Here we go again with another class-action lawsuit seeking to recover illegally levied Early Termination Fees (ETF) from wireless carriers. Sprint, still reeling from a previous court order that had the struggling US wireless carrier refunding some $73 million to ex-customers that were charged ETF fees, has been hit with another federal class-action lawsuit in the same vein.
The previous ruling only provided ETF refunds to subscribers that terminated contracts on or before March 17, 2007. This new lawsuit seeks refunds for subscribers for subscribers that were assessed an ETF as far back as 1999.
The No. 3 wireless carrier was slapped with the lawsuit just prior to the company’s announcement of an overhauled ETF system that would have customer paying prorated fees based on the length of time remaining on their wireless contract. This latest class-action alleges that Sprint Nextel illegally charged $1.2 billion in ETF fees since 1999.
“After a full trial on the merits, we proved that Sprint Nextel’s termination fees violated California law,” said Scott Bursor, lead trial lawyer for the plaintiffs. “We proved that the fees bear no relation to any cost incurred by the company. And we proved that the fees were established as an arbitrary penalty to prevent dissatisfied customers from leaving. Now we will prove that the fees violate federal law as well.”