Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Current Cell Phone Cancellation Fees Legislation

I wrote this to my Representitive in the U.S. House of Representitives. I recommend everyone send something similar to their Rep This is in response to a recent article reported by AP.

Rep *** *****,

I voice my opposition to the current cell phone cancellation fee legislation going through Congress right now. The bills in their current configurations represent a free pass to the cell phone companies to get out of taking responsibility for their egregious actions in charging hellaceous amounts for cancellation of their service.

I agree with the following statements.

"If this plan goes through, the nation's largest cell phone carriers get a get-out-of-court-free card," said Chris Murray, senior counsel for Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. "We have long opposed limiting consumers' rights to sue, and that seems to be what we're doing here."

"The consumer protections are an inadequate fig leaf to justify federal pre-emption," said Patrick Pearlman, a lawyer with the consumer advocate division of West Virginia's Public Service Commission. "The FCC is not an adequate policeman."

"It's Christmas in May for the companies," said Pamela Gilbert, an attorney with Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, a Washington-based law firm working on one of the class-action lawsuits against the industry. She said if the FCC agreed to the proposal, it would save cell phone companies hundreds of millions of dollars. The people left holding the bag are the millions of people who paid illegal ETFs (early termination fees) and now will never get their money back," she said.

We do not need to punish these cell phone companies for taking advantage of American consumers, per se. However, we just need to prevent them from continuing to do so, with reasonable reconciliation to those consumers who have already been ripped off or forced to maintain plans by the industry.

Do not give the cell phone carriers a get-out-of-jail card. Hold them accountable for their actions and prevent them from abusing fellow Americans.

Any new bill about this topic should maintain State authority to decide how to regulate billing for services. It should also establish a national prohibition against any cancellation fees what-so-ever.


Matthew Lorono

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