Dialed In #216, Special Edition: All about ETFs (podcast)

The Dialed In crew dives deep into early-termination fees: where they came from, why we have to have them, who's been screwed over by them, and what you can do if you want out.


Early-termination fees got you down? ETFs are fees that phone carriers charge customers in case they want to cancel their contracts early. Agreements usually last two years, but if you want to leave a carrier before then, the company uses ETFs as a way to recuperate money from selling you a subsidized phone. Some argue, however, that these fees are grossly expensive and exploitative. Our main advice is to read the terms of your agreement carefully and drum up a lot of attention with your carrier if things aren't going exactly the way you think they should be. For more information on ETFs, be sure to check out Jessica Dolcourt's piece, "8 tips for ditching your cell phone contract early."


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