updated 12:05 pm EDT, Mon March 31, 2008
ATT Prorates Cancel Fees
AT&T today handed an olive branch to new subscribers with a plan to ease restrictions on new customers. From May 25th, the company says it will no longer insist that these subscribers pay the full Early Termination Fee (ETF) if they back out of a one- or two-year contract. Instead, the company will prorate the fee based on the customer's existing stay. The fee will drop by $5 for every month the customer remains an active subscriber and potentially drops as much as $115 off of the cost of exiting a two-year plan ahead of schedule.
The news acts on promises made late last year and is believed to in part be a reaction to a similar move by Verizon, which also vowed to prorate its ETF as an incentive to customers worried about committing to a contract.
AT&T nonetheless preemptively shut down calls to eliminate the ETF altogether and explained that customers could buy a phone at full price either from AT&T or as an unlocked phone to avoid the fees; prepaid phones without any monthly plans are also options, according to the company.