Sprint settles Minnesota lawsuit over contract extensions

Sprint Nextel agreed to settle a lawsuit with the Minnesota attorney general over contract extensions and early termination fees (ETFs).

The settlement, technically called a consent judgment, ends a lawsuit that Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson brought against Sprint in 2007. The suit alleged that Sprint extended subscribers' contracts for as much as two years without their consent when they made small changes to their wireless services. The lawsuit also alleged that the operator charged ETFs of as much as $200 per line when the extended contracts were canceled.

The settlement will allow customers to file claims for reimbursement if they believe that Sprint extended their contract without their permission or knowledge, or if Sprint did not adequately disclose the length of the contract, contract extension or the ETFs that applied.

Sprint spokesman Matt Sullivan told FierceWireless that there is no monetary award attached to the settlement right now because it is impossible to know how many claims will be filed and how many refunds will be awarded. Sullivan said that Sprint settled the lawsuit without acknowledging any wrongdoing, and noted that Swanson's own release trumpeting the settlement does not provide any proof of the claims in the lawsuit.

Swanson spokesman Ben Wogsland told the AP that about 400,000 Minnesota customers who have signed contracts with Sprint since Sept. 26, 2001 will potentially be able to file claims. Claims are due into the attorney general's office by March 15, 2010.   

For more:
- see this AP article
- see this Kansas City Business Journal article

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