Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

T-Mobile Eases Early Termination Fees

Yet another wireless carrier has agreed to give customers a break on the early-termination-fees they must pay to liberate themselves from the one- or two-year contracts they agreed to when buying a phone. T-Mobile USA announced this morning that it would lower those fees for customers nearing the end of a contract.

To quote the release that arrived in my e-mail this morning (and which is not yet posted on the company's site):

Beginning on June 28, 2008, the ETF for customers who choose a one-year or two-year service agreement with T-Mobile will decline during the course their contract. The ETF decreases from $200 to $100 if customers terminate service with 91 to 180 days remaining on their agreement; and decreases again to $50 with fewer than 91 days remaining. If customers terminate in the last 30 days of their term, the ETF is $50 or their standard monthly charge, whichever is less.

(I've asked T-Mobile PR if this will apply to existing contracts or only those opened on the 28th and afterwards but have not yet received a response. I'll update this when I do. Update: T-Mobile spokesman David Henderson wrote in an e-mail that the new fee policy "applies to new or renewing contracts starting on 6/28.")

T-Mobile joins Verizon Wireless, which launched this trend among the nationwide carriers with its announcement almost two years ago, and AT&T Wireless, which announced a similar policy shift last November. Sprint Nextel is the lone holdout--but it, too, plans to announce its own rollback of these fees later this year.

It looks like the Federal Communications Commission's push to regulate these fees may be overtaken by events. Then again, the big Internet and television service providers have yet to announce their own termination-fee reforms--and they can't even argue that they must subsidize the high cost of receiver hardware sold to customers at discounted rates.

Back in the wireless market, these eased-ETF rules have now been in effect long enough for many wireless users to have taken advantage of them. Have you? How did it go?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  June 23, 2008; 11:26 AM ET
Categories:  Telecom  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Verizon Slashes Usenet Access; Users Actually Notice
Next: Updated Google Maps For Palm Can Find Itself


I'm praying I'll be eligible. I want to buy an iPhone 3G and would rather not wait until November.

Posted by: Spencer | June 23, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

This is good. Doesn't help me as my T-Mobile contract is up the first week of August anyway... Thank goodness! Whoever came up with a 2 year contract when your phone only has a 1 year warranty.

Posted by: SG | June 23, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

What the wireless carriers need to do pronto is ditch all the marketing BS boyz, predatory billing practices and concentrate on good service. First to go should be the greedy rounding to the next minute, which is stoked by the endless chatter that you hear when your party does not answer. Next, losing minutes at the end of a monthly billing period SUCKS! Totally surprised that there are not class-action lawsuits over these rip-offs. Ivan, can you hear me now?

Posted by: Bill | June 23, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

This is the issue on which Verizon lost me as a customer. I didn't know they changed their policy, but I am not going back in any case. And I wasn't trying to terminate my contract, I was trying to enter into a new one and Verizon would not even acknowledge that it understood my point about the last months of the contract, when the expiration fee would exceed my remaining obligations under the contract. I said, at that point, I will pay you for the remaining cost of my contract, but not a termination fee in excess of that. They would not even discuss it, and in fact were quite, quite rude about it, as if I were trying to terminate my then-existing two-year contract, which in fact had already expired. Oh well.

Posted by: net.gotham | June 23, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Your phone was warranteed for a year? My provider wouldn't do anything after day 14 when the little pieces wouldn't work together anymore! If the excuse for the ETF is to stretch out the provider's "cost" of the phone, that phone ought to be 100% warranteed and I ought to get a new phone - not a new, extended contract with a bigger ETF - should it cease working at any time that I'm subject to that ETF. And what happens if I do leave one provider? I just go to another. That's procompetition, not against it.

Posted by: IWantOut | June 23, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Verizon thinks they're operating in a different industry where such consumer neglect are acceptable practices. According to implu their board comes from:

Deere & Co, Exxon, GE, Hewlett Packard, and so on. Nearly 40 other companies!


Posted by: LondonSteve | June 24, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I have no service, it went out around 7:00 p.m.? What is up T Mobile.

Posted by: Effie | June 24, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

What if you want to renew with a new phone before our old contract expires, a charge ?

Posted by: Lawson | June 25, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Ironically, I am posting from a T-Mobile wireless connection at Starbucks. But, a couple years ago I had one hell of a battle when I wanted out of a T-Mobile contract because they had next to no coverage in my area. I ended having to have the state attorney general's office contact T-Mobile and tell them they were violating our consumer protection laws. It was the only effective thing I was able to do. (I am not the payer for the account I'm using now.)

Posted by: Podesta | June 28, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

I was told by at&t that I was not eligible for a free phone as a reward for renewing another 2 years for a total of 6, I went to a t-mobile kiosk and got my 2 free phones, he proceeded to "port" over my numbers and all was fine until I got a $600 early termination fee from at&t, I filled out complaints on FCC website and will screw up my credit to NOT pay this.

Posted by: gary | July 8, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Be forewarned - if you make a change to your agreement, any change, during the term of the contract OR AFTER you are month-to-month T-Mobile will restart your contract term for 12 months. We were customers since 2003. We **increased** our plan a few months ago to get more minutes. Shortly thereafter, we cancelled and switched to AT&T for better coverage. We received a final bill for double our normal monthly charge and an additional, full $200 ETF charge. The bill did not have the details for the "monthly overages." When we called customer service, they said they could not send call details to cancelled customers, nor can we log in to their account.

Posted by: T-Mobile Sucks | August 21, 2008 6:07 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company