Sprint is the last of the big four mobile phone companies to eliminate the sock-it-to-the-consumer fee for ending a wireless contract early. But such fees may be ending anyway if a class-action lawsuit suceeds.
The company is the target of a new lawsuit filed by attorney Scott Bursor, the same lawyer who convinced a judge in July that Sprint’s early termination fees are illegal in California. That case is still pending. A decision is expected in 90 days.
Bursor took the case national, accusing Sprint of wrongly charging subscribers $1.2 billion in early termination fees, according to a story today by Dow Jones news services.
According to spokeswoman Kathleen Dunleavy, Sprint’s official response to the latest lawsuit is this:
The important thing to keep in mind is that the ruling on which the Plaintiffs attorney bases his latest lawsuit is a preliminary ruling only. We view this latest lawsuit as cynical and opportunistic, particularly since it is based on a premise that is opposite of the conclusion reached by the jury in the earlier California suit.
Getting back to Sprint’s ETF change of heart, its new early termination policy starts six months into a contract. At 6 months, the company will start deducting $10/month from the $200 fee. The $10 deduction continues until the fee reaches $50, at month 19. After that, there will be a $50 fee to end a contract early.
This new pro-rated service began Nov. 2, 2008, so if you bought a phone from the company on Nov. 1, looks like you’re stuck with a non-prorated 2-year contract.
By comparison, Verizon and AT&T take $5 off per month on its $175 fee. T-Mobile’s $200 fee drops to $100 when there is 3 to 6 months left in the contract and then falls to $50 in the remaining 3 months.
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