Signing a contract with a mobile phone provider can be a tricky thing and requires the smart consumer to take the time to read and ask questions about the contract before signing. Early termination fees (ETFs), fees paid to end the contract before it is fulfilled, is one aspect that a conscientious buyer is aware of. There are a myriad of reasons why a buyer may want early termination of a contract and the cost for doing so can be an unexpected surprise. In 2008, T-Mobile will introduce a flexible ETF policy for customers entering into contracts for service with the company.
Under the new guidelines, ETFs will decline during the course of a customer’s contract with T-Mobile. So the longer a consumer honors the contract, the lower termination fees are. T-Mobile hasn’t released specific details about its change of policy, but they should be introduced in the first half of 2008. The company’s sliding scale ETFs may be a great deal or they may not. Always remember to read the contract. When the new policy is implemented, it will apply to new customers as well as current customers who renew contracts with T-mobile.
“T-Mobile is widely recognized as the undisputed service leader in wireless. We want to do everything possible to create a great experience so customers want to stay with us for years,” said Sue Nokes, senior vice president, Sales and Customer Service, T-Mobile USA. “This announcement builds on our heritage of listening closely to our customers and always striving to meet their needs.”
It will be interesting to follow whether T-Mobile’s ETF policy will help attract new subscribers. I’m sure many consumers think that paying the same termination fee towards the end of a contract as that near the start is unfair. But will buyers consider a sliding-scale termination fee a major factor in signing mobile phone service contracts? I doubt it. But I just write about the mobile phone industry. Company executives have all the consumer data to crunch and know what they are doing, right?