State regulators weigh in on ETF

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) is weighing in on the early termination fee debate. NARUC is establishing a working group to develop national standards to protect consumers from wireless carriers that impose confusing or harsh ETFs. The group sent a letter to the FCC earlier this week stating that its proposal "allows states to instigate changes to national rules based on emerging abuses."

Last month NARUC members proposed the creation of a combined state-federal task force to develop national wireless consumer standards and now NARUC is proposing that states retain their authority to enforce standards, resolve consumer complaints and enforce compliance.

Meanwhile, wireless carriers such as Verizon Wireless have been pushing the FCC to impose federal oversight of early termination fees rather than letting the states set the rules. Carriers, of course, are concerned about the fines that some states have imposed over ETFs. Just last month a California judge ruled that Sprint Nextel must pay $73 million in refunds to its former customers in a lawsuit over early termination fees.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has said that he believes there needs to be some federal oversight of termination fees rather than letting states set the rules. 

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Related stories:
California judge says Sprint must pay $73M in ETF case
Verizon settles ETF suit for $21M
Would the elimination of ETFs make customers any happier?