Those pesky cell phone cancellation fees

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As record numbers scramble for the new version of the iPhone, many are getting hit with early termination fees as they switch to AT&T from other carriers. But these fees are typically smaller than they were a year ago. That's good news for businesses, which typically supply cell phones for their sales teams and other employees.

As we reported in the April issue ("Ready to Call It Quits"), cell phone cancellation fees have been particularly taxing for small business owners. In the story, Tina Aldatz-Norris, the founder of Foot Petals, complained she was fed up with her carrier's service, but couldn't stomach paying $1,600 in early termination fees to switch carriers.

As we mentioned in the article, AT&T and Verizon Wireless have begun offering prorated early termination fees. T-Mobile began offering a similar sliding fee scale last month. In November, Sprint announced that it also planned to prorate early termination fees soon, but that hasn't happened yet. It is now the only major carrier that doesn't prorate early termination fees.

Want to know what you'll have to pay to switch carriers now? This recent New York Times article breaks out the new fee scales. The Consumerist, a consumer advocacy blog, has a handy graph that lets you compare the carriers' early termination fees.

Last updated: Jul 14, 2008




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