Sprint Nextel has agreed to pay $17.5 million to settle a class-action suit over early termination fees for cell-phone contracts. The proposed settlement will bring to a close a case filed last November in federal district court in New Jersey. Sprint was accused in that suit of illegally charging $1.2 billion in early termination fees since 1999. While Sprint denied the allegations, the carrier agreed to pay $14 million into a fund to be distributed to members of the class action. Another $3.5 million in non-cash benefits will be provided to the suit’s participants as well.
Customers who had a wireless contract with Sprint, Nextel or Sprint Nextel from 1999 to the end of 2008 could be eligible for a settlement if they had a claim related to early termination fees. Sprint also agreed not to insert a flat fee for early termination into its personal cell-phone agreements in the U.S. until January 1, 2011. But, until then, the carrier can charge a pro-rated termination fee. Sprint received preliminary court approval to settle this case last December and a hearing for final approval is set for October 21st.
Source: Kansas City Star
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