At today's FCC hearing, Verizon Wireless testified that the wireless industry would be better off if the FCC devised a nationwide policy on early termination fees instead of allowing states to inconsistently regulate the fees. "Faced with the prospect of multiple state policies on this issue, Verizon believes that appropriate federal action to establish a national policy is preferable," said Tom Tauke, Verizon executive vice president of public affairs.
Not surprisingly, Verizon suggested the FCC adopt ETF guidelines similar to what the operator has already adopted. For example, carriers should offer opt-out or trial periods for new contracts; provide pro-rated ETFs; and offer no ETFs for contract renewals unless the consumer gets a new device as part of the deal.
Early termination fees are a hot topic at the FCC because they were among the five most common complaints by cell phone users, who filed more than 20,000 service-related complaints with the FCC in 2007. Carriers have pushed the FCC to rule that cancellation fees are part of the rates carriers charge their customers, as opposed to a fee. That type of definition would preempt lawsuits that are occurring in state courts.
- see this press release