California judge forbids cell phone “early termination fees”

What? A judge wants to give consumers a break and limit the excessive powers of the telecom industry? Watch out now, this may lead to the type of consumer-oriented business that made America, America. Consumers are only responsible for 70% of the US economy so it’s not like they deserve special treatment.

In a preliminary ruling Monday, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Bonnie Sabraw said Sprint Nextel must pay California mobile-phone consumers $18.2 million as part of a class-action lawsuit challenging early termination fees.

Though the decision could be appealed, it’s the first in the country to declare the fees illegal in a state and could affect other similar lawsuits, with broad implications for the nation’s fast-growing legions of cell phone users.

The judge – who is overseeing several other suits against telecommunications companies that involve similar fees – also told the company to stop trying to collect $54.7 million from other customers who haven’t yet paid the charges they were assessed. The suit said about 2 million Californians were assessed the fee.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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