T-Mobile faces $11.5M settlement in ETF class action

T-Mobile USA may settle class-action litigation over its early termination fees. The carrier was sued in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey for allegedly violating state and federal laws by charging subscribers flat-rate ETFs. The court has yet to confirm the settlement.

T-Mobile subscribers who were charged a flat-rate ETF from July 23, 1999, to Feb. 19, 2009, are eligible to be part of the class action suit. If the settlement is approved, T-Mobile will pay $11.5 million to members of the lawsuit who paid an ETF or were charged but did not pay an ETF. Customers will be able to get up to $125 each or a "non-cash" item such as extra minutes, text messages or a pro-rated ETF.

T-Mobile began pro-rating its ETFs in 2008.

A T-Mobile spokesperson said in a statement that the carrier was pleased to put this litigation behind it, and would continue to focus on delivering wireless service options with "unsurpassed flexibility and choice."

Early termination fees have generated a notable amount of activity within the wireless industry. Following a hue and cry from various public-interest groups over the past few years, the nation's Tier 1 carriers began implementing pro-rated ETFs, whereby customers pay less as they progress through the duration of their contract. The latest dust-up on the issue, though, involves ETFs for customers who have recently been laid off from their job; carriers generally argue that they already offer contingencies for such situations.

For more:
- see this settlement link

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T-Mobile USA to pro-rate ETFs, too
Would the elimination of ETFs make customers any happier?