF settlement: T-Mobile

By on May 13, 2009 at 9:10 AM.

Next in line to pay out an ETF settlement: T-Mobile

Ahhhh class action lawsuits; where would we be without them? Joking aside, it seems like every carrier in the US has to deal with a few subscriber-initiated lawsuits every so often and next in line for the ever-popular Early Termination Fee (ETF) class action treatment is T-Mobile. You know the drill: the carrier was charging a flat ETF, the carrier gets sued, the carrier settles and has to refund a bunch of money to a bunch of people after making the lawyers involved a whole lot richer. The proposed refund for those affected by T-Mobile’s flat ETF is $125 or T-Mobile HotSpot access if they choose, on a case by case basis of course, to forgo a cash benefit. The settlement is currently pending final approval but if you bailed on T-Mobile on or before February 19th of this year and handed over an ETF on your way out the door, hit the read link to try to get in on the action. You have until August 23rd 2009 to do so.

Thanks, Jeff!

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AT&T ammends arbitration clause; do you get a free pass?

By on May 9, 2009 at 1:08 PM.

AT&T ammends arbitration clause; do you get a free pass?

We’ve received a flurry of emails over the past few weeks questioning whether or not AT&T will let people out of contracts ETF-free due to substantial changes to its terms and conditions. First it was a series of changes to permissable data service usage and more recently AT&T has amended its arbitration clause to limit a customer’s right to sue, in theory at least. Common sense might suggest that changes these drastic would result in a window of opportunity, during which time customers may sever ties without a penalty, but since when has common sense applied to carriers? In short, no, these changes will not result in an ETF-free departure from AT&T. The CTIA’s current policy states that carriers will give customers an opportunity to cancel contracts without penalty in the event of material changes to the carrier’s TOS. How does AT&T define a “material change”? As PhoneNews.com recently ascertained in a conversation with Mark Siegel, Director of Media Relations at AT&T:

Under [AT&T's] terms of service, there are only two situations in which we would allow you to terminate your agreement because of a change in TOS without having to pay the ETF: If we increase the price of the service, or if we materially decrease the geographical area in which your airtime rate applies.

So what can you do if you disagree with this position? Filing a complaint with the FCC is surely a good start but you certainly shouldn’t expect this policy to change during the lifetime of your current contract. The bottom line is we’re all at the mercy of our carriers — at least until enough class action suits are filed that it becomes cheaper for carriers to change their policies than continue to pay out settlements…

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Sprint ETF-free cancellations extended through March 15

By on February 6, 2009 at 10:18 AM.

Sprint ETF-free cancellations extended through March 15

Sprint just refuses to shut that door… Customers still looking for a way out of their contracts without having to drop some serious cash on an Early Termination Fee (ETF) have been given yet another opportunity to do so. Last month we told you about an extension through the end of January due to another increase the company made to its administrative fee (increase from $0.75 to $0.99). We’re not sure what the reasoning behind this latest extension is, but we have indeed confirmed with Sprint that the ETF-free cancellation period has been extended yet again, this time through March 15. We also confirmed that the administrative fee has not been readjusted – it still sits at $0.99 – so this extension pertains to the initial fee increase we reported. If you’re enjoying your time with Sprint and the extremely competitive rates the carrier is offering right now, you should definitely sit tight as it prepares to release the Treo Pro and more importantly, the Pre. If you’re having issues that Sprint just can’t seem to resolve however, the door is still open.

As always, we recommend contacting Sprint customer care via chat as opposed to calling them:

Go to https://sso.sprintpcs.com/sso/SignOn.do

In the sidebar on the right, click “Got questions? Click to chat.”

Thanks, kimberhvance!

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Sprint ups admin fee again, extends ETF-free cancellations through January 31

By on January 20, 2009 at 10:20 AM.

Sprint ups admin fee again, extends ETF-free cancellations through January 31

If you’re a Sprint customer right now without any major service issues, leaving the carrier so close to Pre-Day seems crazy. The most anticipated handset in recent history is on its way to your carrier, as an exclusive for the time being, and it’s coming along with an exciting new OS that will be embraced by developers around the globe. At the same time, there are a variety of reasons for wanting to part ways with your mobile service provider and if the Pre isn’t enough to keep you on board we have good news for you. It looks like Sprint has once again made a change to its Terms and Conditions, opening yet another door to escape from the carrier without having to pay an Early Termination Fee (ETF). Last month we learned that Sprint was increasing its administrative fee to $0.75, giving customers until January 1 of this year to back out without a penalty. It seems that $0.75 wasn’t going to cut it as Sprint has raised its fee yet again, this time to $0.99. Customers now have through January 31 to sever ties sans-ETF, so if you missed the boat last month you’re in luck. Though some customer care reps apparently aren’t yet aware of the change, we did confirm it with Sprint so keep trying and as always, contacting them via chat seems to go a bit more smoothly than calling them up. Do you plan to take advantage of this newly opened door? Hit us in the comments section and let us know why.

Thanks, S!

UPDATE: We posted a link to connect to Sprint customer care via chat in the comments but it is apparently buried well enough that people are missing it. Here are the details:

Go to https://sso.sprintpcs.com/sso/SignOn.do

In the sidebar on the right, click “Got questions? Click to chat.”

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Sprint ETF settlement leaves $90 up for grabs for customers

By on January 11, 2009 at 10:19 AM.

Sprint ETF settlement leaves $90 up for grabs for customers

Remember all the hoopla about Sprint’s ETF and the lawsuit it was facing because of their policy? Well, as a result of the proposed settlement that is likely to move forward, it looks like anyone who started  and subsequently ended a contract with Sprint between July 1999 and December 2008 is looking at some cash. All you have to do is show proof that you canceled during that time window and paid an ETF, and you’ll be getting $90 for your troubles. Of course, $90 is probably nowhere near what you had to pay to get out of contract and it’s hardly a consolation for all the heartache you had to go through, but it’s better than nothing. In the event you stuck with Sprint during that time period in order to avoid the ETF, you get $35. All you have to do now is deal with the paperwork and process of going through all this stuff and that green will find its way into your pockets.

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Final call for ETF-free Sprint contract cancellation

By on December 27, 2008 at 5:45 PM.

Final call for ETF-free Sprint contract cancellation

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?

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Sprint finally decides on ETF conditions and details

By on November 1, 2008 at 2:50 PM.

Sprint finally decides on ETF conditions and details

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!

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Sprint gets smart and prorates ETFs

By on October 22, 2008 at 8:38 AM.

Sprint gets smart and prorates ETFs

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.

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Want to get out of your wireless contract? The T-Mobile edition

By on July 7, 2008 at 2:08 PM.

Want to get out of your wireless contract? The T-Mobile edition

If there’s one thing we get asked most, it’s probably the “I want to get out of my contract because _____ sucks!” email. We decided to put together a nice little guide for all you T-Mobilers wanting to jump ship. Bits and pieces have actually been pulled from some of our commenters, so thanks David and everyone else! There are a couple downsides, though. For one, this particular method does not allow you to port your number over to another provider. You’ll have to do some more work to get that accomplished. Check out the full rundown after the break, and check for other carrier editions coming soon!

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