Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-Wash.) have unveiled a bill that would require carriers "to share simple, clear information" on their services and charges with customers before they enter into long-term contracts; a 30-day window for exiting a contract without early termination fees; and greater flexibility to exit contracts with services that don't meet consumers' needs. The bill is called the "Cellphone Consumer Empowerment Act of 2007."
"The rules governing our wireless industry are a relic of the 1980's, when cell phones were a luxury item that fit in a briefcase instead of a pocket," said Klobuchar. "Early termination fees are a family budget-buster; families should be able to terminate service without outrageous fees; know if their cell phone will work on their drives and in their home and office; and understand what to expect in their monthly bills once you pile on charges and fees. It's a simple matter of fairness."
The CTIA is not onboard with the Senators' plans to further federal regulation of the the wireless industry: "It is disappointing and unfortunate that Senators Klobuchar and Rockefeller intend to introduce legislation based on incomplete and misleading data. The truth is that complaints about wireless service to the FCC are infrequent and declining," said Steve Largent, president of the CTIA. "The most recently published FCC data, which was absent from the senators' announcement, clearly shows that contract-related complaints, as well as overall wireless complaints, are falling."