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CONTACT: Consumers Union
David Butler, 202-719-5916
Consumers Union Praises FCC Inquiry into Wireless Early Termination Fees
WASHINGTON - January 26 - The Federal Communications Commission today sent letters to four major wireless providers and Google to gather information about the consumer experience with wireless early termination fees.
Joel Kelsey, policy analyst for Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, made the following statement today following the FCC's announcement:
"We are glad the FCC is beginning to ask tough questions about this unfair practice. Wireless carriers have been using early termination fees to limit consumer choice and punish subscribers in search of competition for years. Consumer Reports magazine reported this month 17 percent of our readers with wireless phone contracts wanted to switch providers, but didn't because of early termination fees.
"If consumers choose to change carriers because of inadequate service or steep prices, they should be free to do so without financial retribution. If consumers move outside a carriers' service territory, they should not be forced to pay hundreds of dollars to end their two-year contract. If carriers want to offer subsidies on expensive smartphones to attract consumers, they should be up front and transparent about the size and cost of that subsidy to the consumer. We look forward to the next several steps the FCC takes to protect wireless consumers from abusive practices."