It’s a catch-22. We like our cheap phones but those cheap phones come at a price; leave early and you’ll pay the difference in termination fees, even if you leave within, say, a month of the end of your contract. It’d be nice if the fee went down commensurate with the amount of time you’ve stuck with your contract, but it doesn’t. That all might change for California-based mobile customers.
A class-action lawsuit has been brought against T-Mobile, asking that the mobile company be barred from collecting the currently-$200 early termination fee should a customer want to leave the network. T-Mobile asked that the California Supreme Court to throw the case out and was denied. T-Mobile’s claim is pretty straightforward — customers agree to be bound by the termination fees when they sign up, so why should they be let off the hook?
I kind of have to agree with T-Mobile here. Phone prices are subsidized by long-term commitments so what’s the point in offering cheap phones if people can walk at any time with no penalty? Doesn’t make sense, especially since you can keep your phone when you leave.
One sure thing is that if T-Mobile loses this case, you can bet that phones in California are going to cost a lot more than they do anywhere else.